I wouldn’t say I’m overly familiar with the northern suburbs these days. The urban sprawl seems to stretch further up the coast and be expanding at a rapid rate and it can be tricky business keeping up with the new suburbs that crop up. A while back GG and I did venture north to check out some display homes in Iluka, which is a fun way to spend a Saturday. I found at least three I wanted to build immediately, with all of their beautiful stylings, but am still waiting for that one Powerball. We were going to grab lunch on the way, so I quickly googled what was available along the way or nearby to where we were heading. That can be the challenge when you visit new far flung suburbs, knowing what choices you have on the food front. So recently when I was asked if I would like to head along to the Cornerstone Ale House in Butler for a meal, I was keen because it expanded my horizons as to where I could eat when I next headed north.
It started with a vision. A beachside suburb, north of Perth, fully integrated, environmentally responsible and 21st Century advanced. It has become something more, an estate perfect for living, with a community spirit and local character you can feel and see.
Our family have designed and created a Tavern that envelopes this very character, a venue that offers the local community a place to gather, a venue that will become the very cornerstone of the social foundation of what is the Brighton Estate.
The Cornerstone Ale House is a little different to the normal pub. Overlooking the landmark lake of the estate, its vista offers all the rewards of fresh park side living whilst the interior brings a sophisticated contemporary warmth that may keep you there for longer and keep you coming back.
Split into a separate bar and restaurant section we wandered from the car park out the back through the bar and then headed through another door into the bistro. Friendly staff at the entrance directed us to a table and menus and water were swiftly delivered and the nightly special explained. Nearly every day they have a different meal special available with the focus on pub grub classics.
On Thursday seafood was the star and for $21 you could have either grilled barramundi or tempura snapper with chips and a side salad. And there was then an option for garlic prawns for $6 or calamari for $4 or both for $8. We decided we would definitely try out the special and then, while enjoying a glass of Working Hands Shiraz, perused the other food choices. The menu itself is fairly extensive, with all the go to pub dishes included along with some additional interesting options, with enough to ensure everyone is kept happy. We decided to err on the side of caution, given that pub meals can be on the larger side and ordered the Buffalo wings – lightly smoked, light blue cheese sauce $14 to share for starters and then would split two dishes for our mains – Gorgonzola beef fillet – 250g steak, mash potato, broccolini, red wine jus, blue cheese and chive whip $35 and the upgraded Seafood Special $21 (+$8).
The wings arrived in a relative flash and looked the goods. For me with wings, I’m all about the sauce. Wings should be a deliciously saucy affair, finger lickin’ good and these ones fit the bill. Thankfully they came with a finger bowl, so we could sauce up our hands with reckless abandon before giving ourselves a clean-up once we were finished. The generous stack of wings was served piping hot and we eagerly, though carefully, took a first bite. Plump chicken wings had been lovingly slathered in house buffalo marinade. A little sweet and a little spicy, it teamed well with the blue cheese dressing. It was a solid starter and given the number you get it was a great size for sharing.
Now we had not disguised our collective love of all things blue cheese when we ordered the Gorgonzola Beef Fillet, but it also came highly recommended by our friendly waitress. Our plan was to split the two mains and when they were delivered obviously the first port of call for us both was a chip or two…. or three. What is it about chips that make them so darn addictive? And chips are an important item on a pub menu. They need to be good because they feature with so many meals and would have to be a very popular side. The Cornerstone Ale House has very good chips. On the chunky side, hot as hell and well-seasoned they were well received by both myself and GG, who would consider himself something of a chip connoisseur. I started on the seafood plate. As we had expected, the dishes were on the larger size. A decent piece of grilled barra, along with the mountain of chips, fresh salad and the two upgrade extras. I really enjoyed the calamari. Dusted in a light spicy coating it was tender and tasty. The prawns had a nice amount of garlic to their creamy sauce too. I liked too that there was a beurre blanc style sauce for the barra, which was a nice addition. I’m pro sauce.
So once I’d put a reasonable dent in that plate it was time for swapsies. The steak looked good, a very decent size with a generous dollop of blue cheese cream. The test was in the tasting though and while I wouldn’t say I am any kind of steak guru, a good steak is a good steak and this was a really nice, well-cooked steak. Tender in the middle and cooked to medium rare magic, it was a piece of meat that had been treated with care. There was a slight sweetness to the red wine jus which countered the salty kick from the blue cheese. A little of this and a little of that on your bite of steak and there were flavours a plenty! The broccolini on the side still had plenty of crunch and in true pubby fashion the mashed potato was ample.
Thankfully as we’d split the one starter and the two mains between us there was just enough room for dessert. Again a solid line up of sweet options, but I was drawn to the tiramisu like a moth to a flame or like a tiramisu fan to tiramisu. It was creamy, had a nice hit of coffee from both the coffee and the splash of Tia Maria and pleasing hints of sweetness both from the strawberry on the side and the gratings of chocolate on top. It rounded out our dinner nicely.
It had been a nice debut visit to Butler and Cornerstone Ale House is a nice pub. Granted yes, it isn’t that close to home for us, but I’m glad I now know about it for those times I am heading out that way and fancy a bite. And now you know too when you are in the north and searching for some tasty pub grub!
Thanks to the Cornerstone Ale House team for the invitation!