Canberra’s Southern Cross Club menu may have changed since 1972. But the quality certainly hasn’t.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the club has produced a special cookbook, jam-packed with favourites from the past five decades.
Featuring retro dishes including filet mignon and the celebratory classic lobster thermidor, A Recipe for Success pays homage to meals that have come and gone – and some that just keep making their way back onto the menu.
New head chef at the Southern Cross Club’s Woden venue, Phoebe Tarrant says patrons are lapping up the recipe book, and it’s flying out the door.
“People really like the selection of dishes and how easy they are to make at home,” Phoebe says.
“They’re saying they’ve tried the recipes and, while they may not look like the pictures in the book, they taste just as good.”
She says the commemorative book is “a nice little snippet of the club’s dining history”, with something for everybody to enjoy.
Phoebe had a hand in choosing the recipes for the book, which features her favourites Moroccan lamb and grandma’s classic lemon meringue pie. And she helped develop the coconut poached chicken salad, a light and fragrant dish best enjoyed on a summer’s day.
“I’m partial to the Moroccan lamb because it’s so simple, yet tasty,” she says. “Even when there’s not much in the pantry, you can find things to make it with.
‘”The best thing about the lemon pie is that you can fiddle with the recipe until you get it how you want it. I like lemony things with a little bit of pow-wow that make your eyes water when you take the first bite!”
A Recipe for Success encourages patrons to “create a taste of the club” at home with the collection of 25 recipes from Phoebe, and chefs Brad Howden, Alex Kimmorley and Jojy Vattoly.
The book tells the story of each dish, who created it and when and where it featured on the menu.
Phoebe says while some dishes from the 70s and 80s may not look like they do today, they taste just as good.
“The club has always been proud to serve the top-notch meals, using locally sourced produce where possible,” she says.
“What we’re serving now is club food, but what’s on our menu is a bit more up-scale. It’s not just schnittys and burgers.”
Some club dishes may have been forgotten, while the most popular meals always come back around.
“We’ve just recently brought back T-bone and ribeye steak,” Phoebe says. “And we did pan-seared lemon sole as a special the other day and it practically flew off the pass.
“I think people really enjoy when you throw back to those dishes.”
A winner of the ClubsACT Rising Star award in 2019, Phoebe started with the club as a work experience student in 2013. She is now the club’s first female head chef.
The club’s chefs, led by Anurag Gautam, provide more than 30,000 meals for members each month.
Anurag received a coveted Michelin Star twice while working in Europe, and has worked at the club for the past 17 years.
Brad Howden has been with the club since his apprentice days and is now executive chef of the Southern Cross Yacht Club. Brad represented the ACT in the highly regarded Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat competition, and completed work experience in one of Heston Blumenthal’s highly respected restaurants in London in 2017.
Alex Kimmorley visited the club’s Golden Grille with his family as a child and began his career as an apprentice chef in the kitchens at Woden under the guidance of chef Gordon Hunt. Alex is now the head chef at Tuggeranong.
Jojy Vattoly has been with the club for 15 years and oversees the Jamison kitchen. He worked internationally at several highly acclaimed restaurants and hotels in India and Dubai before settling in Canberra.
The recipe book is dedicated to each member of the club’s kitchen teams who have served up more than five million meals to hungry Canberrans over the past 50 years.