Living in Brisbane enjoying food, wine, art, health and life!
Published September 25th 2014
Pub grub in the main street of Cleveland
If you've ever been to Cleveland before you'll know that it's a fairly quiet sort of a town. Even though the population has grown immensely in the last decade or so, it still has a village type vibe about it. Unfortunately, smack-bang in the centre of one of the main streets, there is also a rather large local watering hole. I say unfortunately because it's not one of the nice, swish type of pubs that you would expect in a nice town like Cleveland. No - it is more of a scary, bearded man hanging out the window shouting lewd comments at you at 10am kind of establishment.
Welcome dear readers to the Cleveland Sands, a long standing local identity that has more revivals that John Farnham has had farewell tours. I assume that it's undergoing one of these aforementioned revivals at the moment. There are sandwich boards out the front saying that you can now have your scary local drunks with a side serve of coffee and cake or jazz and tapas.
Admittedly I'm probably being a little harsh here - the Sands really isn't all bad. Hiding off the street out the back is actually a rather lovely alfresco dining area. At some point someone has spent quite a bit of money trying to turn the restaurant into something a little bit fancier than the public bar. Myself and a few friends found ourselves looking for somewhere to have a quick meal prior to seeing Henry V at RPAC. We were going to wander down to the harbour but, it was a stormy evening, and we decided to give the Sands Restaurant a go.
The menu is flash pub food essentially but on the positive side it is fairly extensive although there weren't very many concessions for vegetarians. Luckily for my group though we're all very much carnivorous. Two of the group went for French topped schnitzels - avocado, bearnaise sauce and camenbert cheese. I went for the Italian topping - olives, capsicum, mushrooms, olives and cheese with a hold on the salami. The fourth member of the group decided to be a little more adventurous and try the garlic prawns served with rice, bread and salad. It was all ok - it's a pub and it tasted like slightly above average pub food.
I couldn't fault the service at the Sands. The staff were friendly and the meals were delivered quickly. Honestly though for the money I can think of a number of places that I'd still rather eat in Cleveland, which is probably why the 200 seat restaurant only had maybe twenty or so patrons. Maybe the renovations will extend further and turn the Sands into a more desirable location. At this stage however, I'll just be glad to say that I've tried it, I avoided the public bar and I survived.