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Miss India versus Indian Brothers in Rockhampton

A review, and natural comparison.

After a little bit of late night shopping it was brought to my attention that my wife and kids were hungry, and we were still 20 minutes from home. My thoughts first went to what was in the freezer to cook, but that was quickly put on hold once I found out that my eldest child was starving and that if we waited for 20 more minutes she would probably die.

After some quick re-consideration it was announced that we shall be having indian tonight, and being fans of Miss India we decided to go to Indian Brothers. I wanted to debunk this place and prove that it couldn’t possibly be as good as my beloved competing eating establishment. Stay with me, I’m not completely insane.

So we head off to the South Rockhampton store. On the way I regaled the kids with tales of Naan breads the size of trampolines but they were not impressed. I told them stories from my youth of Vindaloos so deadly that one needed welding gloves to ladle it out. The trip was otherwise uneventful, except the youngest boy somehow “accidentally” opened his door mid-turn down Fitzroy Street. If anyone saw a silver Dualis with a child’s head peeking out and a parent shrieking like a deranged banshee then I apologise. My parent of the year award is clearly safe once again.

Arriving at the destination with both kids still with their heads on we entered the store. The smell was amazing. My brain went into some kind of primal haze and my higher order functions disappeared. All I could do was marvel at the smells of awesomeness. As women are aware there is only one other thing that causes men to go stupid like this but as far as I’m aware there are no shops in Rockhampton that sell it for $9.95.

We were immediately greeted and offered sample food which was appreciated. If they had also offered me a beer I probably would have moved in. I wonder if they would adopt?

Some tables and chairs were neatly set with dinnerware slightly fancier than I was expecting for a retail shop with a tiled floor. Not exactly the classiest place to go on a first date or an anniversary, but perfectly serviceable to visit with a bunch of mates or a horde of kids.

We selected a family meal deal that included two curries, two naan, some papadums, raita and a couple of other bits and pieces and headed off home. Songs have been sung about love, death and loss. More than just a few country singers have sung about floods, drought and sick horses, but I think there should be more songs about how damned long the drive home is when you have nice smelling food in the car.

Sampling the first curry – a Mango chicken – I had to admit that it was pretty damned good. A very distinct mango flavour of course and a velvety creaminess. Plenty of chicken which I had to battle the kids for. The second curry was a Lamb Rogan Josh which I have to admit I would pass on given the choice again. It had a LOT of Garam Masala spice in it, and maybe that’s traditional, or maybe the guy put 20 times too much in. It was also a little watery and that seemed to separate out on my plate from the rest of the sauce – just a little bit visually unappealing. The lamb was tasty though.

The naan was just Fricken’ Amazing. Miss India does a good naan but I’m awarding the prize to Indian brothers. Each one is a meal in itself and I found the Garlic and Cheese one to be just a small notch above the chef’s special (I forget, but it featured spinach).

Rice is just rice to me, although my wonderful bride said that she probably preferred the shorter grain rice at Miss India. I enquired with her regarding the actual difference. She may have interpreted my question as sarcasm and unfortunately I cannot report back what she said due to the language used.

Overall, we were happy. Good value for forty bucks. Sadly I cannot judge which is best between Miss India and Indian Brothers as I would still happily shop at either. If I had to be nudged in one direction I might go in favour of the latter due to the terrific naan. But I still think maybe somebody fell into the lamb curry pot with the wrong spice bottle.


Note: This was originally written for the Rockhampton Food Rater page on Facebook, and was published there on October 2, 2014.

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Outback Jacks in Rockhampton – a revisit

I know that Outback Jacks has copped a bit of flack in the past, and of the couple of times I’d been there in the past for both lunch and dinner I hadn’t been impressed with the food or the service. Seriously, what’s worse than being parked in a restaurant with a mouth as dry as the Sahara Desert and nobody can be found to serve another round. Assuming that restaurants like to make money it seems to me that flogging alcohol must have an awesome profit margin and therefore waiters should stand next to your elbow in case you need another. I don’t think it would even be offensive to ask, “You look thirsty, would you like two?” But I digress because my blood pressure’s now increasing just thinking about it.

