I’ve only been to one progressive dinner before but I like the concept. A four course meal served at four different locations. Keeps things interesting.
So I when I heard about the Roving Dinner for the Beaufort St Festival (BSF) I was definitely keen! The brilliant idea of Laura Moseley who heads up the Food Team for this year’s festival. A series of events had been planned prior to the BSF weekend on November 12th, including some beer tasting evenings at the ever popular Five Bar and also this dinner.
The plan was to start at Must for canapés and champagne in their upstairs Champagne Lounge, then heading across the road for the entrée at Beaufort Street Merchant, mains were next door at the new kid on the block Raah, then up the hill for dessert at Cantina 663. So some brilliant venues, it promised to be a great night.
The way that they kept the flow going was to split invitees into 4 groups of 30 people. The times we started were then staggered by 30 minutes. I was in the second group that started at 6.45pm – a very cool crew. We then had between 30 and 45 minutes at each venue.
I was especially pleased about heading along because it gave me the chance to officially meet some people I’d been chatting to on facebook for the past year, so that was a total bonus and they were all just so lovely! Fellow food enthusiasts.
I’d never been to the Champagne Lounge at Must be it is pretty special. Up a narrow staircase it all very plush with its heavy brochard curtains and chandeliers and its glass cabinet along one wall which is full to the brim with different bottle of bubbles. Very impressive.
And we were given G. H. Mumm Champagne and this is seriously amazing champagne.
I was more than a little impressed that they were coming around to top up glasses. And the canapés were just divine! There were 5 different types and they ensured that they walked around so that everyone had one. Makes me hungry just thinking about them really. The first I had was an olive tapenade on baguette. Such a strong but delicious olivey flavour.
Then there were polenta bites, with a tasty spicy sauce.
Lobster croquettes followed again amazing, just creamy and fabulous…
Then mushroom and feta on filo
And finally ceramic spoons with a thin slice of rare wagyu and beetroot and a horseradish sauce….. happy sighs, it was all so elegant.
The bar was definitely raised at Must and the group skipped across the road with happy smiles after the delicious food and sensational champagne.
I had never eaten at Beaufort Street Merchant and here it was time for entrees, so our group was set up on large tables where we were each presented with our little dishes. The entrée was a Vegetarian rotolo with pumpkin, pine nuts, ricotta, sage and burnt butter and then Bruschetta with charred chorizo, broad beans, roast beetroot and fetta.
I started with the pasta dish and while I found the flavour pleasant there was a lot of oil in the little fry pan that it came served in and that probably didn’t win me over hugely.
However the second item was a winner. Really tasty chorizo with the right amount of spice and in combination with the broad beans, beetroot and fetta – it was a tasty treat! Just excellent.
On the drinks front there, they went for a Around the World flights of wine, a tasting concept, so there were groups of smalls carafes set up on the table which people were meant to share. Not sure that this worked the best because I think people overestimated how much was for each person. It was a nice idea though.
Time seemed to fly at Beaufort Street Merchant and before we knew it was time for to head next door to Raah.
As mentioned Raah is a newbie to Beaufort Street. It’s a Middle Eastern Restaurant and they have done a really wonderful job of the fit out. It looks just beautiful as you walk in with coloured lights and a large tiled water feature near the bar. Very special.
At Raah we were sat in groups again and given a large array of different dishes to share. I was really impressed with the volume of food that we were given. No one was going to go hungry. Drinks here was a choice of either red (The Yard Mourvedre Grenache Shiraz 2009) or white wine (Larry Cherubino Saracen Estate SSB 2010)
Onto the food though, the dishes just seemed to keep coming and coming and the aromas that they gave off were so appealing – very fragrant with the array of spices that were used. I haven’t been to many Middle Eastern restaurants but I thought that there definitely some interesting dishes that they bought us out. Being their first night I thought it really did show case what they had on offer at Raah.
So what did we eat….. well there was:
Yoghurt marinated goat with Turkish Chilli and Eggplant Relish
Iranian Princes Rice Pilaf
Rough Cut Tabouleh with Candied walnuts and Baharat spiked dressing
Ras al Hanout rubbed and Roasted Potatoes
Iceberg salad with French radish, soft herbs and apple mint dressing
It was plenty of food. Highlights for me were the rice dish, which was just full of flavour I thought and also so pretty with all the flowers that had been decoratively added on top. I did enjoy the goat dish, I don’t often eat goat, so nice to try something new, I thought perhaps it could have done with a little bit more zap though. Only slightly and the goat itself was cooked perfectly. The potatoes packed a bit more heat and it was refreshing to then have the tabouleh and iceberg salad to finish. For their first night of opening I thought they did a great job.
Finally it was time to wander all the way up Beaufort Street to Cantina 663. They really made you earn your dessert. Totally, totally worth the walk though. We were each presented with a Strawberry pannacotta with sorbet and coulis and a glass of dessert wine, fusta nova moscatel.
It was a perfect pannacotta, a creamy strawberry wonder.
I had wished that GG wouldn’t finish his, but he apparently shared my sentiments, as everyone around the table did – none left on anyone’s plates. The dessert wine was very sweet, but I didn’t mind it. GG isn’t a dessert wine fan for the most part so I helped where I could and polished his off too.
And so ended the Roving Dinner. Brilliant idea, well executed and with some sensational food and excellent company. Well done to all involved – looking forward to next year already!