Uluru! On Duxton Hill


Received an SMS from Mia sometime ago saying that she saw a interesting new steakhouse on Duxton Hill and that I should check it out. This blog, as one or two people know, is very far from being a font of knowledge of exciting new places to eat, so any recommendation is welcome.

However, as a rule, we do not visit an establishment at least 6-9 months after it’s opening. Like wine, this blog finds that eating establishments do better when given a certain amount of time to develop it’s flavours and character.

Then again, sometimes this blog and his friends have nothing better to do on a weekend and when a Pescavore points out a new steakhouse, you can’t help but feel intrigued.

We didn’t know the name of the establishment at that time because Mia forgot. What Jeremy found out was: “take the cab all the way up Duxton Hill till you see a barrier. It’s the first restaurant on the left”.

The signage outside the restaurant was cryptic and I had no idea it whether the first establishment on the left was a restaurant or a bar, much less a steakhouse. Fortunately, a guest taking a smoke-break outside was kind enough to tell me that it’s a steakhouse.


The decor is simple (which I like) and I sat down to find that Jeremy has already negotiated corkage. The restaurant was about 80% full which is pretty good considering it’s in the quiet part of Duxton Hill. Even then, the service was pretty solicitous as I pulled out my wine bottle along with my camera. Since corkage was charged, we decided to have the full service of decanters and proper stemware which Uluru! was more than happy to provide.

The menu, in a handsomely printed booklet, was written in the usual off-beat-Crocodile-Dundee style that left no doubt that this is an Australian joint. Crikey. Of course, the name “Uluru” is a big hint. It named after the “Uluru/Ayers Rock” tourist attraction which means, in their native tongue, “What is that big white idiot pointing at now?”

European Explorer: “Oh I say, what is that big rock over there?”
Aboriginal Guide: Uluru?

Quite possibly, it could also mean “Your finger, you fool”. Fair Dinkum.

It was a difficult decision, trying to choose from a rather large selection of soups, starters, mains and desserts. London to a brick, they all sounded really good. Since I love tomato soups, the smoked garlic and tomato soup was an easy choice but I was torn between the ribeye and the Kangaroo steak.

Mae West once said that when faced with two evils, she’ll choose the one she’s never tried before. This blog has tried Kangaroo steak before and has yet to find one that he can cut through without the use of a saw. This why there are no “Dead Kangaroo” societies. On the other hand, good ribeye steaks are not easy to find either. And because hope springs eternal, I went for the Kangaroo steak.

The smoked garlic and tomato soup was every bit as good as it sounded in the menu.


Creamy, comfortable tomato with a smoky garlicky mouth-filling finish; this bode well for the dinner. Until the steaks arrived. I ordered field mushrooms and baked beans as sides to my Kangaroo steak. It took awhile for me (and Jeremy) to register that the little row of greenery were the sides and not garnishings. We were as surprised as stunned Mullets. Strewth!


Jeremy’s Sirloin was excellent. Nicely cooked with a good beefy texture and taste. This was why I did not immediately send my Kangaroo steak back when it started to bleed profusely as I cut into it. Naturally, the loss of blood and fluids left the steak hard and as dry as a dead dingo’s donger.

I requested to see the Chef. He was a very young fresh-faced man who looked stunned (as a bloody Mullet) as I explained that he should let the Kangaroo steak, like all meats, sit for at least 12-15 minutes for the juices and blood to re-distribute.


Like the Rolling Stones who could not get any satisfaction, I gave in and ordered the ribeye steak. This time I ordered fries as my side dish in hopes that because it is hard to use potatoes as a delicate garnish, they would be forced to give us a bit more. The ruse worked.


My first reaction, upon biting into a fry, was to look at Jeremy and say “vegetable oil”. The fries were not cooked through and while it was crisp on the outside, it was soggy and full of vegetable oil inside.

How this can happen, we surmise, was that in a rush to cook the fries, a microwave was used to defrost the potatoes which were then plunged into the deep fryer whose oil was not hot enough. Hence the lumpy, floury, soggy vegetable-oil tasting interior with a crisp outside.

