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NOT: The Char Grill at Caxton Hotel, 38 Caxton St, Petrie Terrace

Often one of the top picks for Friday lunch for me and the boys in the office (due to geographical convenience and the fact that they sell beer) The Char Grill at Caxton Hotel is a Brisbane icon, price particularly around this time of year with State of Origin.  On my most recent visit however I was disappointed and uninspired…

 The steak industry is highly contested in Brisbane these days with pubs like the Breaky Creek, site The Norman, search The Morrison and The Normanby all trying to out-do each other on who can cook the best slab of cow.  And to be honest, they all do a pretty good job.  But when I’m paying serious cash for a small eye fillet, it needs to be better than ‘ok’ and the service that accompanies it (I think) should make you feel comfortable about parting with that hard earned cash! 

 The Big Dog and I were out for dinner to talk shop and whilst the alfresco area out the back of The Char Grill provided a pretty nice setting to do so, it lacked the vibe I’d expect from one of our inner city pubs and it all felt a little sterile.  Add to that the fact that our waitress hardly had a heart beat, let alone a personality, it rated very low on the banter scale (one which is oh-so key to one’s dining experience!).


 On the food front, the entrees were actually pretty tasty and deserve some credit.  The Dog had the chilli prawns Caxton style ($17.90) – banana prawns pan fried with fresh chilli and garlic, deglazed with a tomato concasse and fresh peppers served on a bed of jasmine rice.  This dish looked and smelled divine and I was jealous for a few minutes until my 10 oysters Kilpatrick ($26.90) arrived.  They were not-too-big, not-too-small and had a generous helping of smoky bacon and thick Kilpatrick sauce.


The Dog had obviously worked up an appetite after travelling from interstate, so he chose the New York sirloin and seafood combo ($33.90, house special) which was a thick slab of New York cut cow accompanied by a Moreton Bay bug and a king prawn drizzled (read: drowned) in a creamy hollandaise sauce.  His steak arrived medium-rare as requested but the meat was tough and to be honest it was all just a big, ugly mess.  The bug was still in its shell and the prawn still had it’s big beady-eyed head attached (logistical nightmare for consumption) – both plonked on the slab of meat and coated in this sauce that looked like it has some nuclear qualities (I’m sure it was reflecting light from the moon).  The thick cut chips looked oily and overcooked and added to the overall displeasing look of the dish.


I chose the 300g rib eye fillet ($32.90) medium-rare, with mushroom gravy and a side of chips and salad.  I had spent some time looking for a smaller slab of beef on the menu, but 300g is the minimum at The Char Grill .  I consider myself a steak lover, but 200g is about as much as this little girl can put away in one sitting so I knew there was no way I’d get through this dish.  When it arrived I adopted the same grimace as before; the presentation was messy and the chips oily.  It was more medium than medium rare and wasn’t a particularly tender cut which was disappointing.  To their credit the mushroom sauce was delicious.


I don’t expect these guys to do it like Kingsley’s or Cha Cha Char; after all this is a pub, not a fine dining restaurant – however, when you’re edging towards fine dining prices, it’s a different ball game and I don’t think The Char Grill team are match fit.  A twinkle in the eyes of the service staff wouldn’t go astray either; to quote a line from one of my favourite movies – ‘personality goes a long way’!


  •  The Char Grill at Caxton Hotel, 38 Caxton St, Petrie Terrace +61 7 3369 5544 

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  1. My partner often has lunch there on Fridays. He goes for the steak special which he says is big but great value compared to everything else on the menu. He’s tried the fish and won’t again.

    And what was that thing on top of the mushroom sauce?
    .-= Eat, drink and be Kerry´s last blog ..rajni stills =-.

    Posted by Eat, drink and be Kerry
    Twitter: eatdrinkbekerry
    | June 9, 2010, 4:30 pm
  2. Hate (yes strong word) that spammer Rani Stills who has got into my blog. Here’s my real last post.http://eatdrinkandbekerry.blogspot.com
    .-= Eat, drink and be Kerry´s last blog ..rajni stills =-.

    Posted by Eat, drink and be Kerry
    Twitter: eatdrinkbekerry
    | June 9, 2010, 4:33 pm
  3. Its funny – you visit a place and then find the good websites that tell you where you should have eaten. But I was staying at the YHA and the burger place in the Barracks was closed, so it was either the takeaway place opposite or the Chargrill at Caxton for dinner.

    I was actually happy with my meal – I liked that the New York Cut steak was quite hefty, found the chips to be delicious and that the salad was very plain – lettuce, tomato and onion. It didn’t hurt that I was there on a Monday, so half-priced mains were on order. The waitress who took my order seemed to do so as an afterthought, but the two guys who were on were good to deal with.

    Posted by Barry | June 9, 2010, 4:35 pm
  4. I’ve eaten at the Caxton Hotel several times over the last 5 years and I have found the food in the char grill to be delicious. I’ve found the steak is prepared and cooked just right. the chips are great and the gravy is to die for.

    I have also had other meals from the menu and find it all to be incredibly tasty. the menu changes quite frequently and for a “steak restaurant” they even offer a vegetarian menu with plenty of options.

    you can go on a Monday night and get half price meals and the food comes out in a timely manner even though it will be fully booked out.

    i have found the staff to be in general pleasant, but customer service every where is not what it used to be.

    All in all i frequent the Char Grill at least twice a month

    Posted by Sam York | July 5, 2010, 4:55 pm
  5. Hi Sam, thanks for your comments. I’ve been to the Char Grill a few times before and had a decent meal and service as well, but on this occassion however it was really disappointing. It’s good to hear that you’ve had consistently good experiences there because it boosts my suspicions that I just got them on a bad day. CazM.

    Posted by CazM | July 6, 2010, 8:42 am

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