YOU do not often read a menu with “conditions of entry”, but there they are at The Oaks Brasserie, a small café tucked away at the picturesque Yarralumla Nursery.
The conditions warn that the native birds will steal your food if you are not vigilant, that staff will deliver food to your table, but after that it is your responsibility to guard it, management cannot take responsibility for personal injuries occurring from individual negligence or birds or animals and so on.
And the menu is explicit that you must understand all the conditions before deciding to stay. Yikes.
But back to the setting, which is what attracted me to return to The Oaks Brasserie. Operating since 1990, it is set in a pretty heritage English garden and I recall masses of spring flowers on my first visit. This time it is winter, although the sun peeped through the clouds to warm us up.
The menu is extensive. Plenty of vegetarian, vegan and wheat-free dishes. Focaccias, bagels and light lunches from $13.50, salads served as mains from $20.50 and rotating chef’s specials from $20.50.
Desserts are available for afternoon tea in the garden and the children’s menu starts with fairy bread sprinkled with hundreds and thousands (children are only welcome when supervised by an adult). The pet in your life is well taken care of with Canine Cuisine, which includes poochy pasta and snags (all $5).
We both selected from the specials — I the Nasi Goreng ($22.50) and my friend the steak panini sandwich ($23.50).
My dish looked fabulous and included a generous serve of prawns, big chunks of chicken and loads of crunchy Asian vegetables. However, the sweet soy and regular soy were too overpowering for my liking and I just could not finish the meal.
The 120-gram lean porterhouse steak was a better choice, cooked as ordered with scrumptious Italian toasted bread. And how good is steak with sweet caramelised onion?
Another condition is that the brasserie does not do fast food, only good food as fast as possible. Fair enough.
However, I had to get up from my seat to remind staff our wine had not been served. And after ordering and waiting close to 40 minutes I got up from my seat again to chase down our meals. The staff apologised, saying our meals would take longer than usual because of challenges in serving the large crowd on the opposite side of the brasserie listening to live music. Sigh.
And, just because the conditions of entry are so important to Oaks Brasserie, I thought I would close by letting you know that there is only one bill per table allowed and no bill splitting.
The Oaks Brasserie is licensed. Open seven days, Yarralumla Nursery, Weston Park. Call 6260 5253.