On some of the fries, you can actually see the line where the potato was not completely submerged in the cooking oil.

Dinner, more or less, ended there and then for us.


On the balance, we must say that we really enjoyed the dessert and the service.

This is why this blog does not like to visit newly-opened restaurants because they need time to get in the groove. This reminds me of the time when Zambuca was not ready for prime-time and yet a restaurant reviewer insisted on coming in and reviewing the place. Needless to say, the review was bad and it took Zambuca a long time to recover.

I find that it is mean-spirited of reviewers to insist when the restaurant was not ready. It puts the restaurant in a difficult position as to refuse a restaurant critic is not good public relations.

As for Uluru!, if I were to use a single word to describe the place, it would be “incongruous”. From the entrance that looks like a bar to the handsomely-bound menu written in Strine (Australian Slang) while using avant-garde typography to the artful plating (I am being kind here) with the side dishes, Uluru! tries to be classy yet down-to-earth, back-in-the-bush Aussie. This is a schizophrenic combination that no amount of time can help. A quick fix would be to re-write the menu, removing the Strine.

Nevertheless, Jeremy and I had a wonderful time there as the weather was cool and the restaurant opened it’s doors to let in the pleasant evening breeze in. The service was enthusiastic if a little awkward and I felt that the Chef needs a little more experience and his team more training (the Pastry Chef is to be congratulated though), especially if they hope to command such a pricing. There is a potential for Uluru! to be a great place for steak, but not just yet.

And for goodness sake, instead of hiding it behind the door, put the chalkboard, stating that Uluru! serves food, outside.

Uluru! is at 40, Duxton Hill.


Posted on 21st Jan 2008 in Food and Drink, Meat, Western


There Are 7 Comments


IceCubeJunkie commented on January 21, 2008 at 1:38 am

Oh my..!! i thought those were garnishing too..!! muahahaha!!! that would be shocking to me too. 🙁


LiquidShaDow commented on January 21, 2008 at 10:27 am

I walked by on the way to The Universal a couple of weeks back and I thought it was just a bar. At what weight, are their cuts of beef?


Ivan commented on January 21, 2008 at 2:35 pm

@IceCubeJunkie: Yup. We were pretty amused at the servings. 😉

@LiquidShaDow: The ribeye starts at 200g with the option to upgrade at about $X per 100g (can’t remember exact figures). I think the sirloin is the same.


LiquidShaDow commented on January 22, 2008 at 9:52 am

Thanks Ivan.


ivn commented on January 23, 2008 at 10:08 am

No problems. Have fun!


Noah commented on May 13, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Looks like the chef took your advice about letting meats sit 12-15 minutes –allowing the meat to “cool down and relax”. Read the review in Today newspaper.



Ivan commented on May 15, 2008 at 12:32 am

@Noah: Thanks for the update. I have to disagree with Eveline Gan on Wagyu being the “King of steaks” though but it’s nice to know that the restaurant is doing it’s best. While no mention was made on the serving portion of the sides, hopefully the signage has improved too.

Post A Comment

The comments are closed.


Recent Comments

cincymetal.com: ?hhis is vital a? you would certainl? nnot want a pet dog entrance do?r to open...

Rexic: Would have agreed with you but then I saw Pontian wanton mee with nacho cheese...

ivan: Thanks! I just think it’s a tired argument that doesn’t make sense.

Bugger: Btw, kacang puul looks amazing!

Bugger: Hear! Hear! So called “authenticity” is a great hurdle to emergence of new...

MervC: I like they way they bring out the massive chunk of tuna, and the great knife skills,...

ivan: Yes you are. 🙂

MervC: Look like Hashida Sushi. Am i right?




Cha Xiu Bao

Chubby Hubby

Makansutra Forum

My Inner Fatty

Nibble & Scribble

NYT Diner’s Journal

Only Slightly Pretentious Food

Serious Eats

Tamarind and Thyme

The Girl Who Ate Everything

The Wong List


View Stats