Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cajun Kitchen, Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

It’s usually my thing to eat dinner in the city when the temperature exceeds 30 degrees.  On this particular day, the Lawyer and I were joined by Big Fil and Ruby Grapefruit.

We were tossing up two possible eateries – Guzman Y Gomez or Cajun Kitchen (which I unintentionally keep referring it to as Cajun Chicken).  We opted for Cajun Kitchen.

CK is a small and narrow shop on Elizabeth St, towards Flinders St Station.  We got there and had a nice time trying to decide what we wanted to eat.  The staff there were friendly and were more than happy to help us decide what was good eating.  I was excited that they had po’boys, I was bummed that they didn’t have gluten free buns to go with it (I’ve been ever so intrigued with po’boys since Liz Lemon enthused about how delicious they are).

Instead, I went with the blackened fish salad.  The pros were that the salad was very fresh and I liked the use of cos lettuce (and not iceberg... ugh).  It was fresh, it was light and healthy and made me feel virtuous for not eating wheat.  The cons was the fish.  Though fresh (and not frozen), the three thin fillets of fish was lacking the punchyiness that I had expected.  In my mind, I had thought the fish would be zingy and bursting with flavour but it was quite mild and pedestrian.  I’m not sure whether they’ve deliberately dialled down the flavours to suit the average punter.  Plus, for the price, I had expected more fish in the salad.... I got hungry a few hours later.

The Lawyer, Big Fil and Ruby Grapefruit decided to share three dishes.

The first was the blackened fish taco.  This was more like a fish wrap than your typical taco.  Similarly, the fish didn't live up to expectations in terms of the flavour.  However, the Lawyer liked this and thought the flavours were well balanced.

The gumbo was the definite favourite.   The three of them went quiet as they savoured this dish.  From what I gathered, the flavour was deep and it was satisfying.  Ruby said she’d definitely have it again. The Lawyer also liked the flavour, the serving size and the shrimp. For Big Fil, he felt that this was more a rice dish and less a soup than what he understands the gumbo traditionally is.  He also noted that the gumbo having a lot of, or any, okra in the dish. Also, there was a bit of discussion as to whether the ingredients were authentic gumbo ingredients and how this differed to jambalaya.

The third one was the pulled pork po’boy.  We had to prompt the staff about this one, which they had forgotten.  When it arrived, I was glad I didn’t get this. It had a run of the mill white bun.  I didn't get much feedback on the pork.

We also got some chips which were quite nice with its generous drizzle of cayenne spiked mayo made them moreish.

Food – 6.5
Ambience – 7
Service – 7
Price – 6.5

I think we have mixed views on CK.  For some of the food, it was really good.  But for other dishes, it was average in a not great but not bad vein.  I’ve had a read through other reviews and it seems to confirm this view.  I wish them well but it needs something more to get me to come back.

We liked the very friendly and cheerful staff.

Cajun Kitchen
136 Elizabeth St
Melbourne 3000

Cajun Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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