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UK Outback Steakhouses

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mikefromgeorgia Aug 18, 2010 08:13 AM

Does anyone have any experience dining at any of the UK Outback Steakhouse chain restaurants?? I have eaten in several in different parts of the U.S. Usually you get huge portions and leave with no room for dessert. Just wondering if anyone knows how the UK versions compare to the parent ones in the U.S.?? I am sure the prices must be quite a bit higher anyway.

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    Harters RE: mikefromgeorgia Aug 18, 2010 08:40 AM

    "I am sure the prices must be quite a bit higher anyway."

    Undoubtably - and I havnt even looked. Prices at all American chain places are higher here than in America, as far as I can tell. It is partly to do with our different attitude towards staff wages, partly to do with levels of taxation and partly to do with our different culture towards eating out.

    19 Replies
    1. re: Harters
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      Harters RE: Harters Aug 18, 2010 08:46 AM

      Now I know Outback only has a couple of outlets in the UK and, presumably, it is trying to spin itself into something vaguely Australian. I'm curious to know if any of the food actually has anything of an Australian feel to it - or is it just what I'd think of as downmarket American "steak place" food, dressed up with Aussie names?

      1. re: Harters
        PhilD RE: Harters Aug 18, 2010 12:39 PM

        John you are correct, it is an American chain which chose an Aussie theme, as far as I can tell none of he food has anything Australian about it apart from the names of the dishes. The burgers in the US don't come with beetroot, pineapple or a fried egg - how very un-Australian!

        The weird thing is they have opened some stores in Australia now, the menu is similar but with some name changes the chicken wings in the US are called Kookaburra Wings in Australia they are Chookaburra - probably sensitive to us natives not wanting to eat an Aussie icon.

        Question for Mikefromgeorgia - do you think they are any good? If you are interested in good steak in the UK there are lots of better options.

        1. re: PhilD
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          mikefromgeorgia RE: PhilD Aug 18, 2010 02:39 PM

          My wife is actually the one who has the steaks at the Outbacks we have been to in the U.S. I normally have chicken or seafood. She says the steaks are very good and she is British. She says she hasn't found any steaks in the UK to be as good as the ones in the U.S. she has had.

          1. re: mikefromgeorgia
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            Harters RE: mikefromgeorgia Aug 18, 2010 03:34 PM

            Interesting. I generally find American steaks to be lacking in flavour compared with British ones. That said, I tend not to eat in chain restaurants either here or there.

            (Phil - thanks. Thought so. Beetroot on burgers is a favourite at home. I see Gourmet Burger Kitchen has one with beetroot, pineapple & egg - unsurprisingly called the Kiwi)

            1. re: Harters
              howler RE: Harters Aug 18, 2010 04:25 PM

              for me, american steaks have a greasy 'finish' that i don't particularly like.

              also, this summer i noticed that the raw middle of american steaks were completely tasteless compared with their british counterparts - but the caramelized outer coats of the american steaks charred better. this could well be because i have a big green egg in the usa but not one in the uk.

              1. re: howler
                zuriga1 RE: howler Aug 19, 2010 02:49 AM

                Is the 'greasy finish' something you taste or see on top of the steak?

                1. re: zuriga1
                  howler RE: zuriga1 Aug 19, 2010 11:44 AM

                  taste.

                  1. re: howler
                    zuriga1 RE: howler Aug 19, 2010 10:55 PM

                    I guess greasy has to do with the fat content?

                    1. re: zuriga1
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                      Harters RE: zuriga1 Aug 20, 2010 03:43 AM

                      I've not noted "greasy" when I've visited America (although I'm not a big steak eater on either continent) but I'd have a sense that American steaks seem less fatty than ours- perhaps closer trimmed as well as less marbled. Needless to say, this is a generalisation.

                      1. re: Harters
                        zuriga1 RE: Harters Aug 20, 2010 03:46 AM

                        I think the best steaks in America are well-marbled... of course, that's just my opinion. They are probably not the healthiest either, but that's another story. My favourite was always a good porterhouse rather than a sirloin or NY strip steak. I think our names for steaks have little meaning over here.

                        1. re: zuriga1
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                          Harters RE: zuriga1 Aug 20, 2010 04:08 AM

                          Best steaks anywhere are well-marbled.

                          However, I suspect we are getting well off-topic. Discussion about "best steaks" in a thread about a chain restaurant doesnt seem to quite fit together. LOL.

            2. re: mikefromgeorgia
              zuriga1 RE: mikefromgeorgia Aug 19, 2010 02:48 AM

              If you are living in the UK, maybe we can suggest some places to find good-tasting steaks... there are quite a few good butchers in London that have them. In fact, I've bought Kansas steaks from the butcher in Selfridge's and one down here in Surrey - pricey but they tasted better than anything I can imagine from Outback, a place I never went to in the States.

