The Good Food Month by The Age is happening now and I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview event of Is Fine Dining Finished at The Point Albert Park. I was very excited as it was my first time dining at The Point and the weather we had that night was just glorious!
I couldn’t help but snap a few panoramic shots when we were invited to have some cocktails at the balcony. It was just breath-taking!
In the midst of catching up with every one, we were served with the prettiest drink I’ve had in a long time – The Karpouzi Kup by Gazi Restaurant. It was a cocktail of aperol, gin, lemon juice, soda water and fresh mint! I’m a sucker for gin, so give me anything with gin in it and I would be happy girl! And I definitely was smiling, while sipping on those cute candy cane straws!
So refreshing and perfect for the sunny hot day! Soon after, we were led into the wine cellar that had a large communal table where we would be dining for the night. It was beautiful and I couldn’t wait till I get to try the food!
Recently, casual, shared, street food is taking over the food scene, so the purpose of the night was to discuss if fine dining is finished? Hosted by The Age’s Dani Valent, the dinner presented contrasting dishes from two very talented chefs : Justin Wise who is The Point’s Executive Chef, and Luke Croston of Gazi, who has travelled the road from fine dining to street food. The food was matched with wine and cocktails and the table was open to all opinions about the future of dining in Melbourne. All views shared, none judged!
Street food is definitely gaining popularity and the first course of Gazi has proven why. For me, I love casual dining as food could be conveniently consumed, and sometimes we could even eat standing up!! With a more relaxed atmosphere, I feel less concerned about being prim and proper when enjoying my food.
The soft shell crab souvlakakia was AMAZEBALLS. My first time having soft shell crab in pita bread. It was delicious with huge pieces of crispy soft shell crab, and the flesh was so fresh and sweet! The sauce had subtle flavours of honey and fish sauce! George Calombaris told us that Greek food use to utilise lots of fish sauce, but it is use less now. Definitely learnt something new that night! hehe The freshly made pita bread was also light and fluffy!
The beef brisket souvlakakia was also really amazing. Melt-in-your-mouth pieces of beef brisket with chips (yes, chips!), red onion and fresh coriander. This was matched with another glass of Karpouzi Kup! Yum!
Then comes the fine dining courses by Justin Wise.
Pan-seared foie gras with poached pear. This was luxury brought to another level! It’s probably my second having such a huge piece of foie gras, but this is truly the best one I’ve had! Crispy exterior, with a rich and creamy texture. This is definitely a dish that I would come back to dine for.
This was paired with a 2007 Max Ferd Richter Braunerberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Auslese, from Mosel Germany, which was a sweet white wine which cuts the richness of the foie gras. Definitely a great match and I loved the wine, which was no surprise, cause I cannot say no to a glass of sweet wine! hehe
The next dish was the Macleay Valley rabbit, guanciale, pithier and broad beans. How amazing does it look? Plated exquisitely, the rabbit dish was nothing short of perfection and the epitome of what fine dining is about. Beautifully plated, with the finishing touches done at table side.
There’s just something about pouring jus, to complete the dish, at table side that excites every foodie. Every component of the fish was cooked to perfection, and matched harmoniously with the 2010 Domaine Geantet Pansiot Bourgogne Rouge, Cote d’Or France.
The wine was poured using the coolest decanter in a shape of a snake! hehe and yes, I sneaked a shot of George Calombaris cause he was sitting just opposite me!
These loukoumi, loukoumades are golden and crispy greek donuts coated with honey and sprinkled with sunflower seeds. Not overly sweet and soft & fluffy on the inside! The best thing is that they were served hot!
To go with the loukoumades were these mastic musk sticks.
The final touches that a fine dining experience won’t be complete with : a plate of petit four and a cup of tea. Green tea to be exact. Lime jelly, chocolates and shortbread. Just divine.
So is fine dining really finished? Not in my books! Though I do love my casual street food, there will always still be a time and place for such enjoyments in my life. The Mr and I love celebrating our special occasions (birthdays & anniversaries in particular) at fine dining restaurants. It’s like a little treat for us, a few times a year.
There are a few things I do love about fine dining :
The freshly baked bread/rolls with some of the best butters I’ve had! hehe Of course, this isn’t the most important reason. To me, dining at a fine dining restaurant is a time for the mr and I to feel just that little bit more special, and being treated like royalty for that hour or two! hehe Just being in our own world and enjoying the great ambience and views the restaurants have to offer.
We do deserve such pampering once in a while, don’t we?
So what do you think? Is fine dining finished? Book yourself in for the event and share your thoughts!
Venue : The Point Albert Park
Date & Time : 26th November, Tuesday, at 6.30pm
Cost : $145 per person for a four course menu matched with cocktails and wine. Tickets can be purchased here.
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