Although I'm currently not as hardcore as a carnivore as I used to be, I still appreciate all the meaty things in life. So when I got a chance to visit Outback Steakhouse in Glorietta 4 to sample their new lunch menu, I didn't even have to think and just gave a big yes.
To be honest, Outback's lunch menu has already been around since the start of the year. But although I'm a little (okay, a lot) late in bringing in the news, we're all in luck as the lunch menu will be offered until June. Now, before I share the dishes from the lunch menu itself, let me start off first with appetizers you might want to order on your visit.
This isn't actually one from the menu, but I really like the free gluten-free loaf of honey wheat bushman bread they serve. It's a nice filler to munch on when waiting for your orders, or maybe a side to your steak or pasta dish. I think this is quite healthy too.
If you'll be visiting with a group of serious (I mean, really serious) onion ring lovers, then make sure to order a serving of the Typhoon Bloom (P329). I won't deny that I am in love with onion rings, but I don't think I'll ever be ready for a commitment. So when this platter of intricately stacked onion rings was brought to our table, I couldn't exclaim anything but just wows of awe. Taste-wise, they were quite flavorful and even crunchy. Make sure to eat them right away though or you'll risk them being soggy.
We also got to try the Kookaburra Wings (Half P279; Full P469) -- a platter of juicy chicken wings tossed in a savory blend of Outback's secret spices. It's also served with celery and a blue cheese dressing, and can be ordered mild, medium or hot. While I'm more of a savory chicken wings kind of girl, I really liked the spiciness of this dish. It was really tasty and had the right amount of heat I wanted. It was hard to stop munching!
Although the 2 previous appetizers were good, I have to say it's this seemingly-deconstructed serving of Crispy Shrimp Caesar Salad (P499) that captured my heart and my palate. Aside from the unique presentation (which you have to play with and mix, by the way), its beautiful blend of flavors is what easily skyrocketed it on top of my list. The perfectly-cooked baby rock shrimps tossed in Asian chili sauce, the Caesar dressing and balsamic vinegar reduction-drizzled romaine lettuce, the fresh tomato slices, and a squeeze from a lemon wedge -- they may look like simple ingredients, but they sure have made magical harmony in my mouth, and have made me a big fan.
Dishes from the Lunch Specials Menu
After the appetite-whetting meal starters, let's get down to business. Here are some of the dishes included on the lunch menu that we had the pleasure to try.
First is this BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza (P299) which tasted really good. The flatbread itself has a nice crunch to it, while the chicken toppings gave every bite a savory and smoky flavor. I seriously couldn't stop myself from getting one slice after another. Oh, this flatbread pizza comes in Chicken Romaine and Margherita flavors too.
We also had the Chicken Parmesan (P299) which is a serving of breaded and deep-fried chicken breast fillet topped with marinara sauce, Parmesan cheese and melted Swiss cheese sitting atop a side of linguine marinara. Being a big tomato-based pasta lover, I actually liked the acidity of the sauce. But for those who are not big on tomato sauces, don't worry 'cause the cheeses really balanced off the tangy marinara. As for the chicken fillet, it was definitely tender. However, it was a little plain in my book.
Next, we tried the Pan Seared Fish in Pesto Linguini (P199) which is undoubtedly my favorite between the 2 pasta-infused dishes on the lunch menu. Although I'm not so much of a pesto fan, the combination of flavors in this dish was just amazing. The lightly-breaded and pan-seared fish shared the limelight with the garlic-herb linguine, while the drizzling of pesto sauce and lemon butter tied the subtle yet beautiful flavors altogether.
We started the meat fest with the BBQ Pork Ribs (P549) which is my kind of ribs, fall-off-the-bone tender, smothered with a sweet, savory and tangy sauce, and served with a side of Aussie fries. Oh, the actual portion for the lunch menu wouldn't be a whole rack though, but an individual serving portion. They just served us the big thing since we were a big group that evening.
My favorite item from the lunch menu would be the Teriyaki Beef Medallions (P549) -- teriyaki-marinated steak, fire-grilled with onions, red and green peppers, and served atop a bed of rice pilaf. Normally, I don't dig sweet teriyaki sauce-smothered meat, but this is probably the only exception. The teriyaki beef steak was quite sweet, but for some reason, I just loved it! It was perfect with the super tender medium rare to medium-grilled medallions. After a few days, I went back and ordered this. That's how much I loved it!
Good news to steak lovers 'cause Victoria's Filet (P599) is included in the lunch menu too. This tender and succulent 6oz. thick filet cut of meaty goodness served with mashed potatoes and vegetables will surely satisfy the carnivore in you as it did with me.
As redundant as it sounds, the Chicken Fried Chicken (P199) is actually good despite being one of the 2 cheapest items on the lunch menu. Hand-breaded then fried to a golden crisp and served with creamy white gravy and mashed potatoes, this dish is definitely one of the tastiest chicken fillets I've had.
Dessert and Drinks
Desserts and drinks aren't part of the lunch specials, but they're worth ordering especially if you're one with a serious sweet tooth like me.
To end on a sweet note, we had the Dessert Sampler Trio (P475) which had sample portions of the Banana Nut Cake -- a combination of banana, toffee, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, nuts and cinnamon; New York-style Cheesecake with a choice of raspberry or chocolate sauce; and the famous Chocolate Thunder from Down Under.
And since we can't get enough of its chocolatey goodness, we had a separate a la carte serving of the full size Chocolate Thunder from Down Under (P315) -- freshly-baked pecan brownie topped with rich vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate sauce, whipped cream and chocolate shaving. This is definitely a chocoholic pleaser!
Since it was a long night filled with lots of food, it was just normal to have not just one, but 2 beverages. So for this gastronomic affair, I had a Cherry Limeade (P165) -- a refreshing concoction made from sweet cherries and tart limes mixed with lemon lime soda, as well as a Coco-Berry Smoothie (P165) -- a very tropical frosty blend of creamy coconut and strawberries. I liked both drinks, but I'm a little partial to the latter.
This visit to Outback Steakhouse really left me full to the brim, but I'm happy to have tried all these dishes. From the lunch specials menu, I can definitely say that everything we got to sample was good. However, I'll be bias and recommend my favorites, the Teriyaki Beef Medallion and the Pan Seared Fish in Pesto Linguini. And whether or not you visit during lunch (although it's advisable since it's more affordable), try the Crispy Shrimp Caesar Salad. It might be pricey, but it sure is one of the highlights of my evening.
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Regular Price - 3/5
Promo Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Outback Steakhouse, Glorietta 4
G/F Glorietta 4, Ayala Ave. cor. Pasay Rd.,
Ayala Center, Makati
(02) 729-8458 to 59