Go Fork Yourself: Aussie BBQ, Portobello, Dublin
Opened three weeks ago and only a drunken stroll from The George Bernard Shaw, The Aussie BBQ has set a few chins wagging across Dublin. Or at least it’s garnered a very glossy recommendation from LeCool, which would have you wondering if they actually ate at the same Aussie BBQ that we did.
Our party of two dropped by for a quick Saturday dinner that went from meh to meh. While standing in the restaurant, waiting to be seated at the boothed area towards the back, we checked out the menus which are angled towards hungry punters from placards on the ceiling. Burgers, wings, pulled pork wraps and yet strangely no prices on anything! We continued to stand, waiting to be acknowledged by any member of staff for just under ten minutes, which was beyond rude, considering that there was only a mid level of custom.
When we were eventually escorted to a booth, it was covered in the previous occupants’ salted residue. Our server made no effort to clean up and presented us with two A4 printed sheets of paper headed ‘Temporary Menu’. Nice. I ordered the wings with chilli sauce, my dining partner, the pulled pork wrap, and we split a ‘Billabong’ fries.
Save for an Aussie flag, the ‘Billabong’ fries and some altogether random framed photos on the wall featuring who I can only assume are Australian celebrities, the entire place is not very ‘Summer Bay’ at all. Not a single antipodean waiter as far as we could tell, despite a huge population of Aussies in the city. The menu choices? The usual Eddie Rocket’s style, hamburger joint fare, with no alligator or kangaroo in sight. And the atmos? Zilch.
The food, on arrival, was gimmicky and underwhelming. The wings came in a bowl with the pointless addition of a knife and fork. For wings I’d have preferred any of the following: extra napkins, a water bowl, any additional garnish. The wrap came on a wooden board, which looked impressive but turned out to be less than practical. The ‘Billabong’ fries were somehow slightly soggy and simultaneously burned.
For an establishment open three weeks, the fries tasted like they’d been fried in grease that hadn’t been changed in about three years. Reaching for my ’33% Extra Free’ Heinz ketchup bottle on the table, I discovered it was unopened and had to unscrew the lid and remove the film myself. OK, not a huge deal but I’d expect stuff like that to be sorted. Our soft drinks, two ice-cold Pepsis, were the only thing spot on. The wings lacked any real flavour other than hot. The pulled pork wrap, which tasted like regular ol’ pork according to my companion, leaked a rather unappetising ‘pork juice’ all over the gimmicky wooden board. Reader, I can palpably feel you lustful jealousy.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If you’re going for a cheap burger, diner, post-boozing thing then consider the nail hit on the head. What I don’t understand is why Aussie BBQ titles itself a ‘restaurant’, is open during the day, has table service, makes you wait to be seated, has wooden boards and real cutlery and tries in some part to be a restaurant while serving up takeaway fare and neglecting to clear the tables.
The Aussie BBQ is open til 5am and serves beer. This is probably what will keep it going. I’m sure there’s some loophole that says you can keep selling alcohol until crazy o’clock with food purchases. I predict a riot. Several of them in fact, at around 4.30am, over who stole whose chips. Another plus is the price. You’ll fork out only €15 for the kind of slap-up meal we had, which is decent.
@Aussie_BBQ would be delighted to hear your experiences I’m sure…