In a prior life I had always thought that restaurants attached to most smaller accommodation types, such as the Cattleman’s, had been just like an add on. They provide a little breakfast, maybe off the shelf stuff with a little bacon and eggs. They also provide other meals, but it’s more so you don’t have to go out but can eat on site.
But since moving to Dubbo I discovered that this isn’t the case and these restaurants are a viable option for good food. So when ordering at the Cattleman’s last night I was looking forward to a good meal. As far as I knew it had a good reputation therefore I had hopes of having some tasty food.
The menu had a pretty good selection, a bit of chicken, a bit of fish, a decent pasta menu, and of course red meat. I was in the mood for some steak like product and with a name like the Cattleman’s I figured it should be their specialty. I was tossing up between the steak and the ribs, and had a lot of pressure to try and eat the 500gram steak. But at $45 I let my bank account decide against that one.
I, like the small tattooed man next to my left, went the ribs. He’s skinny so I figure he’s seen his fair share of ribs in the mirror so should know a thing or two about them.
They came with chips and “slaw” and I was looking forward to them based on that. I figure if you’re calling coleslaw slaw then you are about to impress me with some awesome American style ribs. I wasn’t without my concerns though as in some places ribs mean “you will not fit all these in”. But in others it clearly means “might wanna swing by Maccas on the way home for a top up.”
Then there was the wait, the small talk, the laughs, the stories, it wasn’t a bad wait actually. There had been some starters ordered for the table and I took the chance to try the Bruschetta. I rate it, it was a mix of warm tasty bread, oil, tomato, basil, salty goodness.
Mains were served in a timely manner and I was thankful we weren’t waiting forever as I was hungry. Meal size wasn’t too bad, I mean I wasn’t going to struggle to fit them in, but I wasn’t feeling a Maccas run coming on either. So I’m happy with my choice.
While waiting for those around me to be served I ate some of my chips. I believe that even if you’re a wait-to-all-are-served type person that anything you can eat with your fingers is ok to nibble on during this time. It’s not until you need to use a knife or fork that you are breaking this social etiquette.
What I tasted at this point was potato in it’s chip form with just a little too much disappointment. To be entirely fair they weren’t cold, but they weren’t hot either. They had definitely cooled off too much since being cooked. The lady to my right, who knows a good chip when she’s eating one, commented that she believed them to be frozen chips. We all know that there are places that you would say have yummy chips which probably use frozen chips, but this place needs to change their supplier. That is if they wish to impress the chip lovers of the world.
Next the slaw. Meh. I didn’t love it, it mainly just tasted like eating plain cabbage. There was some sauce on it but it didn’t add to it much. It was very tangy too, like a single tangy flavour.
Now for the main event. That ribby goodness. Mmmmm I couldn’t wait.
…aaaaaaand that taste of disappointment again. The ribs themselves had a decent amount of meat, and were cooked nicely. The meat fell off the bone but also had nice crispier bits on the end where the sauce had added to it cooking just right. But the taste of that sauce just let it down.
It was described by my partner in rib eating to the left as tasting like spaghetti sauce. I’d like to see that and raise it, adding that it also tasted like it had a good dose of your everyday BBQ sauce in it. It may not have been from a jar, but it certainly tasted that way to me.
Oh Cattleman’s. I wished and hoped for so much more. It wasn’t high expectations I went in with but high hopes and unfortunately didn’t find what I had hoped for. I wanted you to be better than this, I wanted to write a shining review.
So I enquired of the lady to my right what her thoughts on the scotch fillet steak were. Comparing it to the local Tavern and the steak from their specials board she said the meat was much better of course. But the mushroom sauce wasn’t as nice as she had at the Tavern.
The pork belly further down the table was given a firm tap and it just didn’t have the right sound of beautiful, crispy crackling. We all know that the first sign of a good crackling is a tap from someone with a well trained ear and I trust the ear that heard it. The listener was not the consumer of the pork, but I didn’t need to know anymore about it so left it at that.
As for food presentation, some things were done very well, yet others looked liked bistro meals.
So overall I give the Cattleman’s 2 off the shelf bottles of sauce out of 5.
Located within Cattleman’s Country Motor Inn and Serviced Apartments
8 Whylandra Street
Dubbo NSW 2830
02 6884 5222