2505 Gold Coast Highway
Mermaid Beach QLD 4218
+7 5572 9411
Ever since they shut down the Sizzler restaurant in Doncaster (and all the other Sizzlers in Victoria) in the late 90s, my world was never the same. There were no more post-church buffet lunches with family friends, no cheese toasts, no make-your-own raspberry spiders and no antics involving putting salt and pepper in cold coffees when your parents have stayed at the restaurant past their welcome and wouldn’t stop talking, even after the staff have brought out the vacuum cleaners and wiped down the adjacent tables as a way of telling us to kindly fark off. Oh yes, we still had Smorgy’s. We still had Food Star. And if you lived in the eastside, we still had Volcano Joe’s. BUT NONE OF THEM HAD CHEESE TOASTS, friggin’!
So on my first trip to Goldie several months ago (well, first trip since the last one which was in 1999), I squealed with glee when I saw the Sizzler sign on the Gold Coast Highway en route Broadbeach. Man, I thought Australia’s favourite buffet place had been shoved under a rug along with peddle-pushers, Hanson and everything else that was bad from the 90s! I guess I was wrong – and I was happy about that too. So one afternoon, I decided to take Marty there for lunch in response to his very thoughtful and delightful dinner at Benihana. What a girlfriend, hah.
It was a particularly rainy day when we rocked up to the restaurant, which was surprisingly quite busy for a midweek lunch sesh. Those of you who have been to a Sizzler restaurant will know the concept – you can pay for the salad bar buffet ($17) which gives you access to whatever you want from the buffet tables, plus a serving of cheese toast (squee cheese toast!), or you can select a meal from the list of mains which include calamari and chips, steaks and more, all of which hover around the $15-20 mark. If you’re ordering a main for lunch, you only need to chuck in a few coins to gain access to the salad bar. As for drinks, unlimited soft drink, coffee and tea refills are available for $3.50. Marty and I decided that the mains surely ain’t worth paying for, so we decided to go the salad bar option each, plus the option to get unlimited soft drink refills.
When I was a kid, I thought the then-$10 salad bar buffet was the best thing ever. What do I think of it twenty years later? It’s horrible. I mean, sure, I wanted to go to this place purely to take the piss, knowing that it wouldn’t be fantastic, and at no point did I expect anything better. But when you have pastas that are soggy beyond belief, salads which are not at all fresh AND made with limp, frozen ingredients, and a tired dessert selection, you’re better off using that $17 on two Maccas meals that will guarantee a somewhat satisfying lunch for two days. One thing that I was actually looking forward to was getting a big handful of pasta, and pouring both bolognaise and carbonara sauce on top and then mixing them together. Yes, I know it’s weird but it was a ritual that I strictly adhered to as a kid. For some reason, though, they didn’t have carbonara sauce – only bolognaise and napoletana was available. Bummer. They did, however, still have wedges available which I grabbed by the dozen. As for the salads, well Toto, you know that you’re in Queensland when the salad options are as follows: prawn and almond salad; watermelon, feta and pine nut salad; chicken, mango and almond salad; prawn and Tassie smoked salmon; tropical coconut fish. I can’t say that any of them were particularly decent (again, crappy ingredients and devoid of freshness) though Marty didn’t seem to mind them.
Yay cheese toasts! Sadly, they were smaller than the ones we enjoyed back in the 90s – and they were extremely soggy. Funnily enough, they were probably the nicest things I ate during this meal.
We ate about two plates each (yes, of pretty much the same thing) before we decided that enough was enough. Soon, we were headed for the dessert bar. I played it like a good girl and stuck with the fruits, though I did indulge in a bit of vanilla ice cream.
And because we’re kids at heart (okay, Marty more so than I am), we did the whole let’s-put-ice-cream-in-our-lamb-and-beansoup routine. So we did. I mean, the lamb and bean soup was pretty disgusting and it was going to waste anyway, so why not have a bit of fun with it before it gets chucked out? And so we added a bunch of other nasty things in addition to the ice cream. I couldn’t remember what sort of stuff we put in (nor did I want to) but thanks to Marty’s elephant memory, we came up with a list: raspberry soda, coke, bread and butter pudding, salt, corn and a receipt (don’t ask). God, we’re so mature. And yes, we both dared each other to have a sip of the soup – and yes, it was as awful as it looks.
With my Sizzler craving finally quashed for good, we headed to Biggera Waters to buy some discounted exercise gear (Nike tights for $45 FTW!), resolving to never come back again.