Journals from James Cook University, Australia
2011-05-29 Ochre Grill
A few of the wild fruits and spices
Another optional field trip for my Biodiversity of Tropical Australia class included a tutorial and dinner at Ochre Grill Restaurant in Cairns. The tutorial was a really great opportunity to be introduced to some fruits and herbs used by Indigenous people. The chef came to our table, presented the various bush foods, and then we were able to taste them. The tasting included wattle seed, quandong, Davidson plums, wild desert limes, and bush tomatoes. We then were treated to a three-course meal, starting with wattle seed damper, which is bread made daily in the restaurant, with wild spices. Our next tasting plate included various types of native meat prepared with the wild berries and spices we tasted earlier. The plate comprised seared kangaroo, trout, crocodile, and emu pate. I have never had kangaroo or crocodile so I was very excited to try it. The kangaroo was delicious, and the crocodile had the texture and tasted exactly like chicken. The chef said that crocodile will taste like whatever it eats, so their crocs are fed chicken for this reason. Next was a platter of char grilled kangaroo and emu with a delicious wild berry sauce and spiced fries. For dessert there was a selection of fruit, four flavors of sorbet, including chocolate and wattle seed (which tastes just like coffee), and panna cotta with a mango sauce. I really enjoyed this experience and was glad I was able to try a few native Australian meats and bush foods.