Mr Wilson Speaks No Evil at Cargo

Cargo Restaurant & Bar - Waterfront Docklands Chef Mr Wilson logo

Crowd pleasing Mecca

Cargo Bar, located in the former site of the millennium trailblazer Mecca bah, is still packing them in despite all the challenges Docklands has faced the last 15 years. What’s their secret cargo to this ship's success? New owners, Diana Disensi and Jerry Dimas, put it down to considered market research.

After trips overseas and more Marrakesh study for their own refreshed mod Mecca med incarnation, she wisely decided to opt instead for less exotic fruit and lowest hanging fruit. The term low-hanging fruit is marketing jargon that refers to those consumers who are easiest to attract to your business. Focusing your efforts on the closest maximises the effectiveness of your campaign is often debated. Surrounded by growing inner city and waterside dwellings was a wise move indeed, in such a fickle market.

At least on the night we visited, this venue is clearly delivering on what’s advertised on the package. The package being a lovely well priced menu of European crowd pleasers and fabulous comfort food. From tempting snacks and tapas to creative spins on Mediterranean classics - like paella, wood fired pizza, mod souvlaki, titanic posh burgers, great fish n chips, healthy spirited salads, pleasing pasta, comforting afters - all compliment an eager to please front of house package. And if you’re a hard working local or family, it is no doubt a welcome sigh of relief amongst a revolving door of hospitality operators close bye.

This is the kind of venue you can drop in for a craft beer and a quick main, catch up with a bunch of mates before a big game, or a more rockstar spirited group booking before a concert.

It was great to see such a young kitchen team performing so maturely to its owners and clients needs. Our service was bubbly and professional without the over the top airs and graces of new cutlery, linen and convoluted specials which can sometimes trip you up!

We were treated to some snacks on arrival of wild mushroom arancini, local olives and crab sliders. The Risotto balls were perfectly crumbed, cheesy rice goodies just requiring a bit more fun. Local olives were appropriately warm and the crab sliders were old school Italian. Three buff buns served on red white chequered paper, filled with rocket, aioli, very tasty and delicious crabmeat balls completed the picture.

Encouraged by the kitchens detailed execution of the tricky crab sliders we chose the saganaki preparation with grapes and saba. The dish of the night was an impressive looking slab of kefalograviera - arriving sizzling from the wood oven in a suitably impressive pan, another tick for the kitchen as this cheese can quickly cool to unpleasant proportions - bathed in a sweet & sour grape sauce, it was autumnal and adventurous.

Main courses caused much debate after a near faultless brace of starters. Our friendly front of house words chorused the perfect choice to complement our craft beer and red wine selection: Mod Souvlaki, Fish n Chips and a Quinoa Salad for our vegetarian friend. We were satisfied and relaxed and the entire venue seemed to be purring along with a lovely mix of families, businessmen, hipsters and tourists seeking shelter from the first cold autumn night.

Our mains arrived, presented without fuss, exactly as advertised. Three generous and very fresh fillets of blue eye trevalla. Good beer batter + good chips & tartar sauce = one happy Pom.

Slow cooked juicy lamb + bbq pita + chips & garlic yoghurt sauce = one happy SA, who’s only comment was a more Greekish salad and less Israeli would have been more her Mediterranean muse as she wasn’t a big fan of the robust Israeli cous cous.

The Quinoa Salad looked very impressive, perfectly cooked grains, nice blob of yoghurt, full of green and glorious veggies, was the only kitchen misfire with someone forgetting to dress this dry bowl of potential goodness. After some additional dressing was requested, a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon, the dinner stayed on course to yield another round of drinks as we’re indeed having a great time!

Desserts split opinions with our charming front of house, lemon meringue from one, chocolate pudding from another, nutella pizza from another. There was no room for 3 and chocolate never disappoints. A huge fez of chocolate sponge swimming in rich dark chocolate was complemented by a double serve of cream and vanilla ice cream, perfect for sharing. The cake, a touch dry, would benefit with another crowd pleaser in mind, the mighty sticky date pud is supper moist in part due to the addition of Moorish Mediterranean dates in the mix, and my culinary tip of the night.

An additional knockout blow was dealt by the lovely Diana dispatching the venues most popular dessert, a nutella and strawberry pizza. Pizza for dessert...I am still not convinced, but the numbers don’t lie and the customers are always right!

With that said congratulations Cargo Restaurant & Bar you are certainly getting it all right!

In Summary...

What Wilson says -

Excellent value, terrific waterfront local and pre Etihad venue.

When can we go -

Monday to Friday: 7am till late

Saturday & Sunday: 8:30am till late

Overall Rating

1 to 2 fish - Great    2.5 to 3.5 fish - Excellent    4 to 5 fish - Must Go!

Venue Info

Cargo Restaurant & Bar
55A New Quay Promenade
+61 3 9670 0999

Review by Paul Wilson

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