Hogs Breath Cafe – Epping

23 Oct

Hogs Breath Café
Epping
http://www.hogsbreath.com.au/
18/10/13

I’m not sure what’s worse. The fact that at one point in my life I actually wanted to visit this place, or that I was actually expecting a decent meal from a chain restaurant.

Hogs Breath Cafes are everywhere, and in my misguided youth I had an ill-founded image of a grand dining experience – which is why when one opened up near me I was excited. I had never been and wasn’t sure what to expect.

 

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But hey, if you boast something like “Australia’s best steak is right here” it should be a good product regardless of how busy or new the place is – so my expectations were somewhat high.

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It was a Friday night and the place was packed with walk-ins being turned away. We even had to wait about 5 minutes for seating as they’d mixed up our booking.
This gave me time to scout the menu and figure out what I was going to order, being around 9pm I was starving and my eyes spied this.

3

If there is one thing I love as much as steak, its ribs – so what could be better than a half and half meal?
We got seated amongst an out back style décor filled with varnished wood, corrugated iron panels, number plates and everything else you would expect.

I placed the order of prime rib and pork rib duo. I was informed their signature “Prime Rib” (which is basically a Scotch Fillet) is slow cooked for 18 hours which meant I could not order it rare – so I settled for the next best thing, medium rare. I also had the option of vegetables or salad with chips, mash or a baked potato; I went with the standard chips and salad.

About 35 minutes went by, I waited patiently reminding myself it was a Friday and it was busy.

Finally it arrived.

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My heart sank.

Where were my grill marks on the steak? Where was my salad? The ribs looked like they literally just poured sauce on them after steaming them.
I cut into the steak; it was tender where there was fat, where there wasn’t it was borderline leather.

The Char was present for about 2 bites close to the thinnest edge with the beef having lost most of its flavour, I felt like I was eating a piece of roast beef.

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The inside was not medium rare, not even medium, it was medium well with no sign of seasoning.

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The ribs were no better, they were cooked well but other than that it was like eating flavourless pork, thank god they lathered it in BBQ sauce, even if it was horribly sweet and generic. It was better than the vegetables, water logged and bland.

It was definitely not worth the $40.

If you’re planning on dining at Hog’s Breath – I suggest you burn your tongue first, it might taste better.

How well it’s cooked (ordered medium rare, arrived medium well) – 2.5

Flavour (unseasoned roast beef) – 2

Tenderness (Slow cooking hell) – 4

Overall – 2.8

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5 Responses to “Hogs Breath Cafe – Epping”

  1. Bon Vivant October 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    Hey man, I love this website and the style of it all, I’m a restaurant enthusiast and I take the mission of hunting down a great steak very seriously indeed. I’ve been to Hogsbreath an innumerable amount of times at several different venues. I find it a great place to go if I need to take advantage of something akin to a KFC or McDonald experience. To me, Hogsbreath is not a great steak place but a joint that frequently attend nevertheless. Sometimes for a quick and convenient lunch and sometimes to take ma & pa, who are easy to please and like it very much. It’s not a place to be too critical about because the dishes are not designed to pass any critical review. I’ve learned not to expect anything other than reheated frozen food products and on occasion I’m pleasantly surprised. I can always rely on getting a very good grilled fresh salmon fillet (it’s very hard to fail fresh salmon fillet because all one has to do is flip it over when one side is cooked ) I sometimes draw a winning hand and get a pretty good $30 rib steak. I have had one or two serendipitously satisfying steaks there over the years. In the defense of the Hogsbreath proprietors, I must say that the worst steaks I’ve countenanced there were in most cases better than what I could have prepared at home. Most everything that Hogsbreath serves (their fries are a parody of potato) is aimed at those who are stepping up from McD’s and KFC, and to that aim they have successfully filled the void. I can recall engaging in a heated debate with a TV chef in the 1980s, his argument was that McD’s was the greatest ripoff in human history, my case was that McD provide a great service to the community. I thank you for your article on Hogsbreath, very very real, I feel as if I was there, once again

    • Adriel October 29, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

      Thanks Bon, I appreciate the feedback and your comment and glad that people are reading this blog. However, if you’re going to claim “Australia’s Best Steak” there needs to be some credibility. I do agree with you on the fact that they also do serve a purpose, but at the same time price wise for what you’re getting it is slightly horrendous ( I mean some pubs can do a great steak for $15-25).

      Cheers,

      Adriel

      • Bon Vivant October 31, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

        You are of course completely right Adriel, you had an abominable experience at Hogsbreath and your readers should be advised. I greaty appreciate your articles, you write naturally and beautifully, highly evocative. Incidentally, best recent steak experience for me was at Grill on the Hill High St Kew last Friday, 10/10, my companion told me the following day that the flavour, texture and aromatics were still in her palate and nose, a most memorable dining experience. My worst steak experience ever? Rockpool’s Southgate, tough and inedible, I left it behind 75% uneaten. Afer I cheerfully paid the bill, in full with a tip as I always do, the staff had the audacity to remind me of where I was, point out the bank of framed accolades on the walls and suggested that I take heed of the repute. Maybe they were right, maybe it was just a single bad steak

      • Adriel October 31, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

        I 100% agree with you on Charcoal grill on the hill, the steak there was the inspiration for this blog.

        Really? Not a place I’d expect to hear an overly bad experience from, I’ve been there 3 times (for the burger mostly) and while I’ve never had the steak it’s on my list. It’s a shame about the staff, I believe that every diner is important and should be treated that way, ESPECIALLY when a bad experience has been had (no matter how rare the event), so they have definitely gone about it wrong.

        Once again, thanks for reading, it means a great deal.

      • Jason Bundy November 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

        I have been to hogs breath loads of time and have never been disappointed only because I dont order the crap streak or ribs. 2 reasons… 1 over priced, way to expensive and 2. I know it wont be any good… When ever I go there I get one of there lunch specials. the smokie BBQ wrap, it has never failed me and is very filling and for $9.95 you cant go wrong. cheers

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