Thursday, July 06, 2006
Dining in Style in the Outback
It had to happen; an Aussie just couldn’t resist attending an Australian themed restaurant in the heart of Manila. And overall the experience was a very positive one.
When I walked in the door I felt I was walking into an up market Australian pub with its prominent U shaped bar set up in the fashion that so many are in the land of the kangaroo. As this flood of nostalgia swept over me so too did the realization that by Philippine standards it was not going to be a cheap night out. Although by Aussie standards it would be reasonable.
With the best beloved and number one daughter and son in tow, we elected to dine in the up stairs non smoking section. It too had a bar dressed in the Australian fashion if a little smaller than the one down stairs. Your humble scribe was heartened to see a selection of red wines nestled on its back wall.
Once seated and with the wine list in my hot little hand it was a pleasant discovery to find a selection of Australian reds, if a some what limited one. I did find it rather amusing that the most expensive wine on the list, coming in at 1710 pesos (about AU$45), was an Oxford Landing Shiraz. This wine is available in Oz for around the AU$7 to $11 a bottle from the off license and is very much considered a second choice wine. At the other end of the list was a Wolf Blass Eaglehawk Cab Sav which is a bloody good drop and at 995 pesos (AU$26) it is about its bottle shop cost in Australia. Needless to say we went for the better wine at the better price.
The menu is littered with Australian references from Kookaburra wings to Land Rover steaks via walk about soup and ribs on the barbie. We went for the Kookaburra wings for starters which are actually deep fried chicken wings that come as mild, medium spicy and hot spicy and served with a partially melted blue vein cheese dip. Our waiter, Anthony, was on the ball enough to notice that we had varying tastes regarding our spicy tolerances and arranged for a variety of the wings to be served on his own initiative which was greatly appreciated.
My best beloved and I chose a half slab each of the ribs on the barbie for our mian course. The slab reference being how package beer is purchased in Australia, a slab being 24 cans of the amber fluid in a cardboard carton and a half slab being, well half that amount. The ribs were succulent and topped with a home made barbeque sauce that complimented them very nicely. They were served with Australian chips, the thick long ones which were just like those from the land of my birth, not those skinny shoe laces certain fast food joints call fries. Number one son and daughter ordered grilled pork chops with rice and buttered corn and chicken on the barbie with rice and veggies respectively.
It has always been my contention that the best compliment you can pay a chef is to send your plate back as near to clean as is possible without actually washing it. All our plates went back in that condition as did the rib bones.
For afters we had Brownie a la mode, a warm chocolate brownie served with ice cream, cream and chocolate sauce. It is truly a dessert you can feel landing on your hips as it passes the lips. The one we were served was a monster which we 4 were only able to demolish through the determined efforts of the number one son.
Shall we be returning to the Outback, you’d better believe it. Although expensive with steaks running out at a 1000 pesos plus per serve, the quality of both the food and the service is such that for value for your peso you would be very hard pressed to find its equal.