The Lions Pride Family Restaurant Dubbo
I give The Lions Pride 5 still pink chickens out of 10.
The Lions Pride Dubbo used to be located in a standalone building that suited the feel of the meat focused food. It was a big country style place that you associate with steakhouses and the like. But now they’re located within the Countryman Motor Inn.
Unfortunately this means it has lost a lot of it’s atmosphere and now feels very much, well, like a motor inn restaurant. Nothing special but just a place to eat while on the road.
They do have a few booths which if you get one feels a little more comfortable.
I had heard a little about The Lions Pride before going and was very tempted to get the ribs. A big meaty, messy, rib meal, yeah that sounds great.
But our waitress informed us of a special they had on as we were there on the night of the NRL State of Origin. It was a platter with ribs, chicken wings, nachos, and a pork roll. All for only $15!!
I ummed and ahhed about getting it as it wasn’t a standard menu item. Therefore would blogging about it be worth it.
But then I thought no, I will get it.
So here’s my theory.
Firstly it had the ribs, a standard menu item that I wanted anyway so that’s a positive. It had nachos, which they have on their menu as an entree and it had the chicken wings which again are on the menu as a side.
So these 3 items should, in my mind, be as good as they make them any other time.
Plus you get a bonus pork roll. Although this isn’t a standard menu item I honestly believe anything you serve in restaurant should all be to the same standard. If you add a special dish then you don’t get to drop your quality standard but it should be as good as any other dish.
If you reduce the price too making it seem like a bargain, this too doesn’t mean you drop your standards. It’s a weeknight special to get the people in. They won’t return if it isn’t as good as any other dish on your menu.
Not to mention if they get a bargain and enjoy the dish they might hang around, have a few more drinks, maybe eat a dessert, so it’s a win.
Therefore at this stage I’m more than confident that I’m getting a true representation of the Lions Pride.
It’s worth mentioning that we were there fairly early and that there were only a couple of other tables with people at them.
So I order it and a plate of their Cheesy Bacon Chips with Garlic Mayonnaise as a entree to share.
I didn’t love them. The bacon could have been cooked more for one, it tasted like it was mostly just warmed up. They were okay but nothing worth blogging about… yet here we are…
But there was still mains to come.
The others got served first.
Firstly the young lady had ordered the chicken.
Do I need to talk about presentation here or are we all on the same page in that it could be improved?! A fair bit.
At the end of the meal I asked how it was, she told me she enjoyed it. I was curious as to why she had left some of the chicken on the plate and asked her about it. To which she told me that it wasn’t cooked, it was still pink.
I couldn’t believe that. At least it was juicy?! Nahhhhh there’s no talking that up.
And for the gentleman, a big old serving of steak.
He really enjoyed his meal. But this led to an interesting conversation on the cooking difficulties of a steak with a bone running through it.
He was saying how the outside was cooked well whilst the inside meat running along the bone was cooked far more rare. The gentlemen eating it explained how this was expected as the bone surely has an impact on it.
Now I’m not a chef, at all. Plus the fact that I don’t seem to eat many steaks whilst dining out but usually opt for another option. So you can see I’m no Dr Steak Cooker.
Yes I can see how the bone would have an impact, especially if the bone was really cold and therefore sucked heat away from the meat during the cooking process. But surely there is a way around this, at least to lessen the impact of the bone. Maybe even just cooking from room temperature and not straight out of the fridge would overcome a lot of this. I don’t know…
Anyway, I’m not trying to find errors, just putting it out there for you to pick up and process however you wish.
Bottom line. He likes this place and he enjoyed it.
Then there was me.
This is what I was served.
Let’s break it down…
Good pork crackling. Well done.
The Ribs. I must admit there was more meat on there than I thought at first, and from the top it fell off the bone. But underneath it had this solid skin that held them all together that I gave up trying to cut. Plus if I did get it to cut I’m sure it wouldn’t be enjoyable to eat.
The sauce on them. Nothing special. Tasted like something you could buy off the shelf.
Next the Chicken Wings. I’m not sure if it was the same sauce as the ribs but it did taste very similar if it wasn’t. Also it had no spice, I know I wasn’t told it had spice but with wings I’d thought there’d at least be a hint of some spice.
The nachos were fairly plain to be honest. Not much else to say about them. They taste like they look.
Lastly the pork roll. As soon as I picked it up I knew part of it was inedible. One end of the bun was solid, like it had been exposed to the air for too long and had gone stale. The pork was 2 or 3 slices of identically cut/thickness pieces. I’m not sure if the chef has mad knife skills but the way it was cut reminded me of roast pork you’d get in the deli section of a supermarket.
It wasn’t a pork roll and gravy that you couldn’t get enough of. You had plenty after a couple of bites.
Overall the meal tasted like it was cooked at home by someone who doesn’t even have a spice rack let alone a commercial kitchen. I’m not meaning to sound too harsh but it really lacked flavour and was rather bland.
It was served on a plastic platter too. That felt weird to eat off.