kelly's bar and grill

Having heard so much about Kelly's Bar and Grill and how they dish out the best ribs in town with a magnificent city view, even beating my all time favourite Hurricane's at Bondi Beach that serves humongous juicy pork ribs, I decided I have to try it for myself one day.

And so our group of four made a last minute phone reservation to request for a table preferably with a view to which we got a response "You must be joking" which we did not care much for, before trooping down to Bondi Junction after an exciting day at the races. We did get a rather decent table not too far from the edge where we could see part of the city skyline despite the lack of enthusiasm from the server receiving us at the entrance in giving us what we wanted.

This complimentary bread was served promptly after we sat down. It was warm, fluffy and soft, exactly the way I like it; I rarely ever touch bread but in this instance, I helped myself to a generous portion of this weirdly shaped bread. Talking about the shape, we didn't quite know how to cut it equally into four and we had the butter knife hovering above it for a few seconds while we contemplated the number of shape configurations possible...

We ordered this deep fried camembert cheese with cranberry sauce to start with. It was disappointing to the max and actually tasted like something you get in a frozen pack off a supermarket shelf that you just pop into the deep fryer. I also had a serving of french onion soup that was really just lots of onions thrown in a beef stock and brought to boiling point. They must have forgotten to let the onions caramelise in their haste to serve it; the onions were definitely not brown. And to my horror, there was neither cheese nor croutons in it!

Not wanting to pass a premature judgement as we can't really assess a grill restaurant by its FRENCH onion soup, we awaited our mains eagerly, hoping to be wowed. Three of us ordered ribs - both pork and lamb while one decided on a T-bone (cooked rare) instead.

Here's the T-bone with chips and onion rings. I attacked the chips first; it was good. That slightly spicy chilli powder sprinkled all over greatly enhanced the taste of the hot chips. I had a few bite-sized pieces of the steak and wasn't impressed. In fact, as I bit into these bits, I remembered vividly how tender, juicy and tasty the rump steak I had at Hurricane's was and couldn't bring myself to ingest any more of these rare (but had large sections where it was more blue than rare) and rather dry and extremely chewy T-bone.

Here's my pork ribs with baked potato and onion rings. I ordered an additional sauce - Monkey Business which is a tangy BBQ sauce - for dipping into. Due to my smaller appetite these days, I asked for a small serving of the ribs instead of the regular or large so I cannot really comment on the size of those ribs compared to Hurricane's famously ginormous ones.

I first tried the baked potato. It was just simply baked potato. Nothing extra; no herbs, no nothing although there is a small serve of sour cream on the side. This plain old baked potato tasted normal, like what I have at home all the time anyway.

I barely touched the onion rings because they pale in comparison to my dining companion's tasty chips. Finally I held a piece of rib gingerly between my thumbs and index fingers of both hands and sunk my teeth into it. Tried as I did to will the formation of thought bubbles such as "wow that's great!", "Yums!" or "I'm in heaven!", all I could muster was "Oh the sauce is ermmm... not bad."... ... ... the number one gripe I had was that the meat was too dry. You cannot claim to have the best ribs in town if you can't even get the fundamentals right which is preserving the juicyness and tenderness of the meat itself. Everything else, the sauce, the size, the presentation, the sides, etc is secondary.

Even the view didn't quite compensate for the disappointment in the food and service quality. I am now left with an unsatiated craving for a plate of quality good tasting ribs and a deep regret in choosing Kelly's over Hurricane's when considering our dining options on the day.

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