describe themselves as casual Mediterranean dining on the waterfront but in my opinion, they are much more than that.
While Cairns is a waterside city, there isn't a huge amount of dining options right on the water. Luckily for us, in July 2017, Piato opened shop in one of the sought after waterside locations along The Pier under the Shangri-La Hotel
. As we walked up the steps, right off the waterfront, we were happy to see that no matter where we sat, we'd be able to see all the fishing and tour boats bobbing away in the harbour. The water views were a sure thing, even if they stuck us in the kitchen which had a big open window for all to see the chef hard at work on the grill.
One of the restaurant owners, a friendly, welcoming guy, called Elie Sopas, showed us to our table and we were soon busy pouring over the menu and the lunch specials, full of our usual indecisiveness about what to order. As everything looked amazing, and we were in the mood for seafood, so we went for the platter. I'd been perving on it on Instagram
and was pleased to see nothing was deep fried, apart from the calamari of course.
Where to begin
The platter included prawns which were already half-shelled, so that saved me some time as normally I have to do my partners as well, the softest Moreton Bay bugs I've ever had, mussels in a delicious creamy sauce, two crabs, a grilled swordfish steak each and some calamari. We had a side of wedges and salad as well, because why not.
All fresh and locally sourced
I don't think we've ever finished a platter before but after a few breaks and reminding ourselves it wasn't a race and to take it slowly, we nearly managed to clear the massive plate between the two of us. We were pretty proud of ourselves until we remembered we were meant to start our wedding diets a month ago
Because of that, we did opt for coffee over dessert, although I was reprimanded for this decision later when Jot found out they did baklava.
Poor crab didn't stand a chance
We have gobbled a fair few seafood platters in our time. Normally it isn't what you build it up to be in between ordering and eating but I must admit that the Piato team really nailed it. Elie did tell us that the seafood was all fresh and locally caught, which you could really taste. And we forced the recipe for the creamy sauce the mussels were in out of him. You'll have to go there to ask him for that yourselves.
The food and coffee was great, the team were all friendly and chatty, yummy noises from the surrounding tables told us it wasn't only the platter that was good, the service was speedy and the view is spot on. We are in Cairns for another month or so and I think it is safe to say that we'll be back, even just for dessert and to raise a glass of bubbles to Piato on their first anniversary in July.
No room for desert. Next time...