Valley Grill

Some people found it odd that I went from Biota and Tetsuya’s to eating at my local Southern Cross Club at the Valley Grill with my family for my birthday, but what they didn’t know was that I was trying out their new menu to eat a beef cheek that I had been craving since Peppercress shut their doors.

Since the closure of Peppercress, some of the menu has been adopted down stairs at the casual dining area of Valley Grill. It is family friendly (it even has a kid’s gaming area), has decent prices and can cater for big numbers.

Mains~

Char Grilled Camden Valley Chicken Breast succulent corn fed chicken breast, marinated with oregano and garlic and served with Tassie thick cut chips, tossed green salad and a creamy mushroom and brandy sauce ($24.00).
48 Hour Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek rosemary and thyme marinated Wagyu beef cheeks gently braised in red wine and served with Parisian mash, sautéed mushrooms, smoked bacon and a red wine jus ($27.00).It is still the tender ‘meat cloud’ that I remembered it to be. I was worried that there was be a slight variation between transferring this cuisine downstairs but they didn’t disappoint. Yum, yum, yum!
Vegetarian Mediterranean Strudel char grilled farm fresh vegetables, halloumi cheese and baby rocket pesto in a filo strudel, served with tossed salad leaves and tomato couli ($20.00).
Porcini mushroom risotto porcini mushroom risotto served with crispy sage leaves, toasted pine nuts and freshly shaved grana padano cheese ($20.00). I almost got food envy when I got to try this. It is a creamy, rich and cheesy risotto that is definitely a winter warmer.
Chicken schnitzel premium chicken breast schnitzel rolled in Panko breadcrumbs and served with Tassie thick cut chips, tossed salad leaves and fresh coleslaw ($19.00). We were shocked to see that the schnitzel didn’t come with gravy (!!!), so we had to ask for some before we started eating. It was a nice succulent piece of chicken but I prefer traditional breadcrumbs on my schnitzel and a thicker gravy.
Chicken Parmigiana premium chicken breast schnitzel rolled in Panko breadcrumbs, topped with Napoli sauce and cheese. Served with Tassie thick cut chips and tossed salad leaves ($21.00).
Even though I was eating from the new menu, it seemed like everyone else chose their meal from the more traditional club menu. Everyone generally enjoyed their dinner but I preferred the new additions to the menu over the club favourites.

Seriously, the plating was a bit OTT, I found the ridiculous pots holding the salad and chips almost as useless as a deconstructed coffee (see more ridiculous plating here). It made the mains look very small in comparison and they were very hard to eat out of.

Sure, this isn’t fine dining on the south side but there are food good options for those who are dining with large numbers or lots of children and no one wants to do the dishes.

Venue: Valley Grill

Address: Southern Cross Club

Access: A member needs to sign you in

Phone:  (02) 6293 7200

Valley Grille Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Peppercress 

It might seem odd that I took TimmyC and some friends to the Southern Cross club in Tuggeranong to eat, especially when no one had heard of Peppercress. I however, have wanted to go to Peppercress for years ever since I saw FPJ‘s post about fine dining in Tuggeranong and now with its recent addition to the Entertainment book it was the best time to go.

We had arrived a bit late because I became a member (which allows me to go to several other clubs) but we were promptly seated, given table water and a menu with the specials. I was really surprised to find that each menu category came at a set price; all the entrées and desserts were $12 and all the mains were $25.00 which was really reasonable when you’re talking Waygu beef cheeks, Black Angus Sirloin steaks and lamb rump.

Entree~ (all $12.00)

Calamari and chorizo salad house specialty pan fried haloumi, baby salad leaves and orange dressing. I chose this entree because I like all the ingredients individually but I was curious to see how these flavours worked together. The calamari was extremely tender and easy to chew although its flavours were overpowered by the spice of the chorizo and the salt from the haloumi. I did like the addition of the sweet orange segments which gave it a real sweet and refreshing feel.

Scallop and cauliflower roasted cauliflower and hazelnut soup, seared scallops, coriander persillade. Scallops are often paired with a cauliflower purée but when I saw the words ‘hazelnut’ and ‘soup’, I was super confused. The scallops themselves were rather small and thin which sat in a pool of bland cauliflower soup with a strong hazelnut after taste. I think they needed to add more of the coriander seasoning or salt which might have helped with the flavours. I didn’t really enjoy this.

