Saluting farmers and celebrating quality produce 

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Market Grill’s signature beef dish, 600 grams of dry-aged, whole tri-tip with an exquisite jus. Photo: Wendy Johnson

“Market Grill celebrates quality produce in all that it does. It’s lucky to be able to pick from Pialligo Estate’s two-hectare market garden that thrives on the banks of the Molonglo River,” says dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON

FIRST up, I want to say how fabulous it is to see farmers and regions featured on a menu. At Market Grill, Pialligo Estate, the description of most dishes is complete with the name of the farmer and the region they produce from. 

Wendy Johnson.

If you want to connect even more, study their photos hanging on the wall. They’re fascinating.

Market Grill celebrates quality produce in all that it does. It’s lucky to be able to pick from Pialligo Estate’s garden – 800 metres of river frontage and 28 hectares of sandy loam – that thrives on the banks of the Molonglo River. The two-hectare market garden is loaded with seasonal vegetables, herbs and flowers. 

Zucchini flowers (Pete, Pialligo Garden)… stuffed with goat cheese and almond pesto. Photo: Wendy Johnson

Sharing is a fabulous way to enjoy food. On our visit, we began our culinary adventure with fried zucchini flowers, stuffed with goat cheese and almond pesto (Pete, from Pialligo Garden – $26). They were super crispy and loaded with flavour. 

Tartare (Anthony, Cordillo Downs)… created with super tender aged Angus beef fillet with cured yolk on to. Photo: Wendy Johnson

The tantalising tartare was created with super tender aged angus beef fillet with cured yolk on top, and colourful and crunchy beetroot chips forming a ring around the meat (Anthony, Cordillo Downs – $22).

Baby squid (Sharon, Eden)… stuffed with spicy chorizo and then char grilled and served on top of a delicate couscous salad. Photo: Wendy Johnson

Baby squid is so versatile, and this dish packed a punch with the squid stuffed with spicy chorizo and then char grilled and served on top of a delicate couscous salad (Sharon, Eden – $18). 

The whole snapper (Sharon, Eden)… with a fresh herb salad. Photo: Wendy Johnson

Also grilled was the whole snapper, with a fresh herb salad (don’t forget to eat the sweet cheeks). The half lemon was also grilled, bringing out the flavour (Sharon, Eden – $44).

We accepted the recommendation to share Market Grill’s signature dish, 600 grams of dry aged whole tri-tip with the most exquisite jus we’ve had in a long time. It’s $95 for two but the kitchen was happy to slice it up so we could easily share, given we had already indulged in several other dishes. The meat was cooked just as ordered and it wasn’t a problem when we asked for more of that full-bodied jus.

Market Grill’s wine list is attractive, and we enjoyed every drop of the 2018 La Petite Maison “Saint Rose”, France ($12 glass, $55 bottle).

We would have stayed for dessert, but it was too hot inside and there was no air flow (we, along with several other guests, fanned ourselves with the menus). 

Market Grill also offers a seven-course tasting menu for $85 a person. 

Open Thursday to Sunday, 18 Kallaroo Road, Pialligo.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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