Gourmet Diaries: Steak and the Citi

OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - August 15, 2013 - 12:00am

Have you been to Outback Steakhouse lately?

Well, I did and was impressed with the resto’s minor facelift, which definitely brightens up the place.

At the main dining area, new lighting fixtures were installed, the floor carpet was replaced with warm wood, the black leather cushioned seats were changed with creamy beige and brown fabric, while some booths were removed to make room for more tables and a more open seating space. The bar was also updated with a colorful mural and subdued lighting.

Outback Steakhouse puts on display the spices they use to season their steaks in the “17 Signature Spices” wall. Stored in glass containers with tin lids, the spices include unique peppers — chosen from global markets — and blended select herbs and spices.

“This is the new store template of Outback International, which means all Outback Steakhouses here and abroad now have a uniformed look. We actually planned to transfer to the newly renovated Glorietta 2 to showcase this, but then we realized that Outback Steakhouse is already a landmark here (at the corner of Glorietta 4). So instead of transferring, we decided to just renovate the place,” explains Dona Fernandez, marketing manager, Outback Steakhouse.

Amid the renovation, Outback Steakhouse managed to retain its unique Australian charm; the mood is relaxed and casual.

Steak to one

Outback Steakhouse specializes in high-quality, uniquely seasoned steaks. Here, all steaks are hand-trimmed, USDA Choice, and aged up to 27 days for tenderness.

If you’re a first-timer, Victoria’s Filet is a must try. Weighing six ounces, it’s the most tender and the juiciest thick-cut filet on the menu. Also, take advantage of Outback Steakhouse’s Steak With Me — limited time offer (LTO) specials — which is offered until September only.

Indulge in Grilled Peppercorn Strip, a 10-oz. thick-cut New York Strip (P1,199) steak cooked over open flame. The rich red wine demiglace enhances the flavor of the meat encrusted with crushed black peppercorns.

Rubbed with the resto’s special herb seasoning, the 10-oz. Herb-Crusted Prime Rib is a steal for only P1,449. Slow-roasted and hand-carved to order, the rib is served with traditional au jus and your choice of two freshly made sides. At Outback Steakhouse, everything is made from scratch using quality ingredients.

“Diners who order any of the LTO items can have a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon for only P275,” notes Fernandez.

Outback Steakhouse tries to come up with LTO dishes every quarter so their regular diners won’t develop taste fatigue.

“It’s also our way of testing the water as the fast-moving dishes will then be part of our regular menu,” explains Madeleine “MM” Guardino, managing partner, Outback Steakhouse.

For example, the crispy shrimp Caesar was offered for a limited time only, but due to popular demand, it stayed on the menu. Drizzled with a combination of Caesar dressing and balsamic vinegar reduction, the fresh romaine heart (cut in half) is topped with crispy baby rock shrimp tossed in Asian chili sauce, fresh tomatoes, and Parmesan. It tastes so good even kids like it!

Aside from the LTO, Outback Steakhouse also offers the Weekday Lunch Specials for office workers and students on a budget. For P199, one can have any of these two filling meals: pan-seared fish in pesto linguini or the chicken fried chicken.

Save as much as 37 percent off when you order the Victoria’s Filet (from P949 to P599), or enjoy a 15-percent discount for a serving of the BBQ Pork Ribs (from 649 to P549).

Citi dining

To thank their loyal customers, Outback Steakhouse has partnered with Citi in its Citi Dining Privileges program. It gives Citi cardholders perks at select dining places which they frequent.

The Citi Dining Privileges program for Outback Steakhouse has two phases.

“During the first phase, from August 15 to September 14, Citi cardholders enjoy a 30-percent discount at Outback Steakhouse. Then from September 15 to October 21, Citi cardholders get 15-percent off, plus an additional five-percent discount during lunch (between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.),” explains Bea Teh Tan, Citi Philippines consumer business manager, who can’t get enough of the crispy shrimp Caesar salad.

If, for example, a diner finds a better deal than what Outback Steakhouse offers, Citibank is willing to make up the difference.

“But I doubt if they’ll find something better than this,” says Tan with an impish grin.

The promotion is valid for all items on the Outback Steakhouse menu except for the Weekend Lunch Specials.

According to Tan, Outback has been a long-time partner of Citi even during its Bistro Group days.

“This is the first time we’re exploring something new with Outback Steakhouse now that they’re  operating independently,” she adds.

“Based on our records, majority of our customers are Citi credit cardholders. And with Citi Dining Privileges, they can truly savor the joys of dining at Outback and have the most rewarding cards in town,” enthuses Fernandez.

* * *

Outback Steakhouse has branches at Glorietta 4, Makati City, 729-8458; Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa, 772-1844; and in Eastwood, Libis, QC., 634-3801 and soon to open at The Fort.

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