The Cornerstone Ale House is in the northern suburb of Jindalee, a little way north of the end of the Mitchell Freeway, a modern area where the architects have included pretty lakes, ponds and fountains.
I was invited to review the Cornerstone bistro, and we were given a quiet table overlooking the outdoor deck and one of the nice ponds.
The menu is quite varied with many pub favourites like pasta, chicken parmi, bangers and mash, lamb shanks and steak, but it also includes some more sophisticated options like pork belly, thai chilli crab and beef cheeks. There is also a specials menu, and the special curry of the day was beef vindaloo.
We started with a glass of New Zealand Southern Skies sauvignon blanc – very reasonable at $6.50 a glass, and a nice fruity sauvi which we enjoyed very much.
For starters we chose the pork belly bites served on pulled pork and onion jam and the buffalo wings with BBQ marinade and coleslaw.
The pork belly bites were perfect. Beautifully cooked pork and a lovely crunch on the crackling, just a nice amount of onion jam, and 4 nice chunks of pork. I would order these again in a heartbeat. I would even think about ordering a double portion for my main – they were so good.
The buffalo wings were also very nice, sticky and well cooked. We were provided with a finger bowl and extra serviettes. the marinade was slightly sweet for my tastes, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of them. I do love coleslaw, and the house made slaw was a good quality version and a nice backdrop to the meaty wings. Yum.
For main my partner chose the special beef vindaloo which he thoroughly enjoyed. It was nicely spicy with well cooked beef and a dish that he would choose again. It was a generous portion of curry, but a small portion of rice, maybe in future we would ask for extra rice.
I was intrigued to try the chilli crab which came as a very generous portion of two spanner crabs with prawns (there were at least 6 large prawns) in a spicy red coconut curry sauce. At $29 for this dish, I wondered how they make any money on it – it was a very generous portion for the price.
I was provided with shell crackers and a meat picker, and found eating the crabs a very messy but enjoyable experience. This is definitely not a first date dish and I did wonder if others might choose it from the menu thinking that the crab meat would be already prepared and de-shelled, so it could be worth a slight change for the menu to state that the crab is ‘in the shell’. I didn’t mind though, and I loved it and made a complete mess of the table. Again, despite the generosity of everything else, the rice portion was a bit small, and I could have done with a little more.
For dessert we chose to share the sticky date pudding.
This was a delightfully gooey dessert with a lovely caramel ice cream, and a great finish to a lovely meal.
The wait staff were lovely throughout, after each course they checked to make sure that we were ready for the next course, and they made sure that we had enough table water and serviettes. The food portions were generous and very good value, and everything was tasty and well prepared.
I expected standard pub fare (which is generally hearty but often pre-packaged frozen food), and was surprised to receive food that was prepared with care, definitely home-made, and very tasty. I will be back soon to try some of the other dishes.