I was quite fond of Outback Steakhouse as a kid - back in the early 2000's my family used to visit their first Malaysian outlet in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur from time to time for seemingly Australian food. But make no mistake - Outback is only Australian in theme, but is otherwise very much an American diner franchise. It seems like pretty mainstream stuff stateside, but in Malaysia both the pricing and the brand command a bit of a premium.
Over a decade on, Outback opened its 2nd Malaysian outlet in Nu Sentral, Kuala Lumpur. It's a little tucked away - you'll need to step out of the mall itself from the southern entrance facing Brickfields and turn left. A handy bunting down the row makes Outback's presence known. Strangely enough, there doesn't seem to be a way to access the restaurant directly from inside the mall itself, despite being a part of the building.
There's a bit of a bar-like ambience here - and the TV at the back seems to play sports channels all day.
While definitely leaner than before, much of the menu is the same as I remembered it with their signature starters, mains, desserts and bottomless soft drinks or ice lemon tea. Outback in Malaysia does not serve pork, but they do serve alcohol meaning they cannot obtain halal certification.
Mushroom lovers will be pleased with the Crispy Fried Mushrooms here.
We started off with the Crispy Fried Mushrooms (RM27.95) from the appetiser menu. This used to be called Bushman 'Shrooms previously, but it looks like they changed the name to something more straightforward somewhere along the way. Sounds pretty ordinary now - but the taste was far from it. Served piping hot around a spicy ranch dip, the mushrooms were crispy on the outside, but nice and springy on the inside. I'm not sure what was in the breading but it tasted pleasantly of onions. The mildly spicy ranch dip tied everything together in what is probably my favourite dish here.
The BBQ Beef Ribs (Half) weren't nearly as tender as expected.
Unfortunately, the BBQ Beef Ribs I ordered didn't fare so well. They came in Half (RM44.95) and Full (RM64.95) serving sizes so I opted for the former. The menu described this as tender and succulent and placed it as the first item of the Outback Specials. I wasn't expecting fall-off-the-bone perfection, but what came was instead rather tough and a little dry on the inside, making it difficult to remove from the bone. The BBQ sauce was fairly average and it came with a generous serving of fries. There were no greens to be found, though - they could have added a light salad to balance out the dish.
The New York Strip comes with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables.
My wife opted for the New York Strip (RM67.95), which according to the menu is Outback's most flavourful steak available (though the waiter did attempt to upsell us some more expensive options a couple times). Diners can choose the level of doneness for the steaks, so we went for medium. The steak came in 10 oz (about 283 grams) with sides of mashed potatoes and some grilled veggies. The steak was flavourful as described, though the menu's description may have been exaggerating slightly. Cut through, it turns out cooked a little more than medium but it was still pink enough inside. It was still juicy, with a bit of fat. The mashed potatoes were nice and buttery - the lumpy bits and shreds of potato skin made it feel authentic. The grilled veggies were average.
So there you have it - dinner at Outback Steakhouse. The food does seem a little overpriced (expect to spend at least RM40 for a meal; much cheaper lunch sets are available on weekdays), but the mushrooms were a real hit. I expect their other specialty steaks to fare pretty well too. From my memories of Outback in the early 2000's, I recall their pasta and chicken dishes being pretty safe bets as well so it'll be interesting to come back again and see how this has held up over time.