Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: A tale of two years

The 12 months of 2014 have been some of the craziest yet in my life, and not in that drunken, dazed manner of my early 20s. With new responsibility, the year has had so many distinct twists and turns that it feels like at least two years in one.

Here's some of the high points of the year in food, booze and events, including highlights from contributors Hendy, Janice and Kath & Mark.

House charcuterie at Nomad, Foster Street, Surry Hills
I fell head over heels for Nomad this year, which seems to be a collection of all the things I love in a space I wish I had and done in just a slightly more hipster manner than I can identify with, But with the calling card of the platter of completely house-made charcuterie, Nomad well and truly has my number.

Mac and cheese at Miss Peaches Soul Food Kitchen, Missenden Road, Newtown
My appetite for pasta, and carbs generally, hasn't waned one bit and the American-style mac'n'cheese at Miss Peaches Soul Food Kitchen above Newtown's Malbourough Hotel hits all the right spots. Ridiculously cheesy and rich, garnished with chives and a house chilli sauce on the side, it's pure cheese and carb bliss in a side dish.

Insalata Caprese at Cipro - pizza al taglio, Fountain Street, Alexandria
It's taken me a while to discover the joys of thick-based pizzas at Cipro - pizza al taglio in Alexandria. And it makes me sad that I didn't know about their sensational Caprese salad earlier. Heirloom tomatoes, pickled Spanish onion rings and smashed green olives take the classic insalata Caprese up several levels.

Mussels.... at Three Blue Ducks, Macpherson Street, Bronte
I've really come to like mussels over the last couple of years post realising that they're only rubbery when they're overcooked. The best version I've had yet has to be Bronte's Three Blue Ducks' steamed mussels with coconut sambal, fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes - dish licking good.

Club Limbo at Pinbone, Jersey Road, Woollahra
Kath: Pinbone wins for making the best club sandwich ever. Turkey, confit duck leg, bacon jam, crispy prosciutto, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and chips on the side. More than enough said.

Anchovies and fish pate at Bodega, Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
A relatively quiet achiever in the quieter but burgeoning western end of Surry Hills, Bodega is the older but seemingly more experimental sibling to the wildly popular Porteño in the same suburb.

Argentinian tapas produces the likes of a creamy fish pate served alongside pickled anchovies, loud music and unmissable rockabilly style.

Fried chicken with chilli powder at Hot Star Large Fried Chicken, Liverpool Street, Sydney
The mere mention of 'Hot Star' gets me salivating. From Taiwan, Sydney's first Hot Star Large Fried Chicken outlet in the city south is what 3am dreams are made of. A half chicken breast, deep fried fresh to order with a sprinkling of house recipe chilli powder, served piping hot in a paper bag - sweet dreams are made of fried chicken.

from the 'A Taste of The Dairy' at Intercontinental Sydney, Phillip Street, Sydney
The 'A Taste Of...' series of dinners at Intercontinental Sydney earlier in the year were excellent opportunities to learn about local producers and enjoy them in a fine dining environment. As part of the 'A Taste of The Dairy' dinner, the baked Reblochon cheese with confit fig was a knee-weakening rendition of a cheese course.

Carbonara from Roscioli Deli and Restaurant, Rome, Italy
Janice: My favourite dish this year had to be the carbonara in Rome. It was so spectacular because it's my quintessential dish of carbs, cheese (pecorino romano) and cured meat (guanciale or pig cheek, in this case). I've taken to never eating it when I'm out any more because nothing beats the ones I had in Rome.

Grilled octopus and white beans at Alpha, Castlereagh Street, Sydney
I'm glad I got to tick Alpha in the CBD south off the list this year, as was Kath. The grilled octopus tentacles were an unexpected standout for me, cooked tenderly and smokily for one of the best occy dishes I've had in ages.

Kath: Alpha was a highlight for bringing a modern twist to traditional Greek food. The highlight of the menu for me was the melt-in-the-mouth pickled octopus with cucumber and sun-dried olives.

Bacon aioli and bread at Bishop Sessa, Crown Street, Surry Hills
Bacon. Aioli. It's all I needed to hear at Bishop Sessa at the quieter end of Surry Hills' Crown Street. Their 'I Dream of Pork' degustation was absolutely dream-worthy with all sorts of porcine goodness ranging from chicarrones to blood sausage.

They had me from the bread course which was served with a smokey bacon fat aioli that was probably a nutritionists' nightmare but dreamy on all other counts.

