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It’s a fairly old building and the premises have had a number of incarnations over the years. Prior to my arrival in Bowen the building had apparently been a Chinese restaurant, which then became a steakhouse. Over the past twenty-something years has variously been Patrick & Sylvie’s (French), Good Times and Fullagan’s Irish Bar before this most recent rebirth as Coyotes. The cantina-style renovation fits the overall structure in a way that an attempt to convert the interior into something sleek and glossy wouldn’t. 

Once we were seated, a glance at the menu revealed the usual offerings you find on most Bowen menus redrawn with Tex-Mex flavour elements, as well as the fare you’d expect in to find in a place calling itself Coyotes.

Since it was our first visit and lunch time, we didn’t go overboard in the ordering department, opting for a platter of Coyote Bread as a starter, and a Tex-Mex Burrito (‘Er Indoors) and the Chilli Beef (Hughesy). Madam isn’t chilli-tolerant, and while I’m a bit more adventurous, but I opted for the ‘medium’ option on the Chilli Beef, figuring that if extra heat was required, there was a Tabasco Sauce bottle close at hand. Next time I’ll be looking for Hot, but maybe that’s just me. (Side note: Many years ago before I acquired my current level of culinary sophistication I was wont to prepare Chilli Con Carne without realising that ‘tsp’ of chilli powder referred to teaspoons rather than tablespoons).

The Coyote Bread was a more than adequate starter. Under normal circumstances, given four pieces I’d end up with three, but Madam decided she liked the cheese so much that we ended up half-and-half. The salsa underneath the cheese was spicy enough to provide interest without doing anything incendiary to the taste buds. Tasty.

Madam reported that the Tex-Mex Burrito was quite tasty as well, an opinion I was able to confirm when I polished off the leftovers. Her decision to go the extra piece of Coyote Bread meant that there was plenty of burrito and the accompanying guacamole, salsa and cream to get a decent taste.

The Chilli Beef, served on a bed of rice surrounded by corn chips and topped with salsa and cream was also very nice - a bit lacking in the fire department, but that’s what I’d asked for and the Tabasco bottle was handy - with a nice balance of tastes between the beef and the accompaniments. Good stuff.

A couple of other observations:

When you’re talking chilli, it’s very much a case of ‘one man’s dish is another man’s poison’, and there’s obviously a wide range when it comes to heat-tolerance. It’d be nice to have the option of a couple of other chilli sauces along with the ubiquitous Tabasco. Given the opportunity to try something different, I don’t think the average chilli fan would mind paying a small surcharge for the privilege.

Given the fact that restaurant wine lists tend to be heavily weighted towards popular styles that turn up all over the place, I really like the idea of ‘BYO Wine’ as an option that gives someone with a few different bottles at home to say that a certain dish on the menu would probably go really well with a bottle of that Eden Valley Riesling we picked up from wherever and then try the match later on. 

Of course, under those circumstances, you’d expect to pay corkage at a reasonable, but not exorbitant, level.

Based on this first visit (we’ll definitely be back, and that’ll be sooner rather than later) it looks like Oatmeal Dough will continue to do well in the computer games department come Christmas and birthday time..

 © Ian Hughes 2014