              1. re: zuriga1
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                Harters RE: zuriga1 Aug 19, 2010 07:53 AM

                As always, happy to give a recc for my usual meat supplier, Mansergh Hall:

                http://www.manserghhall.co.uk/html/be...

                No longer trading as "organic" - but their practices are unchanged, it's just the organicstandards for pigs have changed rendering the certification process unworkable for them.

              2. re: mikefromgeorgia
                Dave MP RE: mikefromgeorgia Aug 20, 2010 05:08 AM

                Wait a sec here....it's somewhat confusing to me how the OP's question has turned into a discussion about American vs British steaks.

                First of all, to mikefromgeorgia: Are you saying that your wife thinks the steaks she has at Outback Steakhouse in USA are better than ANY steak she has ever had in England? I really just don't understand how this is possible, since as far as I've heard, the steaks at Outback are mediocre at best. I guess this all might make more sense if you are limited to a certain price-point, but surely there must be hundreds of restaurants in the UK that serve excellent steak - probably more expensive than Outback, but probably much better.

                To Harters and Howler: Are you guys talking about American steaks in general? Or are you talking about steaks from the American chain Outback Steakhouse? I just want to reiterate for anyone unfamiliar with Outback Steakhouse that there is a pretty big difference. To judge American steak using Outback as a reference would be similar to judging British sausage rolls or meat pies by using Gregg's as a reference.

                I have nothing against Outback Steakhouse or Gregg's per se - sometimes I'm even in the mood to go to places like that - but I guess I am surprised that mikefromgeorgia's wife can't find anywhere in the UK with a better steak than Outback Steakhouse.

                I think Harters hit the nail on the head by writing "However, I suspect we are getting well off-topic. Discussion about "best steaks" in a thread about a chain restaurant doesnt seem to quite fit together."

                Also, to the moderators: isn't there a separate board for posts about chain restaurants? Shouldn't a question that involves comparing Outback in USA to Outback in UK be moved to that board?

                1. re: Dave MP
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                  Harters RE: Dave MP Aug 20, 2010 05:52 AM

                  Dave

                  I was talking about American steaks generally. Although not a big steak eater, I've eaten it at most levels in both countries and I would say that I find American ones less flavoured and with a less appealing "chew" than British steaks (like-for-like quality of restaurant). I suspect that this is to do with different farming and meat-hanging procedures. The caveat again - it's a generalisation.

                  John

                  1. re: Dave MP
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                    mikefromgeorgia RE: Dave MP Aug 20, 2010 05:52 AM

                    Have you ever actually been to an Outback Steakhouse?? My wife actually prefers steaks in the supermarkets in the U.S. to the ones she has had either at home or in restaurants in the UK. Both from a quality, size and a cost standpoint. I am not really a steak eater myself, so I wouldn't really know. It is just her preference. She is in her 50's and has lived all of her life in the U.K. Including more than ten years in London. From what I have heard the Omaha steaks are widely considered top-of-the-line worldwide alongside Kobe beef. You have a right to your beliefs and preferences, but most people know where most of the best beef is to be found and that is most likely in places where cattle are most commonly raised. For instance, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, etc. I hardly think the UK rates alongside the U.S. beef producers. and by-the-way, there is no other Outback Steakhouse-related thread to be found.

                    1. re: mikefromgeorgia
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                      Harters RE: mikefromgeorgia Aug 20, 2010 06:03 AM

                      "Have you ever actually been to an Outback Steakhouse?? "

                      No - I've never been to Basildon, Enfield or Romford. Nor do I generally eat in chain restaurants here or overseas. Is the question relevent to the discussion we're having about quality of steak?

                      You are, of course, entitled to your opinion about the relative merits of UK and American beef. As is your wife. Presumably American grain-fed cattle is more to your taste than our grass-fed. And the different breeds of cattle used. And the different methods of hanging and butchery. Our experiences and tastes clearly differ.

                      1. re: mikefromgeorgia
                        Dave MP RE: mikefromgeorgia Aug 20, 2010 07:37 AM

                        There seem to be lots of threads about Outback Steakhouse on the Chains board and a few other US boards....and to be fair, not all of them are negative :)

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/418845

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/620728

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/406786

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/473691

                        This is just a sampling of what came up in the search result.

                        As for me, I think I've only been to Outback Steakhouse once, and I don't remember if I had steak or not. All I remember is the onion bloom, which is big and kinda fun but then got gross as it cooled down. I don't tend to eat steak out, and certainly not at a chain restaurant, since I always had the impression I could buy my own steak and cook it home and it would be just as cheap and much better.

                      2. re: Dave MP
                        The Chowhound Team RE: Dave MP Aug 20, 2010 09:25 AM

                        Hi Dave MP,

                        We're fine with a discussion of Outback Steakhouse on U.K. board as long as the focus is on specifics of UK branches, or differences from the rest of the chain. A general purpose discussion of Outback would indeed be better suited to the Chains board.

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