Great food at Pialligo Estate Restaurant
Finding a good restaurant in Canberra for Saturday lunch is a little difficult as the majority of the ‘top twenty’ are closed. I found a great website (http://visitcanberra.com.au/restaurants/find) which lists the best restaurants in Canberra so decided to go to lunch there on a Saturday with two dear friends.
Pialligo Estate is set on eighty-six acres along the Molonglo River and is very easy to find as it’s near the airport and also close to the city centre. The Estate has it’s own market gardens, fruit trees and a vineyard and fresh produce is picked from the market gardens daily. I was very interested to read that the landscape was designed by acclaimed landscape designer Paul Bangay (great designer whose books I have bought).
Walking to the entrance of the restaurant you reach two huge copper doors; a lovely way to enter the restaurant. Then once inside you are greeted by very friendly staff who offered me the relaxing chair near the fire whilst waiting for my friends. I must say as this was a beautiful Canberra day of 18 degrees, the fire was not needed.
The restaurant has a great ambience with tables both inside and outside in a private covered area. We sat inside and had a full view of the open kitchen with about six or so chefs bustling about; perhaps this was why we felt a little warm throughout our lunch. The menu is appealing with a selection of meat and seafood dishes. One of my friends who is a salmon junkie, ordered the fish as there was no salmon on the regularly changing menu. I selected the only vegetarian entree and main and my other friend ordered the suckling pig for her main.
My friend Karen ordered her entree and asked the waiter to ensure there was no pork. Unfortunately when the meal arrived, the waiter noticed there was pork shavings – glad he did – and a new meal without the pork arrived within a minute or so.
The wine menu is extensive for bottled wine but only a select few can be bought by the glass. I am a sauvignon blanc fan and you could only buy this by the bottle so I settled for a couple of glasses of chardonnay whilst my two friends drank merlot. But now I think I should have ordered a glass of the Pialligo Estate 2009 Riesling as I have read some good reviews about this drop.
The service was excellent and meals were explained in detail when they were brought out to the table. Two courses were $65. We all decided to go for the two courses incase we were too full to eat dessert. Lucky we did as we were too full to even have a cup of coffee/tea after our meals.
We asked for sparkling water and had three or four bottles and it was a wonderful surprise when the bill arrived to see there was no charge. Prior to the main meal, delicious wholegrain and white breads arrived in a delightful little brown paper bag with a tasty butter pat.
I also ordered a side dish of coleslaw – which I probably think is the best coleslaw I have ever tasted – all fresh ingredients from the Estate. My main was roasted cauliflower, broccoli, almond, pomegranate from the orchard and vadouvan (which I now know is a blend of spices) and was delicious.
But I forgot to mention prior to entree, the waiter arrived with a palate cleanser of a long cracker with a type of creme fraiche topped with anchovies.
We all were all too full to order dessert but another wonderful surprise arrived, a tray of mini doughnuts – which were warm and delicious, long marshmallows which my friends told me were very creamy and three yummy macaroons.
Clearly this is a restaurant enjoyed by many in the Canberra region; as we were waiting for our entree a friend of ours walked past and she was enjoying a meal with two other friends. So I popped over to their table outside in the enclosed area and their desserts had just arrived.
The Valhrona Jivara chocolate, buckwheat, caramelised banana and malted milk looked sensational – so I took a quick photo before it was all devoured, I will definitely have to return to eat this great looking dessert!!