With the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival over I thought it timely to review our experiences of festival 2010.
This year we didn’t actually go to many events – I’m not sure whether it was just a case of bad timing or whether the programme was all a bit meh?
So let’s begin with the positive – Five Course Cocktail Degustation at Der Raum $70 p.p
It’s no secret that the folk at Der Raum know how to make a damn fine drink and it’s probably also no secret that they know how to organise an event – but this was a new discovery to us!
We were pleasantly surprised to enter the venue where we were promptly shown to our 2 seater bench far removed from anybody else (score!). The menu was explained to us and waters were poured. It wasn’t long before the last guests had arrived and first course was served.
All week I’d been slightly worried at how my liver would cope with 5 Der Raum cocktails on a Tuesday night, but this evening was so very well thought out. I particularly enjoyed the addition of 3 edible items on the menu – the take home jar of house Manhattan marmalade was a brilliant idea and the serving of toast broke up the evening perfectly.
Our favourite drink of the night was the last – a Custard Appleccino, which was made with rum, lime, cinnamon & custard apple. It looked like they foamed the custard apple with the cappuccino machine and with the addition of cinnamon it took us back to Latvia where they served their cappuccino’s with cinnamon rather than cocoa. YUM!
We both agree that this was the best food & wine festival event that we’d been to in a long time. Minimal people, fantastic service and of course an amazing menu!
In contrast, while not a complete disaster our low goes to Six Courses Six Countries at Gingerboy ($125 p.p with matched cocktails.)
I had envisaged some kind of coordinated event where we were told something of the dishes as they arrived and everybody would be eating at the same time, but to my surprise we walked into the restaurant at 7:30 (scheduled start time) to see that some people had already finished their first course!!!
Staff seemed under the pump on this night, which is quite unusual for an evening at Gingerboy… our first cocktail didn’t arrive until after our food (and only came when we enquired as to its whereabouts) and I overheard the table next to me tell their waiter of a shellfish allergy when they noticed it on the menu & instead of the staff member simply alerting the kitchen he actually said “well… you should have told me that when I asked you if you had any allergies”. The customers seemed quite shocked at this & said they were never asked such a question – which I can confirm given the close proximity of our tables!
On to the food…
Most of the courses were, while not spectacular, quite nice with the exception of the last main. Donny usually eats most things he’s dished up but we both agreed that the wagyu pancake was inedible! I’ve got no idea what they did to this dish but the sauce was quite revolting… Other qualms include a not quite cooked prawn in the tom kha goong and a bit of a cop-out dessert of banana fritters. Maybe we’re just being fussy here, but the desserts are usually something to look forward to at Gingerboy so it was a little disappointing to end the night on this note.
All in all it was a fun evening, but definitely not up to usual gingerboy standard.