The Steakhouse Challenge – Not Quite Masterchef

This week I posted about the Two Kilometre Challenge, where we are seeking to buy most of our housewares and plumbing supplies, etc, from places 2kms from the front door.  This post is about a similar challenge – instead it’s about eating out at restaurants within 2kms of our front door.

And just what does Penrith offer, in a 2km radius?  Steakhouses.  Everywhere, steak.  And we are going to attempt to eat at every single one before we leave Penrith for the relative culinary variety of the Blue Mountains.  Here is the challenge.

1.  Silver Spur

First cab off the rank in the Riff was Sizzler, which is now no more (and, arguably, not a steakhouse, more a food trough) – which was replaced by a place called “Silver Spur”.

I’m not entirely sure what steak has to do with Native Americans, but it does in Penrith. It is situated between a Maccas and a KFC, and next to the Krispy Kreme in the Panthers’ carpark.

2. Outback Jacks

Next Steakhouse is the Australian attempt at an “Outback” franchise, Outback Jacks.

The restaurant has the distinction of being across the road from the now dubiously named “Centrebet Stadium” – or, as I still call it, Penrith Park. Outback Jacks promote themselves frequently during Panthers games – and members of the Panthers team were photographed taking the unique “icon” of the restaurant inside –

That rubber croc has been glued to the ceiling of the establishment, waiting to gobble up your steak that you left uneaten, no doubt.

3. The Outback Steakhouse

This odd franchise was initiated by and is wholly owned by American concerns – so, expect a lot of cheesy “Australianisms” in the menu.  In Penrith, the location, in the Panthers carpark (near the Silver Spur), used to contain that long unlamented Lonestar Steakhouse and Saloon, infamous for the embarrassing bootscooting birthday singers and barrels of peanuts near the bar.   The Outback Steakhouse is famous for many things, but two rather stomach curdling ideas.  One is the Bloomin’ Onion, an onion deep fried in batter…

as well as the American TV ads, with a supposed “Australian” – Jemaine Clement, from Flight of the Conchords

4. Osso, in Panthers

Amongst all of them, Osso Steak and Ribs looks by far the best option, steak wise – in terms of the cuts and the way it is cooked.  The prices reflect that, as well as the fact the Sydney Morning Herald did a pretty good story on them when they moved from their Lawson St address to inside the newly renovated Panthers.  It will end the Journey du Steak, because we would like to end it on a high note.  However, this introductory blog will end with the tackiest entry into the Penrith Steakhouse Pantheon.

5.  Hooters

When I drove past the Hooters’ sign a few weeks ago, I took it as a sign that it’s a good time to leave Penrith.  The most Orange restaurant in the world now has two operational outlets in Australia.

It’s even got itself, rather bizarrely, into Media Watch –

As my beloved says, going to Hooters will be just like watching a car crash – you know you shouldn’t look, but you know you want to.  She does, however, want to ask questions of the Hooters girls, such as:

1.  Was there a tape measure produced at your interview for the job?

2.  Do you dye your skin deliberately to match the colour of the logo?

3.  Do you have tofu on the menu?

4.  What is the capital of Bulgaria?

So, the challenge is a fairly simple one – go to each steakhouse, order a medium rare steak, see how it cooked, order salads (or tofu) and then assess the vibe of each place.

Wish us luck.  There will be updates as we go.  As well as me eating a Bloomin’ Onion.


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