Australian-themed American casual dining restaurant Outback Steakhouse is the go-to destination when one is: 1) craving mid-priced top rated (by Zagat) steaks for dinner, 2) hankering for no-fail drinks after work, or 3) entertaining foreign guests who've had enough of being adventurous and are just longing for food that's just like what they have at home.
Today, after its more-than-a-decade foothold here in the Philippines, Outback Steakhouse decides to woo a different market: the busy lunch crowd who wants quick but quality meals.
To seek the lunch-goers' affection, Outback Steakhouse recently launched their Weekday Lunch menu. Available from Mondays to Fridays from 11 AM to 3 PM, the mid-day menu features eight dishes (many are among Outback's best-sellers) that are remarkably cheaper than their dinner counterparts.
We recently sampled the fare and here are the reasons why we encourage you to troop to Outback Steakhouse when the sun is at its peak.
For one, their rated number one steak (according to US restaurant guide Zagat), 6 oz. Victoria's Filet, is priced P599 instead of P929. If the P330 savings did not call your attention, perhaps this photo of a blushing thick filet of USDA steak will.
Victoria's Filet is considered a best-seller in all 1,200 branches all over the world and it is not hard to see why. Served with mashed potatoes and properly-cooked veggies, this plate has all the protein a grown man will ever need for the day. Make sure to emphasize your done-ness preference as the kitchen seems to sear this to medium-well by default.
Savings-wise, the same could be said about the Weekday Lunch Menu's BBQ Pork Ribs and Grilled Pork Chop.
BBQ Pork Ribs
Instead of shelling out P699 for a half-slab of Baby Back Ribs, you may opt to enjoy an individual (but still large) portion (P549) of their famous fall-off-the-bone ribs at noon. And instead of getting two center cut, tender and peppery grilled pork chops during dinner (P599), you can be selfish and finish a piece during lunch at (P399).
Grilled Pork Chop
Pastas at Outback will easily cost you no less than P400 at night. But pasta-lovers are in for a treat during the day with two affordable options: Chicken Parmesan (P299) and Pan Seared Fish in Pesto Linguine (P199).
Like any good Chicken Parmesan, Outback's version has a Swiss cheese-topped golden fillet sitting on a bowl of tangy marinara. On the other hand, Pesto-fanatics won't be disappointed at the light fish linguine. Made with homemade pesto and butter, this dish is a bang for the buck at below P200.
Pan Seared Fish in Pesto Linguine
But the reasons for trying Outback's lunch menu aren't all concerned about savings. The other dishes are just too elusive; you won't see them in the menu past 3PM!
Case in point is Outback's sought-after treasure: BBQ Chicken Flatbread (299).
BBQ Chicken Flatbread
This dish, which basically is no different from a thin crust pizza, is one of the best things you can have at Outback. The flatbread features a generous layer of marbled cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and this stabilizes the paper-thin dough topped with grilled chicken dice. Unlike with the other thin (but still doughy and oily) crust pizzas we are used to, biting this flatbread is just like munching on pure cheese slices. It's so cheesy and gratuitous; it's no less capable of enshrining itself in your top cheese pizza lists.
Another gone-by-night dish is Outback's Chicken Fried Chicken (P199).
Chicken Fried Chicken
The silly-named entree features tender chicken fillet that's breaded, fried, then drenched in white gravy and accompanied with real mashed potatoes. If this were not served on Outback's traditional giant white plates, and in Outback's customary wood-centric interiors, we would easily mistake this as the cooking of some American friend's bespectacled and cheerful granny. Gut-warming and relentlessly creamy, Chicken Fried Chicken is something you should never miss at Outback.
The last reason is a happy one. Try Outback Steakhouse for lunch because your all time favorites: Combination Appetizer (P649), Typhoon Bloom (P349), and Chocolate Thunder from Down Under (P315)— even if not included in the lunch menu– may be ordered at this time of the day.
Kookabura wings, Aussie Cheese Fries, and Crispy Calamari
You do not need to wait for dinner in order to feast on their signature sweetish Kookabura wings, messy Aussie Cheese Fries, and Crispy Calamari. Nor should you wait for happy hour before you can demolish Outback's famous onion rings dome. And just like how you end your meal at night, you can leave on a happy note after devouring their three-tier dessert made of brownie pecan, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream.
Chocolate Thunder from Down Under
Outback Steakhouse could've stopped at offering price discounts to lure the lunch crowd. But they outdid themselves when they introduced new dishes that are both practical and well-put.
We won't be surprised if eventually, Outback Steakhouse becomes the go-to destination when one is craving mid-priced dinners steaks, hankering for post-work drinks, entertaining home-sick foreign guests, or seeking quick but quality mid-day power meals.
Photos by: Chris Riel