Cuisine: American, BBQ
Location: Perth CBD – King St
One of the new additions to Perth’s ever expanding dining scene is the introduction of Old Faithful Bar & BBQ located on King St. It’s an American bar serving barbecued meats in a wide open spaced venue, a casual vibe with the hipster theme. It’s a very relaxed concept, go up to the counter (and on your way grab a serviette and cutlery), place your order, take a seat at the benches and wait while your meal is prepared and brought to you. You need to come here early otherwise the tables fill up and the lines are long. The menu offers up lamb leg, beef brisket, or chopped pig with a price per 100g so you can order as much or little as you want and that is served on a tray lined with paper with the sliced meats, slices of bread, some greens, along with any sides you may wish. You assemble the sandwiches yourself and enjoy. Or, you can choose from the BBQ sandwiches section and order sides or snacks along with that and it’s once again, presented in a large rectangular metal tray lined with paper. I don’t mind the casualness of the concept, but the metal trays seem a little tacky for my liking. In keeping with the casualness of the venue, they don’t take bookings.
I went for lunch with a bunch of workmates. After looking at the menu, we lined up and placed our order at the counter towards the back of the restaurant. Towards the front is the bar area so you have to line up twice to get your drinks which is counterproductive and not really helping anyone. After my visit to the US a year ago, I’ve been on the lookout for American styled venues, especially those offering BBQ meats or pulled pork, and was glad to see Old Faithful open up. It seems Perth is finally getting it’s share of American eateries popping up. However, I’ve heard mixed reviews about Old Faithful and they took quite some time to get their deep fryer in so I held off until now.
I chose the following items:
- Chopped Pig BBQ Sandwich – $11
- Pork shoulder, BBQ sauce, iceberg lettuce, pickles
- Chicken Wings at 90c each with a minimum order of 6 (I got the 6) – $5.40
- Corn Bread with maple butter – $4.50
For a start the pricing of the sandwiches is very reasonable. I had recently visited Pleased To Meet You and paid $9 for a small slider which was overpriced but it was delicious. For just over $20, I’ve got variety and a good quantity of food to keep me going. In the end I was really full and did offer a few chicken wings to my work mates. I started with the sandwich which is really a burger. I picked out a few pieces of the chopped pig to taste. It certainly has been cooked long and slow as it pulls apart, it’s reasonably moist which is a good sign as no one wants to eat dry meat, and it had a nice flavour, but I was expecting a greater intensity. After a few bites of the burger, it all flows together well. The pulled pork is married up well with the other ingredients and is quite tasty, but certainly didn’t blow me away.
I moved on to the chicken wings which had a decent amount of flesh, were fried ever so slightly, and then topped with a sweetish sticky sauce. The sauce is just a tad sweet not sickeningly sweet which is good and the chicken is tender, but in all honesty, they were very underwhelming. I expected more than the pedestrian chicken wings they served up. It’s average at best.
I really love cornbread so when I saw this on the menu I was very excited. I was served what looked like two muffins with a pretty thick disc of butter placed on top. It looked kind of sickening, as while I like butter, I don’t think anyone wants to eat that much! I took a bite and the butter isn’t too much for the bite so my apologies, but they could reduce the butter still. The butter did have a slight sweetness to it but after eating the cornbread, I was extremely disappointed. It was course, grainy and didn’t taste anything like what I was expecting. I most recently ate cornbread from one of the stalls at the twilight hawkers markets which also served pulled pork and barbecued meats. Their cornbread left this place for dead. The Old Faithful version was heavy, not light and airy, lacked sweetness, had a course grainy texture and was poor.
Old Faithful Food Review Summary
Verdict: The Old Faithful Bar & BBQ is one of Perth’s newest additions to the dining scene located on King St. Serving American barbecued meats in a casual relaxed vibe, it has a very different concept. Line up and order your meal, line up again at another counter for drinks, wait while your meal is prepared, and then be presented with a paper lined metal tray with your food. The casualness of the place is fine, the service is good, the metal trays are tacky. For a venue specialising in BBQ meats and American cuisine, this place is disappointing. I visited a similar type venue in New York which served slow cooked ribs, brisket and pulled pork that would blow Old Faithful out of the water. The chopped pig sandwich is a burger with well cooked pork which pulls apart, is moist, and combines well with the other ingredients. Even after I ate the burger at the end, it was still quite tasty but lacked an intensity of flavour I was so desperately searching for in trying to recreate my foodie experiences in the US. The chicken wings were pedestrian, and the cornbread was disappointing at best. The menu is very reasonably priced and they offer a good collection of American fare, but while the food wasn’t horrible they have failed to offer Perth diners what true American fare is. The Old Faithful is on to a winner if they can just execute their food in terms of flavour. I also asked my work colleagues what they thought and they weren’t particularly enamoured. Mixed reviews is being polite.
Recommendation: Worth Visiting Again
Old Faithful Bar & BBQ Restaurant Details
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