C Dine Bar recently changed its menu. Last week, it introduced its new ‘Fresh Catch Basket’, that’s half price on Tuesdays for $25 (usually $50). Each basket can be shared between two so that’s amazing value. Being a seafood lover, I thought this sounded like a great deal that I just couldn’t pass up. Between the five of us, we ordered two fresh catch baskets and a couple of sides to share. The basket comes out in a large metal bucket filled with seafood.

Utensils are provided to each person at the table to crack those hard crab shells. The small thin plate you see below is all you get to place your seafood on. It was a little awkward picking out my seafood and placing it on the small plate, as some of the broth sitting in the shells would splash onto the plate and the table, and cracked shells flew everywhere.

Luckily plastic bibs are provided to protect clothes from seafood splatter.

The Fresh Catch Basket contains crab, mussels, scampi, prawns, squid and giant clams all poached in a master stock broth. Perfect during the colder months. This was hot when it came out and a few of us had to wait for it to cool down.

We found two giant clams which were unopened. My friend D mentioned a myth that it’s dangerous to eat shellfish that don’t open because it means they’re rotten or dead. I read that some shellfish take longer to open, and given the size of this huge giant clam, it would probably need longer cooking time to pop open. I tried to open it to see but failed to crack open the shell. Is it a myth or real?

One crab cut in half was included in each fresh catch basket.

A side of crab mac and cheese ($12) was ordered. The general consensus around the table was that the cheese wasn’t cheesy enough and the crab meat tasted too subtle that we almost couldn’t recognise it.
A side of polenta chips ($8) were also ordered. About 5-6 pieces are provided per serve but each chip is thick and chunky.

I guess I had different expectations to the Fresh Catch Basket than what was provided. I wasn’t expecting to have to work to eat my food – peeling all the shells off the prawns, cracking open the crab legs etc. But seafood is expensive, so it’s understandable. The broth itself was watery and light but flavoursome. As no spoons are provided, I used one of the mussel shells to scoop up the broth. I think a side of bread or something else could be provided to accompany the basket to make it more satisfying (bread can be ordered off the menu). Between the five of us, the bill came to $14 per person. Not a bad! The five of us were still hungry afterwards, (we should’ve ordered three baskets between the five of us), and decided to go to Max Brenner to fill our stomachs with sweets.  Overall, it was a pleasant evening with great friends and great service. The half price Fresh Catch Basket is only available Tuesdays from 6pm.

Now onto the next cheap deal. C Dine Bar recently introduced its new Friday happy hour offer of 1kg wing dings for $10. What a bargain! This offer is only valid between 4-6pm on Fridays and also includes $5 tap beer. This has replaced Buck a Shuck Friday ($1 oysters) which will hopefully be back when it warms up again later in the year.

Who doesn’t love chicken wings? It’s great value so I headed down one Friday arvo to try it out. Three flavours were offered that night – honey and soy, BBQ, and hot sauce (flavours may change). I chose the honey and soy. My 1kg of chicken mini wings and drumsticks are presented on a large plate. Ranch dressing accompanies the wing dings in a separate bowl.

Coriander haters beware: the honey and soy wing dings are mixed with coriander stems and leaves. It tasted fine to me but my partner absolutely hates coriander, so he couldn’t eat any of it. No complaints about the chicken – cooked perfectly and lots of it. The sauce was pooled at the bottom of the plate but you can easily dunk your chicken in for added flavour. I did start to get chicken overload and didn’t finish the wings as I’m not a big meatlover. I made a pretty good effort – the leftovers shown below. The portion of wing dings are large enough that it can be shared between two. I was so full after this – no more food for me that night.

the leftovers

Unfortunately, you can’t order a mix of flavours (eg: half BBQ/ half honey and soy), I guess because it’s easier to cook all in the one pot. Eating the wing dings can get messy. Finger bowls containing water and lemon slices are provided to wash sticky fingers which I appreciated.

Some notable new items on the menu include the duck cassoulet and the ‘leather jacket’. I’m yet to try these but I’ll put them on my list. I was excited to find new additions to the dessert menu too – the ‘C Cundae’ with white chocolate sponge, tuaca ice cream, cracked nerds, chocolate tuile and hot chocolate sauce. Then there’s the ‘caramel fudge’ with coconut ice cream, caramel powder and mandarin puree. I’m glad they’ve kept the ‘Cinema’ dessert – such a pretty sweet.

I also noticed C Dine now do an early bird special offering 2 courses for $30 per person, Tuesday to Thursdays, from 5 until 6.30pm. Conditions apply, so you might only be able to choose from a limited menu, but this is still a great deal.

C Dine Bar is nice and warm inside for winter. However, if you prefer to sit outside, there are outdoor heaters to warm you up. If you like value for money, you should definitely come down and check out one or all of these deals. Service is always friendly and attentive. As the menu has recently changed, some staff are still trying to familiarise themselves with it.

Note: you may not want to bring a first date for the Fresh Catch Basket or the wing dings because it’s just too messy.

Foodgasm 7/10
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