Bruschetta with chef’s choice of topping ($6.90). I was really puzzled not to see a single tomato/Spanish onion/balsamic vinegar on the plate but my friend pointed out that the menu did say ‘chef’s choice of topping’. The haloumi was over cooked which made it dry and crumbly like fetta and not soft and ‘squeaky’ like it should have been (the haloumi in my salad was fine). I think I would have disappointed if I ordered this without reading the menu properly.Mains~ (all $25.00)

Moroccan lamb rump house specialty slow cooked and served with rosemary and potato rosti, Madeira jus. It looked a little dry as I was cutting pieces but when I took a bite it was really moist and tender. I really liked lamb flavours mixed in with the seasoning but it was made better when I dipped it in the jus. I had to eat my rosti fast as it sat there in a pool of sauce it was quickly losing its crispiness.

Berkshire pork, baked apple and crackling celeriac puree, cider and caraway cream sauce. The baked apple was the smallest albeit cutest little apple I have ever seen. The pork was very lean and therefore made it really dry especially as you worked your way through the thicker part. The sauce was very nice but there wasn’t enough to go around to cover all the dry shreds which I told TimmyC to not bother finishing. It really needed layers of fat through or on top of to give it some sort of flavour and maybe help the meat to be a little more moist. I asked the waitress what cut of pork it was as it was very lean and became very dry, she agreed that what we had left on the plate looked very dry and she had never seen that on a customer’s plate before.Black Angus Sirloin char grilled sirloin of naturally grown grass-fed from Riverina region in NSW, served with horseradish and potato purée, watercress salad and cafe de Pars butter. My friend asked for the steak to be rare and although it did come out pretty red, she would have preferred it more uncooked as it was a little tough to cut through and a little chewy for her liking.48 hour braised Tajima Waygu beef cheek Parisian mash, button mushrooms, speck and rich thyme jus. My friend described this as ‘beef clouds’ and with that description I had to lean over and try some; I agree that it was a very accurate description. It was effortless to cut and the tender beef with all the rich flavours of the jus and creamy mash just screamed winter comfort food. This was my pick for the best main on the table, how is it that it is only $25?!

Thick cut chips with lemon and rosemary flavoured sea salt ($6.90). They did give us more than in the photo, it was just my instinct to eat and it wasn’t until half way through the serve did I realise that I didn’t take a photo. They were served hot, crispy and well seasoned, all that you would want in a chip.Dessert~ ($12.00)

Noting that I was taking photos of all the food, the waitress had had a bet with the chef that I was going to instagram my meal. She asked me straight up if I used instagram and if I was going to put a photo up of my meal and when I said yes, she was extremely happy that she was right. She then said if we ordered dessert, the chef was going to make it extra pretty. TimmyC had already chosen his dessert before we ordered our meals so of course we were going to order desserts! Apparently everything but the ice-cream and edible flowers is made in-house.

We asked if the desserts were going to be prettier than usual, what happens if other people come in wanting the same level of prettiness? She said that they could ask for their desserts to be made just as pretty and the kitchen would do it. So I urge you dear reader if you ever happen to come to Peppercress, ask for your dessert to be extra pretty.

Soft centred warm chocolate pudding house specialty served with vanilla bean ice cream rolled in crushed pistachio (made to order and took 20 minutes). When I had taken a photo of this dessert from every angle, I wanted to dip a spoon in for a photo to show off the cake’s consistency. It was slightly gooey/moist but it had no chocolate sauce, which the waitress said that there usually was. It didn’t matter; it was still warm and decadent which was balanced out by the ice cream and nuts.

Braeburn apple and macadamia crumble with blackberries and cream. My friend really enjoyed his dessert. It had a nice mix of fruit with a nice spice blend, topped with crunchy crumble topping. It was made better by cream that it was served with.

Traditional crème brulee served with short bread. There were a lot of different desserts I wanted to try but I settled for crème brulee as everyone else on the table had my other options covered. It was served with the cutest little row of flowers and a beautiful caramelised sugar hard top. The custard itself was smooth but it had a very thick consistency. With all the over decorating they forgot the short bread. It was one of the biggest serves of brulee I have come across.Eton mess new season strawberries, raspberries, messed in whipped cream and meringue, served with vanilla bean ice cream. I was sad to see that the raspberries were not fresh and that there was only one strawberry but it didn’t stop this dessert being the best one on the table. The mix of berries with the ice cream and cream made for a refreshing summer dessert and the flavours complimented each other perfectly (think strawberries and cream).

We found the staff to be most friendly, patient and helpful. We were pleasantly surprised with the calibre of food here but I wouldn’t have described it as fine dining. It has a relaxed environment and would be perfect for large family get togethers. I would come back for the mains and desserts and skip out on the entrées unless they improve.

