Food and drink played a massive part in my decision to unpack my backpack in Melbourne nearly six months ago. Dubbed as the ‘foodie‘ capital on the Southern Hemisphere, if not the world, Melbourne certainly has a lot on offer. Another thing Melbourne does particularly well are events. With that in mind I have been looking forward to the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) for a loooong time.
A big part of the action takes place along Southbank, with the Southgate Fiesta running from Saturday 28th February until Sunday 1st March, forming part of the ‘Open Kitchen‘ weekend . During this time, some of Southgate’s best restaurants are showcasing their menus by offering tasting platters for just $15. I think this is exceptionally good value considering I paid $12 for three mini spring rolls and $7 for a slice of cake at last night’s food market. Not only does $15 get you a decent sized plate of food, but entry to the wine tasting area, where Brent and I enjoyed tasting some great wines.
Courtesy of the restaurant, our first tasting plate was at Bluetrain where we sampled a selection of favourites from their menu including:
- Prawn and crab salad with salmon roe on a light tobacco and tomato custard
- Zucchini & feta fritter with tomato relish and a lemon & mint sour cream
- Marinated kangaroo fillet with a salt bush & raspberry salad, candied prosciutto with an Australian bush finger lime dressing
- Peanut salted caramel layered chocolate cake, chocolate fudge, fresh berries and milo ice cream
We were also offered a drink with our food and said we’d go for whatever the waiter recommended, which was of course, the house white but a very nice house white none the less. The plate was nicely presented and each dish had a lot of flavour. In fact, I don’t think there was one dish we didn’t like. The service was good but we felt a little forgotten about after our food was served, but I guess this was because we didn’t have a bill to pay.
After food we headed to the wine tasting were we sampled a selection of wines before heading to Waterfront Restaurant for another tasting plate. Here we were treated like royalty, with a lovely English waitress offering us a glass of bubbly – it was a Saturday, how could we resist! We were given some bread and butter with our bubbles which was probably for the best after all that wine, they knew us too well. The tasting plate at Waterfront included:
- Coffin Bay Oyster with chef’s special dressing
- Chilled prawn with cocktail sauce
- King salmon sashimi salad
- Beef tataki with baby herbs, shallots, soy & ginger dressing
Again, everything on this plate we enjoyed apart from the oysters which no matter how hard I try to like them, I just can’t seem to slurp them down without wincing. After our second lunch of the day we headed back to the wine tent where we stayed until close, chatting to the ever-so-friendly vineyard owners. After giving away a few of his beers for people to sample, Brent picked up a couple of bottles of wine for us to take away so we didn’t go home empty handed. Overall we had an enjoyable day out at the Southgate Fiesta where we got to try out some of Southgate’s restaurants which we had previously overlooked. My perception of Southgate was always a little ‘touristy’ so I had never considered dining at one of the restaurants along the river for fear of them being overpriced and too ‘chain-like’. However, I was very much mistaken as the food we had at Waterfront and Bluetrain was actually very good for $15 and we wouldn’t hesitate to return.
Living life, loving MFWF,