From Belgium With Love…. At Stella Artois, we are extremely proud of our Belgian roots. Our story can be seen on every bottle of Stella Artois. If you look closely, hints of our origins are proudly displayed.
The Stella Artois Sensorium recently rolled into town for two special dinners at two particularly lovely establishments – the Brisbane Hotel and the Cottesloe Beach Hotel. A taste of the city and a taste of the sea. This dinner series debuted on the East coast, with dinners in Sydney and Melbourne, and how delightful that Perth was destined to be the third stop of their tour…. They must have heard that West Coasters are a beer loving people 🙂
Melbourne based Chef Adam D’Sylva of Coda and Toka fame was brought across for the events and as I had long wanted to visit his restaurants in Melbourne, I was fairly excited that he’d made his way across the country for a visit.
I went along to dinner number one at the Brisbane. I’m a long time fan of the Brisbane. It is a beautiful and classy pub, not too far from home and their food has always been great. So I was very happy for their kitchen team to be collaborating with Chef Adam, particularly after I spied the menu – it all sounded delicious!! Plus they were actually prepping all the food out in the venue, which is always entertaining. I love seeing what’s going on.
The scene was set for a great night with tables adorned with abundant white floral arrangements, including some particularly stunning orchids and a special Stella Artois stand set up to pour the perfect pint. Seriously, don’t the gold rimmed Stella Artois glasses look that little bit special? We both enjoyed a cleansing ale ahead of the dinner commencing. I’ll admit I’m not the biggest beer drinker, but I do enjoy Stella. It’s smooth and very easy drinking.
To ensure our taste buds were ready for action the friendly staff brought around some of the canapes – Spanner Crab betel leaf with roasted chilli, mint and lime. Each leaf had the perfect amount of fresh herbs to make it an incredibly interesting and moorish mouthful. Just delicious and the perfect balance of spices! It would have been very easy to fill up on those if not for the fact I knew what was still to come.
And soon enough we were seated and with a common appreciation for Stella bringing us together, we all sat down to begin what was set to be an amazing dinner.
Entrees included three dishes, Quail lettuce delight, lap cheong, shiitake mushroom, coriander and water chestnuts; Buffalo mozzarella, zucchini fritters, mint and pea salad and Steak tartare, quail egg, mustard cress and caper melba toasts. Now the latter are literally two of my most favourite things. Buffalo mozzarella is the most wonderfully indulgent cheese. So fresh and creamy and on this occasion well teamed with the crispy battered zucchini fritters, sweet green peas and a drizzle of citrusy lemon oil. It was pure bliss to eat. I liked the hot and cold contrast between the cheese and those fritters too. There was a lot going on and it was all good.
Similarly the steak tartare kicked massive goals with the dainty quail egg yolk placed carefully on top and all ready to be mixed through the expertly spiced blend of tender steak. It had a really nice amount of heat too from said spices, which was not something I’ve had previously with tartare, but hot damn I was on board. The crisp melba toasts were the ideal base for the tartare too. Adding crunch, but not stealing focus. The steak was the star.
Now a lettuce leaf in all its delicateness, is such a perfect little cup. I’ve had San Choy Bow with pork and chicken, but hadn’t tried quail – it worked a treat! I love that contrast between the cool leaf and the heat from the wok fried filling, plus the lettuce helped counter the mild spices. Any day of the week I’m a fan of water chestnuts too. They add such great crunch.
It was very much three from three for the entrees. Loved them. Loved everything about them.
Friendly staff ensured that throughout the night our glasses were never left wanting for a top up for long. Thankfully the expert on hand at the Stella station made quick work of those taps and after a deft pour, you found a new pint in front of you, ready to continue cheers’ing the night away. Such an art to watch a Stella being poured. A little hypnotic as glass after glass is topped up with amber nectar.
We moved onto mains and first up was a pork belly dish – Thi Kho To pork belly, baby corn, chilli aioli – with one of my favourite things – baby corn. Seriously how do they do it? Make them so little I mean? I’m assuming they just pick them early, but I’m not even going to Google, I’ll let it remain a mystery because however it happens I just love them. The pork was tender, sticky and well marinated, proving to be quite the flavour kick. A tasty and vibrant dish with all its many colours.
Our final dish was a Coda signature, Roasted yellow duck curry. It came with a large bowl of coconutty rice. But seriously, that curry, bravo! It was jam packed with duck and had such an incredible depth of flavour. When we’d eagerly worked our way through the duck, even just some of the curry sauce on the white rice was the business. An intense blend of herbs and spices came together to make magic and such was this curry. I only wish I had more room to eat more!
Dessert followed, coconut and banana trifle, and I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest banana fan, but it looked very pretty with its dusting of white and I could appreciate the flavours they had chosen to bring together. Coconut and banana ended our meal with some pleasant tropical fare.
What a night! Epic food to showcase a great beer, plus company that knocked it out of the park. I love to go to a dinner with strangers and leave as friends. The Stella Artois Sensorium dinners are a wonderful night out, so definitely keep an eye on their Facebook page for details of other events they are holding around the country. I feel incredibly fortunate that the tour bus rocked into my fare city. It was such a fun night and my thanks to Stella Artois and 3 Degrees Marketing for the chance to attend.