Almost food from an Australian Roadhouse…

Excerpt from the diary of a drunken sailor. AKA Grazza McFilthy Mouth

The final day of the holiday. Back to Perth from Albany to fly out at a time that can only be referred as silly. And an introduction for my children to a milestone of the great Aussie road trip; the roadhouse buffet. Aka the baine marie. Aka the hell that the idea of decent food goes to after it dies.

The Bain Marie #1. A water bath. An invention of early alchemists, adapted by the classic fore fathers of modern cooking – the French. Used to heat/cook things (hollandaise sauce, parfait, terrine, egg custards, etc) gently.

slightly fogged up due to the sweaty juices, but you get the idea
slightly fogged up due to the sweaty juices, but you get the idea

The Bain Marie #2. Bastardized warming system used by the Australian roadhouse.

that's a better shot
the bain marie in all its glory

For those of you who have never been on a road trip through outback Australia and never sampled from the glorified Ho Chi Minh hotbox that is the Bain Marie, here’s some of what’s on offer…

The chiko roll. An Australian icon. Modeled on the Chinese egg roll and spring roll with thick pastry and a weird, globular (yes it’s a word) filling.

Corn jack. Similar to the chiko roll but with a globular corn-like filling.

Devil wings. Spicy fried chicken wings. Super tender due to the fact they have been sitting at 70C for four hours.

Chicken tenders. Crumbed and deep fried chicken tenderloins. Maybe there’s some chilli in there somewhere.

Various sausages. Crumbed, cheese filled, plain beef, kransky.

Lasagne topper. Shit gets proper weird here. A square of mince topped with béchamel and tomato sauce, crumbed and deep-fried. Yep. These also come in cottage pie toppers. A square of mince and gravy topped with a mashed potato type product (who am I kidding?), crumbed and deep fried. I wish I was joking.

Seafood stick. Crumbed or battered stick of some kind of soy product coloured with flecks of red to give it the very vague appearance of crabmeat.

Squid rings. I picture the process of making these as grinding up the whole squid, a magical machine not unlike something on a Looney Tunes cartoon somehow forming that back into rings, crumbing those rings and then a stint in the deep frier. Sensing a trend yet?

An array of pies and sausage rolls (possibly from the oven), toasted sandwiches, other random shit and of course hot chips.

note the animal bones in the back ground... probably held more nutritional vale then our lunch
note the animal bones in the back ground… probably held more nutritional vale then our lunch

Today I decided to live life a little closer to the edge (or increase my chances of spending the night on the edge of the toilet bowl), so I also ordered the chicken, cheese and mayonnaise toasted sandwich. The chicken could’ve come from any animal except, I think, a chicken. Excellent. Seba opted for the burger and Obi a sausage roll. Both were homemade and surprisingly quite good.


Lunch was consumed in the middle of nowhere then it was back on the road to Perth to find a hotel with a decent toilet I could get comfy on…

Bayger Burgers, Byron Bay

Bayger burger joint, Byron Bay

Yep. You see what they did there with the name? Very sneaky. Like little white trash kids sneaking into the big top circus when it rolls through town… Very sneaky indeed.

Bayger is another addition to the ever-growing family of new wave eateries modern society calls “the burger bar”. Local free-range meats, locally baked buns, gourmet salad and home made sauces. Effing awesome. I love this shit.

As soon as I looked at the menu though, I discovered a typo. I continued reading and discovered a few more typos. This annoys me on a menu. On a random assed food blog – that’s fine, but on a menu… People got spell check right? A big brother or sister? Something? (Just in case, I will recant my previous paragraph if I am informed that they are crazy hippies and intended to write “we serve our beef burgers with slightly pink center enchanting the flavour”. I didn’t notice the pink center enchanting the flavour while we were there, but that’s not to say it wasn’t going on…)

Buffalo wings came with no blue cheese sauce, which was kinda disappointing since we were gagging for buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce, and got them because the menu read “buffalo wings… with a side of blue cheese dipping sauce”. But our buffalo wings came with no blue cheese dipping sauce. Maybe should of told us at the start instead of shrugging it off with a “no we don’t have any of that”. But they were good fried chicken wings tossed in sweet chilli.

Onion rings were good. Could have had a slightly thicker batter though.

Burgers were great except they were missing the pickle they were cited as having on the menu. But they were great. Cooked medium, juicy, well-seasoned, squishy soft Turkish bun… Fantastic. Really good burgers just let down a little by small inconsistencies. But this is what I’m always talking about. In the hospitality game, no matter how big your restaurant, or how small your wiener penis willy hotdog stand, you need to have consistency. You need to give people the product you are telling them they will get. And do it well… and then, as Jesus said*, life shall be good for all.

It was, like, 34 bucks for two burgers, fries, onion rings, “buffalo wings”, and a house made juice which tasted like fresh lemon, rose water and sugar? Maybe like a middle eastern home made lemonade. Well and truly worth it if they could just iron out a couple of kinks.

*may not be an actual quote from Jesus.