Due to the new management I had been thinking about going back for awhile, but at the same rate I like my friends and family and wasn’t sure if I should experiment at their expense in case it was still bad.

Lo, in my inbox came an email about “All you can eat” ribs and wings. $29.95. A work colleague doesn’t mind some ribs or wings either, and even though I explained in advance that he might want to bring his own esky if he likes to receive drinks we decided we’d give it a go.

I made a quick trip past my wife’s work area (we work at the same place). It’s an informal thing but I feel the need to ask for some kind of permission before embarking on anything that is “unlimited”. I guess it’s kind of like the last reality check before doing something dumb, like jumping off a cliff, drinking a yard glass of beer, or eating ribs until you burst.

Approval was granted and off we drove to Outback Jacks. The drive took longer than the walk would have and there was some momentary wonder at how lazy we were, but I asserted that the walk back would be uncomfortable once we ate the place out of ribs. We’d probably have to send a boy off to the shops to buy some more.

We fronted up and suddenly felt a bit sheepish. The infinite ribs (I decided I like infinite better that unlimited) deal wasn’t on the menu apparently as its a promo thing. I was hoping I could just point at it and grunt rather than saying out loud that we’d quite like to take out a bet that we can eat more than the conventional amount of ribs that could be gotten for $29.95. Nonetheless the waiter was quite good and didn’t show any apparent surprise at our undertaking. He arrived fairly quickly with some drinks which was extremely welcome after the 2 minute drive and 10 metre walk.

The place wasn’t very busy, but it was also a Thursday and for some reason it seems reasonable that steak meals would be more popular on other days, and even moreso at nights. Also, we kind of had our own waiter which I suggest you try sometime.

After about 10 minutes the meals arrived and I believe it was a fairly generous helping of ribs and a couple of chicken wings. We had both opted for “mild” and not the optional “hot”. Having been to the Yeppoon Chilli festival just weeks ago I thought my wife would not be happy with me if I hurt myself in that manner again.

The ribs seemed to be primarily beef and were absolutely spectacular. The meat was delicious, attached the bone but happily willing to spring free and give up it’s BBQ’y goodness.

I think there were three chicken wings that were incased in some kind of “southern” batter, with copious amounts of sauce. Now, one thing struck me – all the bones in the wings were broken which made them annoying to pull to bits. I nearly abandoned them except that you had to eat everything on the plate to get another serve. The wings themselves tasted – well – just bad. If you imagine the worst cook you know who has recently been to one of those home party plan events where they sell herbs and spices. And this guy, he has bought a whole bunch of different spices and decides to make some wings. This is just like what they would turn out like. If I made these at home and served them, I would preface dinner with an apology.

I ate them, but I would skip them in a heartbeat.

So, back to this unlimited thing. I mentioned a rule a minute ago about eating the whole plate. One thing that isn’t terribly obvious is that underneath the ribs and wings is a bed of thick cut chips about equal in weight to the meat. I would estimate 200 grams of chips at least. I don’t eat potato so I was in a tough place! I really wanted more ribs but I suddenly felt a little scammed. Upon closer inspection of the photograph of the meal on the wall with a telescope as powerful as the Hubble I was able to notice that it indeed showed some chips.

The waiter (bless his heart, he was great) understood my predicament and rushed off to bring back more ribs anyway whilst I poked at the chips wondering if they could be exchanged for, well, anything else.

Our second drinks came quickly and even though we had to ask for them I was pleased that they came with a fresh glass of ice.

Arriving back 10 minutes later with more ribs it occurred to me that it would basically be unlikely for anyone to go much beyond that due to the sheer amount of wait time between serves. I took out the remaining ribs which were somehow better than the first – and they were fricking, awesomely piping hot and wonderful. I will think about them for some time. The wings – I kind of sidelined those. I would have jettisoned them if I could have.

Overall, it was enjoyable and I would go back. The unlimited ribs feel like a bit of a dodgy offering overall though – there’s so many chips to get through, the wings aren’t that good, and the wait is long enough to limit the damage you could do.

Edit: We drove back!

Note: This article originally appeared on the Rockhampton Food Rater Facebook page, and was written by me on 11 September, 2014.