Venue: Peppercress

Address: Southern Cross Club, Pitman St, Tuggeranong, ACT

Phone: (02) 6293 7200

Opening hours: Dinner Wednesday – Saturday from 6pm

Entertainment book: yes! It’s in there, don’t forget to use it.
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Lazy May’s

Whilst in Europe, I was reading Canberra Foodie’s adventures back at home and I had complete food envy. I knew instantly that when I came back to Canberra that I wanted to go to Lazy May’s immediately. Tuggeranong has NEEDED a good coffee shop serving breakfast and lunch for a very long time and I think this cafe is the answer to that.I love this wall.

I love their little salt shakers.Tim got a little greedy as he wanted the sweet sliders AND eggs his way and because I didn’t really have a preference I just went a long with it, as long as I got a good a photo (hahaha!) but I insisted I wanted bacon and a hash brown with his eggs and garlic mushrooms. We did have a stipulation that we would only order the hash brown if it wasn’t the frozen store-bought stuff and actually made in-house. After the waitress went to check they were indeed made in-house, we were all set with our breakfast order.
Build your own eggs on toast your choice of scrambled, poached or sunny side up served on artisan sourdough bread ($9.50) with optional sides ($3.00 each) bacon, baby roma vine tomatoes, hash brown, garlic mushrooms, avocado smash, baby spinach. After we ordered ‘eggs our way’ and everything else, at $3 a pop (which is pretty reasonable) it ended up being a double the original price. We really enjoyed the mushrooms but I wouldn’t bother with the hash brown again. It was cold and floury like a pancake with some grated potato, we informed the waitress as we paid for the bill and she was apologetic but we said that it wasn’t her fault and that the rest of the meal was lovely.We ordered the eggs over easy and they were cooked perfectly, look at that yolk.The cold potato pancake supposed hash brown wasn’t so great.
Brioche sweet French sliders mini brioche slider buns with salted caramelised banana and strawberry filling served with vanilla bean ice cream ($11.50). I didn’t think that the banana was caramelised at all or that there was enough vanilla ice-cream, but that didn’t make it any less amazing than it was. It isn’t too strange of a concept, think brioche French toast with delicious butterscotch sauce that you can keep drowning the bread into. It is a pretty messy breakfast but thankfully it wasn’t our first date.Eat now, wipe your hands later. I used a spoon to constantly douse my brioche in sauce.
Flat white coffee (large). TimmyC really really enjoyed his coffee; he said it was smooth and easy to drink. I think he felt relieved that he is able to get good coffee close to home.
 Lazy May’s milkshakes salted caramel and popcorn ($6.00). It isn’t as intense and rich as it sounds. The milk is slightly sweetened but to get that salted caramel and popcorn flavour you need to lick the rim of the glass. I think that the milk shake needs a little tweaking, but I do like how it is not OTT. I am loving awesome cafes that are tucked away in the suburbs; south side is slowly catching up to north side with places like Fox and Bow (Farrer), Red Brick espresso (Curtin), Common Grounds (Garran) and A bite to eat (Chifley). Now I can add Lazy May’s to the list as I really enjoyed their atmosphere, service and food. I will be back soon to try their lunch menu because whatever Food Porn Journal ordered looked awesome.
Venue: Lazy May’s
Address: 41/1 Colishaw Street, Greenway ACT 2900
Phone: 02 6174 1594
Opening hoursMonday – Saturday 7:00am–4:00pm

 

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Espresso Room

I’m glad that with fancy coffee places popping up left right and centre in Braddon, Civic and Belconnen that Tuggeranong was not left out. My Mummy wanted a coffee so an idea sparked from my head and I wanted to take her to the Espresso Room in the Tuggeranong Hyperdome.

