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New kid on the block at Pialligo adds to their exceptional mix

Michelle Rowe 22 November 2019 20
Market Grill Launch at Pialligo Estate

Market Grill, Pialligo Estate’s latest offering, has launched in time for the festive season. Photos: Region Media.

Few examples of how rapidly fortunes can change in the hospitality business are as vivid as Pialligo Estate, the vineyard and restaurant complex at the end of a road lined with garden centres and smallholdings in Canberra’s rural Pialligo.

Two years ago, the Estate’s staff were raking through the embers of the award-winning Farmhouse Restaurant, burned to the ground after a kitchen fire. But fast forward to the end of 2019, and the Estate’s future couldn’t be brighter than where it’s going.

Last week’s opening of Market Grill, a 48-seat luxe dining spot reminiscent of a Spanish tapas bar but with a distinct seafood bent, is the latest in a string of launches at the Kallaroo Road site. Pialligo Estate seems determined to bring new food and wine experiences to the Canberra region.

Market Grill Launch at Pialligo Estate

Scott Taylor, general manager of Pialligo Estate, welcomed guests at the Market Grill launch.

Market Grill joins the eight-week-old Pialligo Fields gin bar adjacent to the main restaurant; kids’ paddock-to-plate children’s centre, The Possum Patch, which opened in neighbouring Beltana Road earlier this year; and Outstanding in the Field, their events arm offering functions amidst the beauty of the Estate’s vines, orchard and market gardens, in October.

A new gourmet takeaway outlet, Pialligo Urban, popped up in Braddon’s buzzing Lonsdale Street in June, bringing the Estate to your home or office. And this week Pialligo Estate is proudly notching up yet another opening with The Farm Shop Café, centrepiece of The Plot, an expansive new market complex just down the road, on Beltana Road.

For former Perth restaurateur Scott Taylor, who joined Pialligo Estate as general manager six months ago, it’s been a whirlwind. But he says the desire to “realise the significant potential of 55-plus acres of assets” was too good an opportunity to let pass.

He aims to shift the perception of Pialligo Estate as a high-end, expensive night out, to a multi-faceted food and drink experience offering something for everyone.

“People used to just come here for their family gathering or for a big corporate event, but nobody ever said ‘what a lovely day it would be to have a beer at Pialligo’, and they should – the views are amazing!” he says.

Pialligo Fields, with its bar snacks menu and indoor/outdoor seating has delivered that casual vibe; and the simple but beautiful, produce-driven menu over at the new café will, too.

Market Grill Launch at Pialligo Estate

Pialligo Estate’s strong relationships with fishermen in the NSW region confirm the quality of their seafood.

Market Grill, meanwhile, with its rustic blackboard menu and catch of the day on ice in front of the open kitchen (today it’s snapper, oysters, mussels and pipis), has at its heart a commitment to applying a light touch to the very best ingredients.

“As a landlocked city, sourcing seafood in Canberra can be so difficult. You often don’t have any idea of provenance, freshness can be in doubt,” says Scott.

To guarantee the quality of everything that ends up on the plate, they have forged strong relationships with a handful of fishermen and farmers to directly supply the Grill.

A roll-call of suppliers and producers greets diners as they arrive at the new restaurant. Framed photos of Spencer Gulf fisherman Dan Fisk clutching an impressive kingfish; Mark Allsop from Appellation Oysters on the NSW south coast and Pialligo Estate’s own master smoker Alex Petryk, market gardener Pete Anderson and sommelier Freddie Raimbaud line the wall.

Market Grill Launch at Pialligo Estate

Opt for a seat at the bar of Market Grill with a bird’s eye view into the kitchen, and enjoy the bespoke “Feed Me” menu.

“We’re not going through wholesalers, we want to showcase what this region has to offer – let high-quality produce sourced sustainably and locally shine through. It’s our responsibility as a restaurant to tell these people’s stories,” Scott says. Chargrilled snapper with burnt lemon; baby squid stuffed with chorizo and farsi, topped with a spicy chimichurri paste; and a signature dish of chateaubriand are some of the blackboard menu highlights (from $26 a plate). Desserts run the gamut of tiramisu and crème brulee to fruit crumble.

Diners who choose to sit at the eight-seat bar with a bird’s eye view into the open kitchen action must take the bespoke “Feed Me” menu which, at $85 a head, includes the chef’s choice of highlights from the daily menu, plus an oyster tasting masterclass.

“The menu changes every day,” says Scott. “What we get off the trawlers is what’s on the menu that day. When we run out, we run out.”

Market Grill Launch at Pialligo Estate

A new meat dry-ageing room and prep kitchen was recently built at Pialligo Estate.

And though Market Grill has a seafood focus, carnivores won’t be disappointed. A new meat dry-ageing room and prep kitchen was recently built on site.

Scott is confident the latest additions to the Estate will be well-received by Canberra’s food and wine lovers.

“I love how educated Canberrans are about food. Most people here have travelled. You can’t fool anyone [when it comes to a good food experience], you have to be at the top of your game,” he says.

Market Grill is open Wednesday to Saturday, 12:00 pm to late and Sunday 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm.


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20 Responses to New kid on the block at Pialligo adds to their exceptional mix
Marian Moss Marian Moss 1:18 pm 29 Nov 19

Andrea Olson David Howard one to try next time you are up x

Barbara Lewincamp Barbara Lewincamp 8:24 am 28 Nov 19

No he is far more handsome

    Venessa Tripp Venessa Tripp 9:30 am 28 Nov 19

    Barbara Lewincamp I meant is it his bistro thingy

Melissa Taylor Melissa Taylor 7:51 am 28 Nov 19

Ben Taylor we should go

Amber Pascoe Amber Pascoe 9:22 pm 27 Nov 19

Melinda Bower... this sounds like our next outing!

Venessa Tripp Venessa Tripp 10:18 am 27 Nov 19

Barbara Lewincamp Is this Eric?

Jo-anne Hogan Jo-anne Hogan 8:23 pm 26 Nov 19

Nicole Hogan Amy Hogan sounds good will have to go there

Keith Main Keith Main 7:30 am 26 Nov 19

Louis Eliopoulos,Antigoni Maria Eliopoulos, Melinda Main. Another place we should try

    Louis Eliopoulos Louis Eliopoulos 7:40 am 26 Nov 19

    Keith Main yes let’s go!!

    Antigoni Maria Eliopoulos Antigoni Maria Eliopoulos 7:58 am 26 Nov 19

    Melinda Main are you still organizing walk n dinner? 🧡

    Melinda Main Melinda Main 2:09 pm 26 Nov 19

    Antigoni Maria Eliopoulos um, was I meant to?

    My old timers must have got the better of me.

Taryn Timmins Taryn Timmins 9:50 pm 25 Nov 19

Rachel Smith date night?

Urvi Florent Urvi Florent 9:01 pm 25 Nov 19

Samantha Neal can we have a night out here please?

    Samantha Neal Samantha Neal 9:08 pm 25 Nov 19

    Urvi Florent absolutely name the date!!! We are in

Nicolette Malingre-Brain Nicolette Malingre-Brain 8:49 pm 25 Nov 19

Anthony Brain to try ....

Ben Ervine Ben Ervine 8:34 pm 25 Nov 19

Andriana big news

    Andriana Bruce Andriana Bruce 10:04 pm 25 Nov 19

    Ben Ervine I saw this!Reminds me of the menu from Temporada, will have to go sometime to check it out

    Ben Ervine Ben Ervine 10:26 pm 25 Nov 19

    Andriana lock it in

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