Monday, October 4, 2010
In a nutshell: Pseudo-Australian diner-style restaurant with mediocre food and service
Festival City is not a mall I go to very often but when I do it always leaves me with a sense of frustration. I like an easy to navigate shopping centre, which is a category DFC doesn't fall into since the area with all the restaurants is split up so that you can't walk along one corridor and see everything that's on offer - the restaurants seem to encompass the corridor so you need to go outside the mall and enter another set of doors for each section. Very strange and annoying when you are hungry and just want to sit down. I almost gave up and plumped down in Japengo, but for the sake of Bon Appetit! I wanted to try somewhere new.
The Outback Steakhouse is just down from the fast food court and apart from the name and decor of digeredoos and pictures of Australia, it is basically the same as a Chilis (not a good thing in my opinion). In terms of cost that means it is very reasonable - Dhs 72 for a steak including 2 sides and a sauce - but in terms of quality of meal I suppose the old adage 'you get what you pay for' holds true. We were initially impressed with the menu due to the prices, plus there were some original items such as an appetiser of spinach & artichoke dip, fried coconut prawns and a whole fried onion split out like a huge flower. However, numerous dishes included Monterey Jack Cheese which is extremely American and there was a New York cheesecake but I wasn't unduly worried.
The cranberry juice was a cheap, sickly-sweet one that I could barely drink (I really believe restaurants should only sell Ocean Spray) and Simon's Berry Freeze was a mixture of packeted juices - no comparison to the fresh juices of Japengo. Our shared starter of grilled prawns came on a bed of roasted cherry tomatoes. For Dhs 38 we had a grand total of 6 tiny little prawns, all liberally seasoned with cajun spices. The flavour wasn't bad but the portion size was disappointing. Our main courses then arrived, quickly followed by a look of disgust from me.
My sweet potato hadn't been scrubbed so it still had those strange strands that grow on sweet potatoes on it! Instead of butter on the potato, they had put some sort of whipped cream with cinnamon and the sauce (luckily on the side) was really sweet as well - sweet and savoury...NO NO NO. My steak should have been cooked medium-well done but was so overdone that it was bone dry and the spices that had been rubbed into the steak were quite hot on the palate, plus the steak had that strong meaty taste that it gets when it's been previously frozen. In a word...dreadful. Simon's meal fared better than mine as he had ordered a combo of chicken with coconut prawns. The prawns were the size I would have expected our starter ones to have been and he said you could really taste the coconut in the batter and the chicken was coated with melted cheese which gave it moisture and flavour. It didn't blow him away, but it was edible.
Throughout our meal a multitude of staff seemed to congregate together by the main cash till and it seemed there were only a couple of waiters actually bothering to look after the diners. Our waiter, Ahmed, was very friendly and efficient but the same can't be said of his colleagues. My impression was that there was a real hierarchy so when we asked a 'supervisor' for the bill, he didn't clear our plates since that wasn't his job and I had to ask him to take them away when he brought us the bill. The place was full of families with children and for them it would probably be a step up from Burger King, but you certainly won't be seeing me there again. Try it at your own risk!
Labels: Dubai restaurant reviews - 2/5