With the start of the new year comes the arrival of new dining concepts. We were recently invited to sample the new Aussie Grill by Outback™, the American brand inescapably known for its Australian-inspired chain of restaurants. Now, there are only two reasons that large restaurant chains undertake spin-offs to an already established brand: to offer something more high end or to make their brand more affordable and accessible. Aussie Grill has opted for the latter.
Aussie Grill sports a distinctly orange interior (not unlike the inside of a Fairwood joint)
Retaining the decidedly Australian-themed menu offered at a traditional Outback Steakhouse, Aussie Grill is essentially Outback Steakhouse lite. It offers a more wallet-friendly selection of the same curiosities – like the Bloomin’ Onion, for instance – alongside new creations. The restaurant puts great emphasis on each meal being freshly prepared and cooked, but at the price range of around $100–180 per meal, freshly made items ought to be expected.
Reminders of Australia are everywhere
Being a pilot programme of sorts, there is only one branch in Hong Kong. So if you find yourself nearby Metroplaza in Kwai Fong, Aussie Grill is an excellent alternative to the usual humdrum selection of restaurants one would expect to find at a mall.
Here are three items we tried on the menu that pleasantly surprised us:
Bacon Bomb ($98)
One of the aspiring signature dishes of Aussie Grill is the Bacon Bomb. Tired of dry beef patties and infatuated with the smoky flavour of bacon? The Bacon Bomb is a refreshing alternative to the classic cheeseburger. It has a juicy bacon patty with bacon onion jam, aged Cheddar and pickles and is topped with a generous dollop of aioli. The patty was nice and porky, well seasoned all the way. Together with the sharpness of the Cheddar and the sweetness of the jam, the Bacon Bomb really does implode in the mouth.
Impossible Burger ($108)
Here’s yet another alternative to the classic burger, this time a meat-free, vegetarian version. From past experience, most meat substitutes fail to conceal their true origins. However, the Impossible Burger surprised us by tasting uncannily meaty, almost like a real burger. That is as big a compliment an undercover veggie burger can get, and as a bonus, vegetarians won’t have to opt for salad. Again.
Peanut Butter Crunch Sundae ($48)
To top off your meal, have a heart-stopping, artery-clogging, sugary explosion of a sundae that alternates between layers of frozen milk custard, caramel and thick, creamy peanut butter – and we can assure you that they do not skimp on the PB – crowned with mini digestives and even more peanuts. What we have just described does, understandably, sound like overkill. However, the salt from the peanut butter worked wonders in taming the sugary sweetness from everything else, making this sundae balanced and highly palatable. It’s a steal.
If you have too much time for fast food but not quite enough for a three-course meal, Aussie Grill delivers on its promise to provide affordable fast-casual dining, while losing none of its Outback Steakhouse charm. Keep an eye out for new locations in HK in the future.
Shop 109, 1/F, Metroplaza, 223 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Fong, 31681600
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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