Saturday, March 26, 2016

Barnacle Bills, Cairns (QLD) by Bureaucrat

Eating out in a tourist town is always going to be a risky gamble - the odds are usually not in your favour.  Tourists run the risk of putting up with crap food, poor service and exorbitant prices.  Despite doing some pre-holiday research into Barnacle Bills (not to be confused with the franchise, Barnacle Bill), I was bitterly disappointed with the food and cannot understand how glowingly other diners seem to rate this place.

Even taking into account our 20% off early bird dinner offer, our meal was a rip-off.

Barnacle Bills, Cairns, seafood, risotto
The Lawyer ordered the seafood saffron risotto ($38.90) had fish, prawns, scallops, mussels and chorizo.  He thought the dish was a tad bland and the rice was on the mushier side.  The good points were that there was plenty of seafood and there was actual saffron in the risotto.

Barnacle Bills, Cairns, seafood, barramundi
I was most definitely not impressed with my Daintree Barramundi ($37.90).  There's no mincing words with this - it was not nice to eat.  The fish was over-cooked and, worse, had this plasticky flavour, which I kept burping up afterwards (bleugh!).  I have no idea how that flavour got into the fish - I surmise that it was cooked (or, I rather suspect, it was re-heated) on a plastic tray or plastic wrap.  The roast veg and water-logged green beans were reminiscent of an airline meal.  As for the saffron aioli, well, it was a pretty colour but I couldn't taste the saffron or the aioli.

Barnacle Bills, Cairns, seafood, barramundi
Mr Strong went for the pan-seared barramundi ($36.90) which came with vegetables, potatoes and sun-dried tomato coulis.  He seemed to enjoy it more than my barra dish.

Barnacle Bills, Cairns, seafood, prawn, risotto
Mother Hen got the small version of the prawn risotto ($24.90).  This seemed to be the best dish of the night in terms of flavour and value.  She seemed particularly impressed with the fresh sweetness of the prawns.

Barnacle Bills, Cairns, seafood, Esplanade


We wouldn't return
We wouldn’t return.


This was a very bad meal.  The bill came to just over $110 with the discount and was a complete waste of money and a waste of a meal.  You could buy a lot of seafood from the fishmonger for that money and cook up a tastier meal, which was what we did for subsequent dinners during our holiday.  Despite what we thought of the place, it was completely packed out when we walked past it later that night - the mind boggles.

Service was on the slower side but this could be part of the slower pace of life in Cairns.

Find it at

Barnacle Bills
103 Esplanade
Cairns City QLD 4870
Phone: (07) 4051 2241

Barnacle Bills Seafood Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...