Bait to Plate

Kev Collins

Well known Restauranter and co-owner of Fish D'vine & The Rum Bar in Airlie Beach. When Kev's not working he's out fishing in the amazing food bowl of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or in his tinnie in the estuaries crabbing! His blog imparts wisdom, tales and info on all things fishing and food.

The Boat is in and the menu is set

The boat’s in and the menu has taken shape for what will be a great inaugural “Bait to Plate” long lunch on Sunday.

I love the relationship we have built with local fisherman Trevor Draper. A man I have known and admired for over 20 years and an amazingly loyal supplier. Trevor had for many many years, supplied a local fish shop but a change in ownership occurred , and finally, after years of trying to buy Trevor’s fish, we are now his main customer.

The difference in quality is amazing. Line caught iced down and only ever at sea for a few days at a time this is consistently the best fish I have been able to purchase after a lifetime in the restaurant industry. Today I picked up amazing bright red Coral trout, beautiful Spanish Mackerel Trucks, some pan size Tropical Snappers, Red Throat Emperor and the ‘Star of the Show” for our Sunday Lunch, an amazing Red Emperor. I just can’t wait to get in the kitchen and show our guests what can be done.

Our Sunday menu will be quite literally, The Whitsunday’s on a plate.

Nummus. A Polynesian fish dish using local Cobia, ‘cured” in lime juice and coconut cream with a little chilli, red onion and shallots. This is a “raw fish” dish but the lime juice breaks down the texture to give the mouth feel of cooked fish. A delightful starter.

Moroccan style Black Mulloway, on a chickpea and roasted capsicum tagine with preserved lemon and flat leaf parsley.

Crispy Skinned whole Tropical Snapper with wilted bok choy and rich Asian glaze.

The 3 Kings. You chance to decide. Coral Trout, Red Emperor and Red Throat Emperor, the 3 kings of the reef, all simply grilled with a side of hollandaise sauce and all on the one platter. Try each one and you can decide once and for all which is our best reef fish. No tricks, no fancy sauces and all caught on the same day and never frozen.

Beer Battered Spanish Mackerel and crunchy chips. Just because we can and we should. Find out why mackerel and not fish like Barramundi. How to make the prefect crunchy batter and the low down on the right oil and right cooking method.

Mud Crab Risotto, using a stock made from the fish we are having for lunch. An amazingly simple yet rich, delicious and a perfect fusion of Italian and North Queensland classics.

Leek and Red Emperor Chowder. Again using the same stock as the risotto and showing just how versatile fish bones can be. Useful for the crab pots but better in the stock pots.

Anyone for desserts? For those with any room left our dessert menu will be available.

Bon appetite and hope to see you on Sunday.