A simple set up with a few seats but there are a lot of take aways going on.20140802-125953-46793068.jpgWritten on their website: “The concept of Espresso Room is one of a company owned and operated by its own Baristas. This assures a high level of passion and quality goes into the making of every cup of coffee. Baristas are trained in the use of many different brewing methods and techniques.”20140802-125951-46791756.jpgI’m glad that they participate in Project Origin where they develop long business relationships with growers for a sustainable future.20140802-125950-46790411.jpgWell this is lovely and thoughtful. 🙂20140802-130015-46815311.jpgSmall latte ($3.50). Mummy really enjoyed her coffee and her latte art made me smile, I thought it was super cute.20140802-130013-46813841.jpgI must admit I had an ulterior motive when I took Mum here for a coffee but she doesn’t need to know, let’s call it a silent “win win” situation. Kronuts were $4.50 each, I couldn’t decide on a flavour so I chose both vanilla cinnamon and chocolate raspberry. 20140802-130016-46816873.jpgThings were disappearing fast from the boards, I thought I’d bet buy them now as they might sell out when I come back.20140802-130018-46818298.jpgChocolate and raspberry kronut ($4.50). They both didn’t look attractive by the time we got home with the oil penetrating through the brown paper bags but I did like how them the vanilla cinnamon had a custard filling. I didn’t really get a ‘kronut’ feel about these pastries, they weren’t very crispy like a croissant and it was more like a cross between a krispy kreme donut and a jam/custard filled donut. I forgot to ask where they source their pastries from.20140802-170059-61259288.jpgIt looks like this chain of stores are over taking Canberra with two other locations already in Woden and Belconnen and a store in Civic to open soon. Go check out the Belconnen store (located across from Fernwood Belconnen, right next to Outback Jacks.) this 6th Aug 2014 for their free coffee day between 7:00am – 5:30pm!

Venue: Espresso Room

Address: Shop 1-178 Tuggeranong Shopping Centre, Greenway, Canberra (near the Target entrance)

Website: http://espressoroom.com.au/

Store Opening Times:
Monday – Thursday 9:00am – 5:30pm
Friday 9:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm

Caffe Cherry Beans

I know my way around Westfield Woden, Canberra centre, hell even Westfield Belconnen, but throw me in Tuggeranong Hyperdome and I have to think twice before I know where I’m headed… Add a new cafe though and you’ve got my attention.

It seems like Caffe Cherry Beans coffee stores are popping up everywhere like the new ‘Starbucks’. On our way to getting a stash of Adriano Zumbo Tim Tams, we stopped by and grabbed a coffee.20140315-231350.jpg20140315-231359.jpgFlat White (takeaway small cup $3.70). Timmy said he didn’t mind it, the cup did look extremely small though. Caffe Cherry Beans pride themselves in using ‘fresh’ coffee beans having a freshness guarantee by not keeping any coffee for sale beyond 21 days.20140315-231440.jpg

Nice wide open space inside.20140315-231408.jpg

I thought the piggy cupcake was soooo adorable!20140315-231417.jpg

Opening hours:20140315-231428.jpg

There aren’t too many cafes like this in Tuggeranong so it’s good to see that the Hyperdome is expanding.

Venue: Caffe Cherry Beans

Address: Tuggeranong Hyperdome, across from Coles

Website: http://www.cherrybeans.com.au/

5 Senses Gourmet bar

A lot of people ask me where I like to eat south side Canberra, truth be told, I don’t usually eat much past Woden and I know I should really change that, so I was super proud of myself when I headed to the HyerD and tried 5 Senses Gourmet bar for their all day breakfast. It is one of the busier cafes in Tuggeranong which seemed promising, there is a lot of natural light coming through and the place is nice and open.

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Pancakesbanana, fresh strawberries and your choice of maple syrup or chocolate sauce ($12.90). TimmyC saw pancakes and decided straight away that was what he wanted when the waitress asked for coffee orders, I still had barely finished looking at the menu and said I would need 2 minutes to decide. Apparently that meant his order of pancakes went through and he got his straight after I ordered. I eat so slow that TimmyC really didn’t need a head start. What probably made his order so fast also was because that the pancakes were pre-made and they were microwaved, no one makes pancakes that fast and to add to all that, it was maple flavoured syrup and not the real thing.

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Scrambled eggs on sourdough toast with home made baked beans and ricotta ($15.90) and a side of bacon ($3.50). Tell me you didn’t look at the bacon and thought it was the weirdest colour in the world. It has the colour of corned beef, no flavour, hard to stab my fork through it and it was hard to cut. Worst “bacon” ever! The ricotta, sourdough and eggs on the other hand was okay just needed some seasoning.

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The promise of ‘home made’ baked beans was the deal breaker of why I chose this dish and when I put the first bite in my mouth, I could tell it was Heinz baked beans instantly, after that I didn’t bother eating any more of it. IMG_5588

The coffee was apparently mediocre according to TimmyC.

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It has a nice location, family friendly and afforable but the food was lacklustre and sub par. There were so many ‘lies’ on the menu, I don’t think I would come back, I would rather drive to Pialligo for brunch.

Venue: 5 Senses Gourmet Cafe Bar

Address: Tuggeranong Hyperdome, 150 Anketell St, Tuggeranong ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6293 4550

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