Wow, how long had it been since I ate at Outback Steakhouse? At least 10 years probably, lol. I remembered visiting their outlet in Bangkok when I was there on holiday with a colleague.
I was planning a birthday meal for D not too long ago and it was quite tough because there were different dietary restrictions among the group. And that was why having a buffet would always be the most convenient and safest option but no one had a big appetite for it this time. We attributed it to signs of aging, maybe. Lol. Anyway, when I casually suggested Outback Steakhouse, no one objected and so we made a reservation at the orchardgateway outlet for a Saturday lunch.
By the way, if you’re planning to celebrate a birthday (or anniversary) at Outback Steakhouse, you can always call or email them and see if they can do something ‘extra’ for the birthday boy or girl. The outlet manager whom I contacted happily offered a complimentary dessert to the birthday boy. Sweet.
For Outback’s full menu, click here.
The ordering process didn’t go very well because it was really hard to grab the attention of a service staff. The crew seemed so busy with their duties even though there weren’t many customers in the restaurant when we were there. We were seated at our booth for a long long time and were very much given the cold shoulder until we finally managed to gesture to one staff who walked over to our table half-heartedly.
We wanted to order the Shrimp & Avocado Ceviche but it wasn’t available. So we changed it to BBQ Pulled Pork Fries but after a long while, the service staff came back to inform us that it wasn’t available too. I asked if they had the Aussie Cheese Fries then but was told that ‘fries were out of stock’. All of us were like rolling our eyes as though we had just heard the most ridiculous thing ever. Oh dear.
We were happy to be served complimentary bread rolls with butter. While we shouldn’t be eating too much bread as we wanted to save space for the food that was coming our way, we couldn’t resist munching on them because they were so fresh and good.
The ladies wanted greens so we had an Aussie Chicken Cobb Salad (S$19.90) which came with crispy chicken strips served on a bed of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cheese, bacon, egg and croutons. The sauce was a Caesar salad dressing.
Just a very normal salad. Nothing to shout about. The chicken strips were crispy but they were not seasoned enough. I thought the croutons tasted the best because they were crunchy with a lovely buttery taste.
These Kookaburra Wings (S$9.90 for half portion, S$15.90 for full portion) were probably the tastiest compared to the rest of the starters we had but they were quite salty. Flavour could be balanced out though if paired with the Blue Cheese dressing. Not the best wings I had but I liked that the outside was crispy (and not heavily coated) while the inside was moist and juicy.
I didn’t expect the Typhoon Bloom (S$14.90) to look like this. Really thought it would be a whole blooming onion instead of individual onion rings stuck together in a pile. It looked deceivingly huge in portion but the inside was actually a bowl that held the onions rings in shape. Some pieces were like big chunks of onion of which its layers were not properly separated. There was a lack of seasoning too. Without the dipping sauce, this would be absolutely tasteless.
The Crispy Fried Mushrooms (S$13.90) were also bland so you’d have to dip them in the ranch dressing provided. I liked that the inside of the mushrooms was juicy but again, this wasn’t spectacular because of the lack of seasoning in the batter.
One of the two mains that I enjoyed was this Toowoomba Pasta (S$25.90) – fettuccine with grilled shrimps and mushrooms in a light cream sauce. It wasn’t as creamy as I wished it would be but I liked that it didn’t taste cloying or heavy. The pasta was also a little overcooked so it didn’t have that nice bite to it. But overall, it tasted like a decent homemade pasta with fresh, crunchy shrimps. Not bad.
We unanimously agreed that this Grilled Fish Marsala (S$21.90) was the best dish. The spinach and mushroom marsala sauce was rich and creamy. Fish was fresh and flaky. The mashed potato was very well seasoned too. Yummy.
The Baby Back Ribs and Alice Springs Chicken combo (S$34.90) was so poorly plated – it looked as though someone had eaten halfway from the plate. It was supposed to be served with Aussie fries but obviously the fries were out of stock so they replaced with 2 baked potatoes instead.
The chicken was of a breast cut and it was really dry and overcooked. The meat on the ribs easily fell off the bones but the crusty exterior was dry and chewy like it had been left out for too long and then reheated again.
The Cinnamon Oblivion (S$7.90 for individual sampler portion or S$13.90 for full portion) was a welcoming treat as the savouries beforehand had greatly dampened our spirits. There was so much depth of textures and flavours in this one dessert – from the crunchy pecans to the crispy croutons, warm cinnamon apples, sweet caramel sauce, cold vanilla ice cream and tangy strawberries. Everything just worked so well together. Delicious.
And this was the complimentary Chocolate Thunder From Down Under (S$7.90 for individual sampler portion or S$14.90 for full portion) on the house. The brownie was extremely chocolatey & fudgy and I just loved that combination of warm (brownie) and cold (ice cream).
Overall, the sweets definitely fared better than the savouries. We wouldn’t mind coming back for desserts, the wings and/or the fish which stood out more than the rest. It was a pity that the onion rings and battered mushrooms did not taste as good as they looked. Service was also clearly lacking – definitely an important aspect that the restaurant needs to work on.
Next time, before you step into the restaurant for a meal, remember to check on the availability of fries if you intend to order some. It’s just not the same without fries.