First of all, 4 words: what was I thinking.
Look, I haven't been to Sizzler for a Looo-ooong time (last time I went there was when Sizzler was still up-and-running in Jakarta's Pondok Indah Mall - twelve years ago. It was my birthday party with some of my friends). Then, Sizzler was THE place in Jakarta for great all-American salad bar, thick hormone-infused tenderloins, and fluffy waffles and pies with saccharine-sweet syrup just like dear Aunt Jemima made 'em.
Look, back then, Sizzler was awesome. I used to go there with my family at least twice a month. My dad hated it - said it was crappy, and back then, I couldn't understand why. I mean how could a place that lets you self-serve your own sundaes with UNLIMITED amount of M&M's topping possibly be crappy??
Fast forward 12 years later - Sydney, Australia.
Had a BRILLIANT idea to revive a family tradition by going to Sizzler. When I asked my brother if he wants to get a bit of nostalgia by re-visiting the very place that we used to look forward to visiting as children, all he said was "Sizzler? is that thing still around?"
Granted, my insensitive brother is not one of the most sentimental person around when it comes to nostalgia. However, he did agree to the proposal. Sydney has a couple of Sizzler restaurants, and the closest one from the city (where I live) is at Kogarah. This place is like the middle of nowhere. Local Sydneysiders may have heard of the area before, but for us expats, Kogarah sounds like it may as well be near Timbuktu.
So anyway, we went there, walked 20 minutes from the train station, and finally discovered a very American-looking restaurant. Seriously, this Sizzler outlet looks like it's been hand-picked from Anywhere, USA and dropped right at a Sydney suburb.
-> Cold buns. Beef: dry as a bone. VERY salty bacons (hello, high blood pressure and clogged arteries!). Totally inexcusable. I mean, it's HACKED FLESH for goodness sakes, how on EARTH is it even possible to make a DRY burger???
Continuing the story...
As we entered the restaurant, I felt uneasy straight away. For a start, it's filled with obese people constantly hovering around the salad bar. They don't even look like Australians. They REALLY looked like Americans, with their oversized novelty tees, loud sweaters, and trucker caps. And oh, don't forget their equally obese children gobbling up some chocolate sundaes with mountainous amount of M&M's topping.
Look, I'm not saying that I'm skinny, but these people really ARE big. Seriously big. And they don't eat their food, they INHALE their food with wondrous speed. My brother and I got full just by looking at their mounds of food. They're really serious eaters. I turned to my brother, and asked him, "My goodness, did we look like these people when we used to go to Sizzler all the time back home??"
My brother answered, "No - don't be silly. We used napkins when we slurp our spaghetti and eat our sundaes. But I kind of understand why dad hated this place now..."
Oh, dad...bless his heart, it must've been tough on him.
-> It's cold, sad, and DRY. The only redeeming part is that I liked the bite-sized calamari. Australians tend to serve those hugeee slices of calamari rings that's just damn hard to eat. Don't you hate oversized calamari rings? I mean, it's not like you can BITE through calamari rings - it's way too chewy and you can't bite it off against the grain.
BTW, the salad bar was HORRIBLE.
Processed chicken, soggy pastas, artificial blue cheese dressing, watery ice cream, bland pumpkin soup. HUGE Croutons the sizes of TEXAS (yeah, like those big people would be stupid enough to fill up on BREAD). And the pièce de résistance...the NASI GORENG SALAD. Sweet Jesus, I can't even imagine how WRONG that is - on so many levels.
...and oh - they put RAISINS on the nasi goreng salad.
By all means, I'm not judging American cuisine here - but I can't help but be reminded of how BAD American junk food can be. No wonder Sizzler has been ridiculed everywhere. It's one of the many faces of obese America.
Now that's one less family tradition that won't make its way to MY family in the future.
I just hope my kids would appreciate going to Sushi Tei or Tonkichi because that's where I'm taking my kids for 'fun weekend brunch with daddy' in the future (mmm...gourmet...).
Man, they're going to have a SUCKY childhood, aren't they...
*come on son, eat your wakame salad with yuzu dressing!*
*No, dad, I want chocolate sundaes with M&M's!!!*