Port Douglas restaurants and cafes clean up at award nights


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The Melaleuca team were absolutely stoked to be named the the Best New Restaurant at the Queensland Savour Australia Awards. Image: Supplied.
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It’s a rare distinction for a town to boast the best new restaurant; the best restaurant caterer and win silver for the best bacon rasher in the state.

Such is the high standard and quality of our food outlets, Port Douglas has a lot to be proud of based on the following awards which were recently announced:

  • Melaleuca Port Douglas won the Best New Restaurant at the Queensland Savour Australia Awards.
  • Salsa Bar and Grill won the Best Restaurant Caterer at the Savour Australia Catering Awards.
  • Monkey Joes Cafe won silver for the best bacon rasher in the state at the Australian PorkMark Bacon Awards.

For the team at Melaleuca, the award is extra special in that they have only been open for a mere four months.

Owners Adam and Namhee Ion said they are super excited to have won the Best New Restaurant category at the 2019 QLD & NT Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence.

“To win this after being open for just four months is exciting. We want to thank our amazing management team and all staff. Without them it would not have been possible,” they said.

More than 130 local restaurants, cafes and catering businesses gathered to celebrate the achievements of their peers who were judged in over 40 categories, at the Awards for Excellence ceremony.

R&CA CEO Wes Lambert said Melaleuca should be proud of their achievements.

“Running a hospitality business isn’t easy – there’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into to making it work. But when you get the right mix of staff, produce and service, the results can be extraordinary,” he said.

Melaleuca may compete with other finalists at the National Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence to be held at Howard Smith Wharves in Brisbane on Monday 28 October 2019. Finalists will be advised of their status by late September.

For Salsa Bar and Grill, this is one of many awards they have collected over the years. Besides their high standard, they are always humbled when they are recognised.

“Stoked is an understatement. We are incredibly humbled to be recognised for the hard work we put in to creating special events and weddings for our guests, each and every time.

“A huge thanks to all our brides and grooms who choose us to make their special day incredible,” they said in an online statement.

In citing “care and love” that goes into their award-winning bacon, Monkey Joes owner Craig O’Neill attributes this passion as paving the way for their success.

“What’s also making the difference and got people talking is that our bacon is made in-house. We’ve had comments such as: ‘This is how bacon used to taste’.

“The recipe we use is second generational and along with our passion, we are able to provide something unique which people are talking about,” said Mr O’Neill.

O’Neill, who re-located in Australia from New Zealand eight years ago, said the process of making the bacon begins by purchasing raw pork from Malone’s Butchery; and they then put the magic recipe to use.

After the bacon has been cured for a week to 10 days, it is then smoked and sliced and ready for serving a week later.
The overall winner of the best bacon in Australia was Princi Smallgoods in Perth, beating more than 140 entries from across the country.

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