For those who aren't familiar with this Australian franchise, the establishments have the feel of a pub or American bistro. In Darwin Hog's Breath Cafe was initially on Mitchell St, CBD. Then it moved to Palmerston. Now a second store has opened in Casuarina.
Location: Shop 370, 247 Trower Road, Casuarina Square Shopping Centre Casuarina NT
Website: official website
Menu: see menu. A standard steak and sides is about $30 per person, and this is the average price of mains. Heavy meats such as rib racks are more expensive. Salad and burgers are cheaper at about $15-20. There's still all the classics but I notice there's a real focus on lighter and healthier options nowadays (throughout all the franchises, not just here).
Cheesy garlic & herb bread - appetising entree to share. Thick slices of bread with melted cheddar cheese on a rustic wooden board.
Boss hog pork ribs - "pork ribs, BBQ sweet chilli sauce, Hog Tail Fries or sweet potato wedges and rawslaw house salad or vegetables". Love the sweet potato wedges. Ribs were okay. Not as tender as I was imagining it to be and the sauce tasted like it was poured on afterwards rather than with flavours soaking through the meat.
Panko prawn prime rib - this is a standard cut of 300g steak with mashed potato and Caesar salad. Mushroom sauce (behind) is purchased at an additional cost. The slow cooked prime ribs are always, consistently tender. However, the steak is never raw enough for my tastes. The most raw you can order here is medium rare, and rarely is it actually medium rare. The thinner the cut of meat (for example if you get the 200g lite cut) the more overcooked it tends to be.
Boss hog rocky road sundae to share - "4 scoops of vanilla ice cream and 4 scoops of strawberry ice cream served on a pile of warm chocolate mud cake drenched in chocolate fudge sauce, marshmallows, strawberry topping, whipped cream, toasted coconut and 2 chocolate wafers." An absolutely huge dessert beyond your imagination. We only managed to work through about 1/4 of it with four people. Not the most delicate or delicious of desserts but a worthwhile experience.
Other: the lighting is better than the older branches. So far the Casuarina branch takes reservations only (no walk-ins). We had some friendly waitstaff. But I notice some of the waitstaff are the same as those that used to be in the Palmerston branch.
A note on the Palmerston branch - I get it that it's a busy place. But in the multiple times I've been there in the past two years, I've often had the feeling that the staff didn't want more customers. You would stand there for a long time before anyone would attend to you at the door, and when they did they would say there's a wait time of over an hour or two. But you have to stay there to wait there - you couldn't leave a name and come back in a little while. That doesn't interest you? Next time then.
Rating: 4/5 as far as Western food goes, I've always liked this cheerful and family-friendly franchise. We've had many birthdays and farewells here. The signature prime rib is not the high quality cuts you might expect from a proper steak place (eg. Char) but the 18 hour cooking method is unique and delicious. The prices has gone up over the years but there's still plenty of affordable options.