Harrison, Port Douglas

28 February 2013
by Phuoc

We had escaped the cold and miserable Sydney winter last year and made our way up to Port Douglas to soak up some sunshine (oh how I wish Sydney would have some of that weather now, especially since it’s suppose to be Summer!). This week-long getaway felt great to be able to put life on hold for a moment, disconnect from the rest of the world and to recharge our batteries. Most of our days were spent chilling at the beach, snorkelling, exploring the Daintree Forest region and taking a drive up towards Cape Tribulation.

Having dined at Bucci for dinner on a previous night, we decided to check out Harrison’s, seeing as they are both run and own by the same team, for a late lunch after spending the morning taking a long walk down the beach. Harrison’s is the first brainchild by Spencer Patrick, who had a stint working as head chef at 3 of Marco Pierre White’s restaurants, offers moderately priced fine-dining using regionally sourced and tropical ingredients in sunny Port Douglas. With most of the dining area being located outside, you can’t help but feel more at ease and relaxed in this casual setting.

After lazing around in the sun most of the day, things can get a little thirsty…  Ant opts for an Asahi ($9) whilst I spend some time browsing the cocktail list, most of which are tropical twists to classic favourites. I finally settle for The Mistress ($14), a light and refreshing drink of lychee and blueberry topped with prosecco and an additional alcoholic kick from Belvedere vodka.

Crab croquettes ($19.50) were possibly my favourite dish of the day. Balls of delicate, sweet crab meat were coated with breadcrumbs and black sesame seeds and deep-fried. They were irresistible on their own but what made them even more amazing was the velvety, smooth corn purée that accompanied these balls; there was a point where I had resorted to eating the purée from my knife. It was that good.

The lady sitting next to us raved on and on about the baccala rillettes ($11.50) so we decide to give it a try. Normally made with pork, rillettes is a type of spread made by salting, curing and slow cooking cuts of meat until they become tender and fall apart to shreds, the mixture is then combined with fat to form a paste. This version was made with dried and salted cod resulting in a light mixture with a texture akin to pork floss, only slightly moist. Served in a small pot, we underestimated the amount of rillette we were served and had spread very little on our pieces of toasty bread so by the time we got to our 3rd piece, the mixture had to be generously piled on top.

 

 

Wanting a bit of substance, Ant settles for the confit duck leg special ($28). Perfectly cooked duck with the most crispy skin ever and served with a fresh and simple salad of spinach, orange segments, thin slices of radish and capers, Ant thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

My eyes were suddenly fixed on the pulled pork brioche burger ($15.50) when I saw it on the menu. Served with a red cabbage slaw and apple sauce, sadly it was a bit of a let down for me. The pulled pork had a nice flavour but it was slightly dry and although the brioche bun was sweet and buttery, it was a tad bit too toasted, and eventually the bottom became too oily and flimsy to hold together in one piece. Eating this was definitely not pretty.

Having room to just squeeze in one dessert, Ant and I decide to share the banana ice cream and toasted marshmallow ($18) dessert. A puddle of warm, bitter chocolate sauce was poured at our table over segments of orange and a mixture of roasted pistachio and almonds nuts. The perfectly shaped cube of toasted marshmallow encased a ball of smooth banana ice cream inside. Looking back at this dessert, I suddenly realise it was a tad bit pricy for something that was about the size of a 5cm cube; I’m blaming it on the holiday bliss I was in to even notice it initially. Silly me! Regardless, it was a nice way to end the meal.

With bellies full and satisfied, we waddle over to a park to watch the sunset.. Oh if only every day could be spent like this.

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11 Comments

  1. Eha

    An elegant understated place letting the lush nature around tell its story. Interesting food very interestingly plated! Have just shared with a blogfriend in US who had a post on baccalao this morning: the rillettes look most interesting :) !

  2. MsBrulee (Kelly)

    Your meal looks so mouthwatering I’m salivating at this moment. I don’t know whether I should make a complaint when receiving something that I believe is too pricey, would you ever do that?

  3. Sara @bellyrumbles

    The baccala rillettes are quite interesting, remind me of salmon ones. I could go for some of that Port Douglas weather right now!

  4. Sherrie @ Crystal Noir

    I tend to overspend when having a little break too! Bad habit… But at least I enjoy myself while it happens ;) That confit of duck looks delicious – duck is awesome!

  5. Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy

    Ooh I just want to fly away to this place right now and sip on that cocktail… thank you for transporting me Phoc! :)

  6. Helen (Grab Your Fork)

    The banana ice cream with marshmallow sounds awesome, and lol I find whenever you have pate or rilletes you always have too much leftover. I always pile generously from the start now!

  7. Tina @ bitemeshowme

    The crab croquettes look fantastic. Love your work with the innards shot. Shame the burger didn’t satisfy you but at least the dessert did? It’s always nice to get away from the daily grind.

  8. Phuoc

    Eha: Thanks for sharing. I definitely loved the casual setting of the restaurant in a wonderful place like Port Douglas

    MsBrulee: It wasn’t so much of a complaint, just a statement reflecting back on and re-evaluating the dining experience, but I was on a holiday after all, so you’re meant to splurge. If I wasn’t in a holiday state of mind, I either would’ve passed on ordering dessert in the first place or ordered it anyway but wouldn’t complain unless it was really bad…

    Sara: I just want to constantly be on holidays :P

    Sherrie: You’re spot on with the overspending on holidays, it seemed like a good idea at the time but I always feel guilty coming back.

    Anna: I’ll come with you!

    Helen: Good tip! Will do that next time :)

    Tina: Thanks! It’s always good to reward yourself with a well-deserved break :)

  9. milkteaxx

    prosecco and duck. im sold!

  10. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    This post and pictures bring back memories! We dined at Harrison’s and really enjoyed our meal there :D

  11. Phuoc

    Milkteaxx: Awesome! :)

    Lorraine: Nice to hear others have enjoyed their dining experiences too.

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