Lunch review: Outback Jacks Bar & Grill, Rockingham
I really miss Lone Star Steak House & Saloon. In my early 20’s I lived just up the road from the Belmont restaurant, and would eat there two or three times a week. The food wasn’t spectacular – although I’m yet to find a better cooked pork chop, or roasted sweet potato with butter and cinnamon sugar – but it was consistent, there was plenty of variety, servings were generous, and there was always a great atmosphere…not to mention the bootscooting waitresses. Since then, when it comes to steak I’ve been spoilt by Coco’s in Perth, frequent visits to Rockpool in Melbourne, and the best steak I’ve ever had, a beautiful ribeye at The Old Brewery. That being said, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the opening of Outback Jacks’ new restaurant in Rockingham.
Outback Jacks’ menu is extensive and includes most cuts of steak known to man as well as a decent selection of entrees, salads, seafood, burgers, ribs, chicken, pasta and all the trimmings you would expect. Life’s too short for me to go into great detail; I suggest you whet your appetite by downloading the menu from here. I should note that it’s not cheap to eat there; entrees are mostly in the $15-$20 range, while mains are $30+.
I was running a little short on time, so I decided to leave the 1kg rump challenge for another day (if you eat in in half an hour, you get it half price and a free t-shirt – although to be honest I think it’s the serving of steamed vegetables that would present the greatest challenge) and ordered “OBJ’s Fiery Red Rock Steak” ($31.95), being a “prime 300g rump, minimum 100 day grain fed in our own fiery red rock sauce, jalapeno peppers and cheese sauce”.
All main meals are served with salad and coleslaw, plus the choice of chips or jacket potato – but the potato is only available after 5pm. I was really pleased to be getting coleslaw as it’s one of my favourite sides, although the actual serving was – I kid you not – less than a tablespoon plonked on top of the rather haphazard and undressed side salad. What you see in the picture above was how it was served. The ugly and bizarrely shaped salad bowls topple easily, too. The chips were as they look – nothing offensive but also nothing special.
As for the steak – I ordered it medium rare as suggested and it was certainly wasn’t overcooked which is a nice change, if anything it was closer to rare. Now I don’t mind a rare steak, although being a decent slab of rump it was rather chewy. The “fiery red rock” sauce had a nice savoury kick to it, but it completely overpowered the cheese sauce. I don’t think it deserved the “3 chilli” heat warning on the menu, I’ll have to take my bottle of Devil’s Tears next time.
My other favourite side is onion rings – top marks for having them on the menu ($5.50), but these were from the freezer.
The thing that impressed me most about Outback Jacks – and the thing that will take me back there – is how well they cater for families. That side of things has been very well thought out, including the “kids room” with four PlayStations in it. Kids eat free between 5pm and 7pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and all day during the school holidays which I think is a very clever offer – the offer caters for two kid’s meals per adult, so even a family like mine with four kids can get real value. At long last, I’ve found somewhere I can take my whole family to eat without breaking the bank – and it’s licensed too. Another special that takes my fancy is all you can eat ribs & pasta on Monday nights for $34.95, although much like steak, ribs are another one of those things that never seem to live up to expectations – I’m looking at you, Tony Roma’s Perth.
The variety on offer at Outback Jacks sets it aside from the standard “steak & chips with (insert sauce here)” fare, but the food is nothing exceptional – if you’re after an amazing steak, head to Rockpool or The Old Brewery – and for the record, I think that the steaks at Hogs Breath Cafe are horrible. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a diverse menu and somewhere to hold a family party or eat a generous meal in a casual environment then Outback Jacks is worth a visit.