Vivo Bar and Grill, Palm Cove - review

It's been far too long since I did a restaurant review and I don't have nearly as many food-related photos sitting in my drafts as I should.

Through the sleep deprived haze of my baby brain, it's been so much easier to just keep posting on beauty products because I've been doing that daily for over a year now and I don't have to reach for things to say - I already have comments floating in my head from trialling the products, so the posts are half written even before I've put the first word down.

But little white truths is meant to be a life blog, and I'd always intended to do more posts on things other than beauty products. It may even be that this blog eventually moves away from beauty-related posts so I do those only occasionally: I've been hoping this blog will grow with me, and there's certainly a lot more I could be doing with it than I currently am.

Anyhoo. We recently went to Palm Cove, our first holiday with our daughter. We didn't eat out that much because we had a kitchen in our apartment and don't have pennies to spare, but we ate at Vivo Bar and Grill twice and I had a coffee there every other day.

The restaurant was recommended to us by the receptionist from our hotel. She promised we'd find decent coffee there, and sure enough we did. One thing I love about Australia is that it's easy enough to find a decent coffee almost anywhere you go.

So yes, Vivo does a great coffee - not always easy when your chosen milk is of the soy variety. We also had a great breakfast there (see below) on our first day, when we'd arrived after taking our flight at some ungodly hour and needed to load up on energy for the day ahead.

The second meal we had there was 'dinner' at about 4.30pm (you'll eat when you can when it comes to having a baby!), which wasn't very good but I'll overlook that because the kitchen wasn't running as normal at that time and we had to pick something from the bar menu.

Mex ordered the above dish from the breakfast menu, and unfortunately it's no longer listed. Foo! It's toast with ham, cheese, rocket and two poached eggs (not pictured - the chef forgot those but they turned up a moment later when he remembered).

I wasn't expecting him to like it because he generally prefers more complex meals, but he said this was really well done. The ingredients were of good quality and the flavour was good. He would order it again, which you could do by constructing your own dish from the sides portion of the menu.

I ordered the Vietnamese pancake ($22), which comes with tiger prawns, coconut crepe, eschallots, peanuts, wombok, bean shoots, chilli, shredded sesame omelette, crispy onion and housemade sambal.

I suspect this is one of the restaurant's more popular dishes because I saw three of these come out before mine did, delivered to other diners.

It was cooked just right so it wasn't overdone. It was nicely juicy and had a lot of good flavours. To be honest, it was probably a bit rich and complex for me - particularly as a breakfast item - but it was excellent and I really enjoyed it. I would order it again, but perhaps later in the day.

Atmosphere & service

Like most Palm Cove dining spots, Vivo sits along the main road and overlooks the beach, so you can't really go wrong there. It's nicely set out and definitely has a bar feel, especially inside.

The service was fine but do expect a slightly disjointed and laid-back affair, since Palm Cove is a tourist spot and many of the staff are foreigners who have stopped somewhere to earn some money before heading off again on their travels. The young French lad we had on the first day was definitely the best server we had, and I would have deliberately sat in his section again if he was working on the second occasion we ate there.

In sum

If you find yourself in Palm Cove, Vivo is definitely worth a look-in. There you'll find a Melbourne-worthy coffee and that Vietnamese pancake really is very good.


49 Williams Esplanade
Palm Cove 4879
Tropical North Queensland
Phone: +61 7 4059 0944

Open daily from 7.30am to 9.00pm (later on weekends)

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