“Have you ever been to the Glen?”
“Errr, yah,” replied the SO, looking up from his laptop. “But that was like… 10 years ago?”
“Cool! Fancy having dinner there?”
That’s how I ended up accepting an invitation to dine at the Glen’s Garden Grill Restaurant and Bar. I had never been before and wasn’t sure what to expect. Being an inner city dweller, the area is not one that immediately comes to my mind when I am looking for the next spot to dine, but hey! That’s what exploring the Brisbane food scene is all about. I went with an open mind and empty stomach to see what the Glen’s Garden Grill Restaurant and Bar had to offer.
We drove down the Pacific Highway in peak hour traffic to make our 6:30pm booking and found so much available parking space. The Glen is actually an extensive compound that is not only home to the Garden Grill Restaurant and Bar, but also a Thirsty Camel drive-through, a business centre, several function areas, the gaming lounge and a soon-to-be completed hotel. Parking situation, thumbs up!
The Garden Grill Restaurant and Bar itself sits between the gaming lounge and function rooms, but once we walked down the entryway, you’d think it was its own oasis that was not at all affected by the other businesses in the compound. The hum and buzz was entirely its own.
The Garden Grill Restaurant and Bar had recently completed its renovations and looked fresh with its high soft roof and green trimmings. Lighting was warm and dim, but not so dark you won’t be able to admire your meal.
On the busy evening we were there, a wide variety of tables were set up for a range of group sizes – couples, fours, tens and more. It was immediately obvious the Garden Grill Restaurant and Bar is very popular with large groups and families. Tables were set far enough apart that no one need eavesdrop on their neighbour unintentionally, and children could run back and forth from the playground without fear of hitting their heads on table corners. With the ample space, the Garden Grill Restaurant and Bar was also able to host several functions at the same time – on that evening, there were several large family groups, an 18th birthday celebration and a few Christmas gatherings as well.
The menu is pretty diverse, but its main attraction is the steaks. The SO and I had to negotiate which ones to choose. He was tossing up between the Porterhouse steak or the barramundi, while I was considering either the Porterhouse or the BBQ pork ribs. The steaks and ribs come with either beer battered chips or a baked potato, and either a garden salad or coleslaw.
The SO was very keen to start the meal with day’s special entrée – the seafood laksa soup. We both found the laksa a strange menu offering for what would essentially be a steakhouse type restaurant.
This arrived with 2 squares of toasted garlic bread that had been liberally spread with garlic butter. I love it when eateries are not stingy about making their garlic bread really buttery and garlicky, so this was a hit for me.
I had set my expectations low on the laksa soup, and was pleasantly surprised by how flavourful and rich it turned out to be. It definitely wasn’t spicy, which would makes it suitable for kiddies or those who are more cautious about their spice hits. The two types of noodles used were not the traditional round egg and rice vermicelli – I think they might’ve been wheat, but were thin and easy to bite through.
The SO was quite pleased with his Porterhouse steak, which had that lovely earthy char flavour from the grill. He was also happy that rather than the tiny bacon sand bits other places might use, the Garden Grill Restaurant and Bar use real crispy chopped bacon to top their baked potatoes. The coleslaw he found a little dry and left most of it behind.
When my pork ribs arrived, I was wished ‘good luck’ and got to digging in. The portion size was so big, the rib slab was separated into 2 to fit on the plate. A finger bowl with a small wedge of lemon was also supplied, but I didn’t need it. The meat didn’t take much encouragement to come off the bone, so I didn’t need to make a mess of myself. It took me awhile to finish my meal, save a few chips and the onion in my garden salad, but it was so worth it. This was a massive stomach filler and the thick smoky BBQ sauce made the ribs all the more moorish.
Unfortunately both of us were far too full by the end of the meal to have dessert, but had we the room, I might’ve gone for the Orange Fritters (Deep fried sweet fritters of orange and ricotta rolled in sticky orange glaze served with vanilla bean ice cream). How good do those sound?