Hidden away inside Manuka Village is a small oasis surrounded by plants that is the Secret Garden cafe. I stumbled across it while getting our wedding rings ordered at Village Jewellers (who I highly recommend btw). Secret Garden has an all day menu plus a specials menu – I noticed mainly Western brunches (bacon and egg roll, baked eggs, chia pudding, burgers and chips) but with some cool Asian dishes (congee, massaman beef cheek, Thai salad and pork bao). For breakfast one morning, I started off with a latte (can’t remember the price).
I couldn’t resist the raspberry and ricotta stuffed French toast with lemon lavender curd, cherry sorbet, meringue shards, coconut emulsion, freeze fried raspberries and maple syrup ($18). It looked amazing! And I’m pleased to write that it tasted just as good as looked. There was quite a lot of ricotta but it was carefully balanced with the sweetness of the maple syrup and tartness of the raspberries and curd. The coconut emulsion was a nice addition but was overpowered by the stronger flavours.
I went back for lunch with a friend and ordered congee for lunch but they didn’t have any that day. I tried out the pork katsu burger instead – panko pork fillet, purple slaw, tonkatsu sauce and mayo ($18) which came with a side of fries. The pork fillet was generous in size sticking out of the burger and I loved the crunch of the panko crumbs. There was a good ratio of slaw to provide extra crispness. Overall, a tasty burger with soft fluffy fries.
My friend ordered the beer battered fish and chips which came with a garden salad and house made tartare ($22). This came with four beautifully golden flathead fillets.
Service was unobtrusive and we appreciated the split billing. It can get a little loud inside but it wasn’t a nuisance. I’m keen to go back to try the congee and some more items from the menu.
Manuka Village, 18-26 Furneaux Street, Griffith ACT
Monday – Friday: 7-4
(Please double check for public holidays/New Year shut down)
Value for money 8/10
FPJ score 23/30
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