38 Macaulay St, Coorparoo
Last Friday night, I did something that should speak volumes about the dining selection in Toowoomba. We drove all the way to Brisbane to have dinner, before driving all the way back (about 3hr return journey). It's not just that there aren't many restaurants around here to begin with, the quality/price is just not competitive compared with what Brisbane has to offer. Not only that, I just haven't been to anywhere new and exciting in so long (evident by my lack of new posts) that I HAD to.
I chose Carolina Kitchen because I'd heard so much about it. It carries a lot of hype in the food blogging world. I've seen mentions on Twitter and posts on Urbanspoon. Southern American food is something I don't have great exposure to but completely appeals to me (hearty soul food... how could it not?) Mochi went with her friends a while back and claimed it was good.
She had warned me that the restaurant was located randomly in a very residential part of Coorparoo. She wasn't wrong there.
When we walked up to the restaurant, I was very taken aback. For one thing, calling it a 'restaurant' is stretching it. It's basically a takeaway store and a small one at that. There are a few tables inside but they were very competitive when we first got there. I think it's a miracle we got a table at all (in fact, we ordered takeaway, assuming we'd have to eat in the car, but another diner vacated just in time).
I had expected a real Southern-style diner (kinda like Sylvias that was featured on Australian MasterChef) but instead, it's a takeaway shop that sells some food items that could be considered Southern.
Being very hungry and curious, we ordered a smattering of everything: ribs, wings, fries and a chili dog.
The fries arrived first. They are crisp shoestring fries with a bit of sour cream, cheese and chili sauce. Byron hated these because he thought they were over-cooked and too thin. I love thin fries and especially love crispy ones so I thought these were perfect.
Buffalo wings with a blue cheese dipping sauce
Next came the wings. The wings had an alright flavor - nothing stand out. They weren't super juicy but then again, they weren't dry either. I did like the cheese sauce and ended up using that to dip my fries.
The chili dog came next. The appearance underwhelmed me and indeed, this was something that Byron wanted to try but I didn't care much for. It ended up being the tastiest order!
Chili dog interior
It was a very simple hot dog with a soft bun, mustard and a squishy chili sauce but it tasted sooo good.
Aunt Lilly Mae's BBQ ribs
Finally, our ribs arrived. This was the part I was looking forward to the most but unfortunately it was a let down for me. I mean, they weren't terrible but my expectations were quite high and they weren't even close to meeting them. The sauce was just like plain BBQ to me, and too sweet for my palate. The ribs themselves... it seemed like the flavor hadn't penetrated into the meat and was just sitting on the outside? They weren't very tender/melty either. I've definitely had better ribs out (The Smoke beats this hands down). Heck, I know I've made better myself!
I wouldn't recommend Carolina Kitchen except maybe for their hotdogs. In my opinion, its the perfect example of somewhere that's been brutally overhyped. If I had zero expectations of this place, I might've thought 'yeh... it's alright' but as it was, I felt like I wasted my trip. Sorry guys!