“It’s never a good start when there are complications with ordering. The pasta ordered wasn’t available. The fish of the day wasn’t available. Hmmm…,” writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.
WHEN I head to a steakhouse, it’s usually because I have a craving. My mind plays around with images of a big, juicy, perfectly cooked, quality steak.
A group of us headed to Manuka Steakhouse, which has been on Flinders Way for a few years now, and I had steak in mind.
While there are steaks, the menu branches out in several directions to include pasta, seafood, pizza, light meals and even a kids’ menu. The grill section features five steak options ($28.50 to $34.50), a surf and turf ($34.50), beef ribs ($30.50) and more.
We settled inside (would have chosen to dine outdoors but it was one of those crazy-windy Canberra days and we thought we’d get blown away), in comfy seats agreeing the décor is lovely and warm.
It’s never a good start when there are complications with ordering. The pasta ordered wasn’t available. The fish of the day wasn’t available. Hmmm…
With decisions on mains made, we began by sharing the beetroot salad, which looked enticing on the plate ($16.50). It was a generous serve of rocket and the salad was loaded with salty fetta, thin slices of Spanish onion and radish, walnuts and a tangy pomegranate dressing. However, we all bet that the beetroot came from a tin (if so, disappointing).
We then patiently waited for mains.
The gnocchi wasn’t available so it was ravioli for our party’s pasta lover ($24.50). Several of us had a taste and loved the creamy basic pesto sauce (not too creamy, but still rich). The semi-dried tomato shone through and the pine nuts added crunch. It was a huge serve.
Also a huge serve was the kangaroo loin ($28.50). It came medium rare and was tender enough. The crispy-skin salmon (ordered because there was no fish of the day) arrived looking inviting on the plate, too ($29.50). It was served with lime mash, asparagus and hollandaise sauce.
My beef scotch steak ($34.50) was ordered rare and came more well done, so back it went. And then there was another (painfully long) waiting period, which we couldn’t figure out because we were the only ones in the restaurant for the entire Saturday lunch period. I’m not sure the second steak was cooked to perfection but dug in anyway.
The pistachio brownie (shared) was stale on the outer edges and highly decorative on the plate, in a not-so-modern way ($12.50).
The wine list is small but good and reasonably priced. There was confusion over one bottle we ordered.
The person who served us was friendly and tried hard, but when so many things aren’t quite right, it’s hard to leave happy. It didn’t help that we had to flag him down to give us the bill at the end. How hard is it to be attentive when you only have one table full in the restaurant?
Manuka Steakhouse, 7/18 Flinders Way, Griffith, open Monday to Thursday, 5pm-10pm; Friday to Sunday 11am-3pm and 5pm-10pm. .