So many foodie friends have told me that Chifley’s Bar & Grill is the place to go for Canberra’s best steak. Chifley’s opened in Hotel Kurrajong in Barton I think about two years ago, and I finally organised dinner there with friends one Friday night.
There are outdoor tables underneath shady umbrellas, an undercover outdoor patio filled with wicker furniture where people were enjoying an after work TGIF drink, and then a plush dining area filled with comfortably cool upholstered dining chairs and soft rugs.
There was plenty of wine and beer at the bar and cocktails on the drinks menu.
I asked for a mocktail (I think around the $10 mark) which was a mix of orange and lime fizzy drinks. Although it was refreshing, it wasn’t good enough to make my Top 10 places for mocktails.
A few of us shared the tasting plate for four ($52) that came with three cured meats, three cheeses, cocktail onions, marinated olives and capsicum, and crusty bread. Although enjoyable and everyone got stuck into it, I didn’t think the portion we received justified the cost.
Another friend ordered the roast garlic and rosemary bread ($6) which smelled yummy.
I had mentioned to my friends that night about Chifley’s having the best steak in Canberra, so everyone at the table ordered steaks. Pressure! At the time, the website’s menu had about a dozen different steaks to choose from. However, we were told on the night that the menu had just been updated that week. There are now only 2 steaks on the menu – an eye fillet and a sirloin, alternatively there is also a wagyu beef burger. Many of us were disappointed (if only we had dined there a week earlier!) as there was a juicy sounding $65 wagyu on the previous menu. All steaks came with sauteed greens, a choice of thick cut chips or Paris mash, and a choice of sauce. I, and a few others at the table, ordered the Great Southern Black Angus eye fillet ($34) cooked medium rare with chips and mushroom sauce. I found the eye fillet was beautifully pink when you got to the inside, however the outside was just a little too dry and slightly tough for my liking. I think it had been overcooked by just a few seconds! Otherwise, it was a good medium rare steak. I ended up picking the wrong sauce as I thought the mushroom sauce was too creamy. I might go with the roast pan jus next time. The general consensus was that the chips were absolutely delicious – yummy crunchy and nicely seasoned outside, with fluffy potato inside.
When it came to J’s turn at the table to order, he asked our waitress if there were any cuts at the back that weren’t on the menu. Surprisingly, she said yes but she would have to check with the chefs. There ended up being two other cuts available – the $65 wagyu (from memory I think this was 600g) but with only two of these left, and another sirloin that had been aged longer and was therefore pricier with only a few left as well. J chose the wagyu, as did another friend. And a few friends changed their orders to the secret sirloin at the back. J chose the Paris mash and the peppercorn sauce with his steak. The wagyu was OH-MY-GOD amazing. The softest steak I’ve ever tried, it melted in my mouth with its silky smooth and juicy texture. The high quality tender steak was instantly noticeable in the first bite. I then had to go back to my eye fillet which was a mistake. As fellow foodblogger Tales of a Confectionist says, never eat up and go back to your normal everyday non-wagyu steak. It just won’t be the same again. True that.
A shot of the wagyu’s inside marbling below.
Others ordered the Cape Grim New York sirloin ($36) which is on the menu. This was huge! No complaints either. I didn’t get a photo of the sirloin that wasn’t on the menu but it was roughly the same size.
For dessert, I had the warm doughnuts with orange blossom, custard and yoghurt sorbet ($15). I loved the smell of hot doughnuts wafting up from the plate. These went really well with the zesty custard and slightly sour but refreshing yoghurt sorbet.
Others ordered the warm Belgium chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice cream ($15) which was warm and gooey in the middle
The steaks were a hit with only one steak being sent back as it wasn’t cooked well enough (for a friend who is expecting a baby) which is a rarity. Although I didn’t like the mushroom sauce, I think the roast pan jus is the way to go next time. The chips were also a favourite over the Paris mash. My tip is to ask for any leftover cuts at the back! They could have one wagyu with your name on it. Service was professional with drink orders being taken first and most of the steaks coming out at the same time. The second round of beers took a little while to come out. Noise levels were at a medium range but I think we were probably the loudest table in the restaurant! The atmosphere was charming and it was nice to not sit at a hipster joint, but at a classier venue with comfy dining chairs. We had a lovely dinner.
Chifley’s Bar & Grill is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also serves Lonsdale Street Roasters coffee which is great for the office workers close by.
Value for money 8/10
FPJ score 24.5/30
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