May 22 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 21, 2012
It’s G-day and G-eating at The Outback, a touch of Oz in the wilds of Norfolk. DEREK JAMES and friends head off to a restaurant with a difference.
People kept asking us if I had been to that Australian restaurant in Ringland. We meant to go - but never did.
Then, earlier this year A Touch of Oz became The Outback.
We reported how the restaurant, next to The Swan, was being re-launched and owner Andrew Parke had handed it over to his daughter Jenna Parke-Howard and her husband Lee.
So what’s The Outback like? Four of us decided to go and take a look for ourselves.
It was the first time in many years I had been out to Ringland and it was good to see that while many village pubs disappeared The Swan was a busy place with plenty of people milling around.
To get to The Outback you walk past the dusty old vehicle outside and into a place with is sort of Australian come American diner which offers something quite different.
This isn’t by any stretch of the imagination fine dining. Don’t expect cut glass and silver. There is no need for suits or long dresses.
What you do get is a welcome as warm as the weather Down Under and a night out which is good fun with excellent food.
A lot of time and effort has gone into developing this restaurant - and it works well.
When we arrived at about 7pm on a Friday night it was quiet but within an hour or so the place was packed. There were couples, families and a larger groups - all out for a good time.
What impressed us all was the attitude of the staff who did their utmost to make sure everyone was having a good time - and the menu which raised a laugh.
Jackaroos Bourguignon or Outback Ozzi Wok Toss are two examples of food which sounds fun. But is it any good?
There is an awful lot to chose from - perhaps too much - but my fish - a dish called Sheila’s Sizzling Swordfish Supreme - lived up to its name. It was supreme.
One of the best swordfish I have tasted for many years and it came with patatas bravas and French green beans. Delicious.
And so was my wife’s seafood platter which she had as a main course comprising of marinated herrings, trout, mackerel, salmon with hot crusty bread.
Any good? Excellent - and my wife knows her fish.
Our companions both had meat dishes - a steak and a burger - and also enjoyed them.
The desserts tasted as sweet as they sounded on the menu. I had a chunky hot chocolate fudge cake with ice cream which was lovely while my wife loved her Belgian Wallaby Waffle - who thought that name up?
But top of the pudding charts was the one my friend picked - a Trio of Chef’s Desserts chosen by the pastry chef. Now they really were top class. They tasted just as good as they looked. The dish of the day.
We enjoyed our visit to The Outback and the meal for the four of us, with drinks, came to just under £88 which was good value.
Children are also well catered for with their own menu.
Oh, and one more thing. The loos are also exceptionally smart and clean which is always a good sign.
Open: All day from 12pm
Vegetarian options: Yes
Wheelchair access: Yes
As the gates to the Royal Hospital Gardens at Chelsea opened to the world’s media yesterday, with a frenzy of activity as photographers and camera crews vied for the best vantage points, there was also a very palpable sense of relief among the hundreds of nurserymen and women who have come to exhibit their prize horticultural specimens that their stands were complete and looking their very best.