One of Canberra’s most-experienced food critics and this paper’s longest-serving columnist, WENDY JOHNSON indulges herself with her top eating experiences for 2018
THE dining space at Canberra Southern Cross Club in Woden has had a makeover. Actually, it’s had a super-duper makeover.
“Woden Central” has been transformed from top to bottom and now has separate dining zones, each with their own personality. The Clubhouse and Bar, for those who want casual dining while watching sports on big screens and perhaps shooting a game of pool, is super relaxed. The Patio area is more formal, but by no means stuffy. Henry’s, for families, features a vibrant Australiana mural on the wall and a game and play area.
We headed to The Patio for lunch, ordering at the counter (table service at night).
The entrees caught our eye and we selected two, loving both.
The oh-so-pretty-on-the-plate roasted beetroot, baby spinach and Persian feta salad was delish and we thought the bright beetroot dust looked fab against the dark plate. The dish was great on texture – toasted hazelnuts, pine nuts and thin crispy beetroot chips ($14 for members; $17 for non-members). The garlic and oregano dressing was light (we would have liked a bit more). Our only disappointment was the noticeable absence of serving utensils.
Another winner was the honey roasted Kent pumpkin ($18; $22). The pumpkin seeds added crunch, the oregano emulsion was intriguing and the smooth ricotta pleasing.
Gourmet burgers are $17.50 for members and $21 for non-members. You’ll find the usual suspects but Woden Central uses quality ingredients such as Cape Grim beef and Riverina lamb. Fun options include a twirled zucchini and sweet potato burger and the “Magic Mushroom”. It was packed full of ingredients, including a massive, marinated portobello mushroom, a thick slice of mozzarella, deep fried and crispy on the outside, loads of veggies, aioli and tomato relish.
The specials board included a generous roast beef dinner, with gravy and vegetables ($15; $18). Who can go wrong with Sunday roast? Share platters for four take 30 minutes to prepare – classic roast chicken is $65 and Moroccan spiced lamb shoulder $75.
It was a bit fussy ordering at the counter with only one person on the till, which we found odd for weekend lunch. Beyond that, the service was prompt – so much so that our mains arrived well before we finished our share plates, making our table very crowded indeed.
We’ll try the Clubhouse and Bar next, intrigued by the glistening copper beer tanks, which form a major feature. Wash down a pizza cooked in the massive brick pizza oven with a craft beer or a tap beer.
Woden Central claims it’s a “new dining destination in the heart of Woden”. We can see why.
The Patio and Henry’s, seven days, noon-2pm for lunch and 5.30pm-9pm for dinner. The Clubhouse and Bar has longer hours.