Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hanuman, Cairns

Day 3 into Cairns, our last day. We complete our cruise to Green Island, glass bottom boats, semi submersible submarine and the cherry on the cake is snorkeling  I was a bit scared to be swimming in the sea to be honest, but it was fun. It too a lot of effort to mentally prepare to go alone, but with all precautions and life jacket, when i finally made it, it was amazing. Although not into the deep sea, just about 50 meters from the beach, swimming with fishes was amazing.

As we reach Cairns and sitting near the reef terminal, the questions is what the plan for tonight? If we go back to the Hotel, which is a bit far, and 15-20 minute walk, i doubt we will be back again on this side of the city for a dinner. We settle on a bench on the Esplanade and I start searching on my phone for the next best place. Finally shortlist Hanuman. A restaurant in the Hilton. Of course at this juncture I am skeptical about two things. How expensive would it be being the Hilton and secondly how good is the food going to be. I read a few reviews and blog posts and then a moment of silence and introspection. The holiday has been so awesome. Got to finish off on a high note, if not anything else. Hilton is the cheery and when so many good reviews, there's got to be something good for sure. The next big dilemma is I am in thongs and not proper shoes. Not sure, but I decide to give it a try.

As we walk into Hilton, I am eager to see how good a restaurant this is. We are a bit early at 6:00 p.m. for a dinner. We are the first ones to come over. Hanuman is a good mix restaurant. It is a Thai, Indian and Nonya cuisine restaurant. The decor is superb. Open, modern decor with a light ambient lounge music playing in the background. We get a seat overlooking the garden and pool on the left. 

We order for the Kashmiri Chicken Tikka, Hanuman Prawns and Chicken Masala for mains, rice and Garlic Naans. The  plates served are all differently colored and designed and very tasteful. 

The Kashmiri Chicken Tikkas arrive first. Looks awesome. Orange colored and spicy tikka's with onion strands and mint chutney. Its ironic how names of Indian Food bear no resemblance. Kashmiri Chicken tikka to me would have been the white, cream and curd marinated reshmi tikka but here it was just the pure Chicken Tikka's- Delhi Style. Well, nonetheless, the tikka was good. Had it been a bit warmer, even better, but really delicious. Soft, tender morsels of chicken, grilled to perfection. I got to admit, I wouldn't have expected this kind of a tikka in a place like Hilton. Really awesome. The one comment Id say is that it looked far more furious. From the orange color and spices, I would have anticipated that this would have been very hot. on the contrary, it was not and really good.

The limelight of the show. The one reason why I can settle in Cairns, (other than the reef) is the chicken masala they make here. I have had dishes of chicken and chicken masala at different places, but never have I ever found the chicken masala that I crave for. Let me first describe what my definition of chicken masala is. It is spicy hot chicken chunks in a thick paste of onion and tomato. The onion used has to finely hand chopped and not using the blender. All spices and ingredients such as the ginger, garlic, tomato has to be all hand chopped. The onion paste has to be fried and friend along with spices without the use of water. The chicken and the onions and tomato has to fried and stirred continuously on a low heat to attain the perfection wherein the oil used for cooking emanates to the top, the spices and onion go into the nook and corned of the chicken and absorbed.  When the chicken masala was served on the table, with strand of ginger and red chilli on the top, I knew this was it. One spoon full and I knew this is it. the best Chicken Masala ever. In fact to the extent even better than in India. Whatever I dreamt of, this was it. 

The breads were awesome. the garlic naan was crisp, crunchy outside and soft inside. The bread and the chicken masala was heaven. I cant go on to say how good it was. The chilli diced on the top was really really hot. Hot to the extent I had to take it out of the dish to avoid my brother and mother having it. I did go for the chillies, although less portions at a time. 

 The Hanuman prawns were good, but after the chicken masala it seemed a bit bland. Prawns with beans, wok tossed, in a delicate wild ginger and coconut curry, in a curry sauce and topped with cream. It was good as well. 

All in all, great food. The service was good. A few times we were asked how the food was I promptly told them how good it was. This was undoubtedly the best eat out I have had in a long time. Highly recommended. If I am in Cairns, I shall definitely visit this place for sure. 

Decor is great and on the pocket, its unbelievable. For a meal in the Hilton for three people and that too less than AUD 100, I am telling you, it is a dream. Unbelievable.By the time we left, the places was brimming with people.

Hilton Cairns Hotel
34 Esplanade
Cairns 4870

Telephone (07) 4052 6786

Hanuman on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. U r a foodie! And you could end up being a writer...great job!!!