Aussie dishes, decor rate thumbs up Restaurant: The friendly, festive Boomerang is a winner in Federal Hill.

December 21, 1997|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,SUN RESTAURANT CRITIC

Remember that scene in "Crocodile Dundee" where Dundee fixes an authentic Australian meal for the woman (blackened alligator on a spit, yams, grilled slugs) and then says something like, "Actually, that stuff tastes terrible" and opens a can of chili for himself?

Well, you won't want to open a can of chili if you try the authentically ethnic food at Boomerang, Baltimore's new Australian pub. But you might want to order instead the Port Philip Bay fillet, a tender piece of beef as big as your fist, topped with fried oysters and a creamy red-pepper sauce.

I'm as adventuresome an eater as anyone; but there's the sweetest picture of a kangaroo on the menu, right near the kakadoo stew ("cubes of tender kangaroo and beef") and the Boomer fillet of kangaroo Polynesian. Still, a job is a job. I remind myself that as cute as little lambs are, there's nothing better than a loin lamb chop. Kangaroo, however, has the texture of chicken livers and none of the flavor -- at least when it's fixed Polynesian style. Thumbs down.

The good news is that the other Aussie food is pretty decent. "Dishwasher soup" is a down-under version of French onion soup. Split pea soup with a meat pie floater is wonderfully smooth and flavorful. The meat pies are imported from Australia, our waiter tells us. To be authentic, we should open them up and pour ketchup in them. We pass -- the soup makes them moist enough. Noosa-style shrimp have a brown garlic sauce that's oddly reminiscent of Chinese food, but works well enough over pasta. And the shrimp are fine.

Still, what we enjoy most seems pretty American, like that gorgeous piece of beef. A first course of battered and fried artichoke hearts, served piping hot with butter sauce and a bit of grated cheese, is nothing short of spectacular. Oysters baked with spinach and finished with bearnaise also please us. Desserts are made in house, the best one being a super bread pudding that's more custard than bread.

If all this sounds like more food than you might want, Boomerang does offer a separate light-fare menu; and there's plenty of bar food to be had.

But in spite of the kangaroo and other native food, what sets Boomerang apart from other bars in the area is not so much the food but the decor, which is eye-popping. The pub has opened in an empty bank building, with a high ceiling, huge windows and a mezzanine.

The walls are covered with extraordinary murals of the outback and the Great Barrier Reef. Giant boomerangs in festive colors separate tables on the mezzanine. Add to that wonderfully friendly service delivered in the best of all possible accents, mate, and you've got yourself a live one here.


Where: 1110 S. Charles St.

Hours: Open daily 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Prices: Appetizers, $2.95-$8.50; entrees, $9.95-$21.95; major credit cards.

Call: 410-727-2333

Pub Date: 12/21/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.