Pork cutlet bun at Chefs Gallery Wynyard, Metcentre, Margaret Street, Sydney
Undoubtedly one of the naughtiest things I've eaten this year are the Macanese pork buns at Chefs Gallery Wynyard. Featuring a deep fried pork cutlet and spicy mayonnaise on a deep fried man tou style bun, the fried-on-fried burger oozed with fatty deliciousness.


Long lunch for Melbourne Food and Wine Festival at Red Spice Road, Melbourne
I made it to Melbourne for their annual food and wine festival this year, joining in on the long lunch action at Red Spice Road. With numerous courses of shared dishes, heaps of seafood and wine flowing, it was a most pleasant lunch experience in one of Melbourne's iconic laneways.

Strawberry caipirinha from Flavours of Brazil dinner at Bridge Street Garage, Bridge Street, Sydney
Hendy: The emotional roller coaster that was the World Cup was hosted in Brazil this time round. We all shared moments of tears, laughter and joy at the Flavours of Brazil dinner at Bridge Street Garage, including this lovely and colourful Caipirinha. Unlike at the soccer, this was a winner from Brazil.

Atura Blacktown, Cricketer's Arms Road, Blacktown
A famil to Blacktown this year was quite an event for this inner city/inner west dwelling girl. Atura Blacktown is a relatively new boutique style hotel in the area next door to one of Sydney's only drive in cinemas. The hotel is modern, quirky and very well equipped for the Wet'n'Wild guest, business travellers and western suburbs tourists alike.

Chauffeur pick-up for Tanqueray Bar Hop for Good Food Month 2014, Sydney
Definitely the most fun event of the year was the Tanqueray Bar Hop as part of Good Food Month. One night, two girls, one chauffeur and four bars serving Tanqueray gin cocktail specials. I still keep a hopeful eye out for a chauffeur outside my work to pick me up and take me to a bar for cocktails.

Table of 10 dinner at OzHarvest HQ, Maddox Street, Alexandria
One of the more heart-warming events of the year was OzHarvest's 10 year celebration dinner at their new warehouse headquarters in Alexandria. With a combination of rescued and donated food, OzHarvest's chefs whipped up an amazingly homely, comforting and thoroughly scrumptious dinner, shared with great wines and even better company.

Carrots with organic yoghurt, black olive crumb from Sustainable Table dinner, Studio Neon, Raglan Street, Waterloo
Hendy: Also for Good Food Month Sustainable Table, an  innovative not-for-profit organisation from Melbourne, launched a clever campaign to raise awareness of food wastage. The food that was presented at the campaign dinner not only demonstrated the elegance of simplicity but also reminded us that good food and good produce can also look a tad imperfect.

Dîner en Blanc Sydney 2014, McKay Field, Centennial Park
The sea of sophisticated white that is Dîner en Blanc returned to Sydney bigger than ever. About 4,000 guests participated in the great white picnic in the secret location of Centennial Park this year and thanks to Seppelt Wines, we were wined and dined in total style - in full whites, of course.

Goodbye 2014!

As the year comes to an end, I'd like to send a huge thanks to my team of contributors - Hendy, Janice, Kath & Mark - for their inspired food-eating and photographing efforts this year. It's been loads of fun, sharing the passion for food and booze (perhaps less so the shoes?).

Thanks also to all the readers and followers over the past year, and the five years before it. It's been a year of change, some stress and new responsibilities - and always plenty of food, booze and shoes - thanks for joining me and the team along the way. See you around in 2015!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Champagne Room: Brunch decadence on Crown Street

Posted by Kath

Perrier-Jouet bottles at Champagne Room, upstairs at The Winery, Crown Street, Surry Hills
It's that time of the year when champagne flows and one too many is just too hard to resist. For bubbles at brunch too, the new Champagne Room upstairs at The Winery in Surry Hills offers its new brunch menu with champagne on arrival.

Champagne Room bar
The Winery is surely a staple on the Crown Street strip by now, but that hasn't stopped them from re-inventing their upstairs real estate into the perfectly decadent retreat that is the Champagne Room.

Perrier-Jouet Champagne flutes on arrival
A-la-carte options are available but let the work be done for you with the new weekend brunch offerings and $75 set menu which includes that all important flute of Perrier-Jouet Champagne on arrival.

Champagne Room service button
The well-stocked bar upstairs is beautifully decorated with an impressive number of chandeliers, while blue velvet booths and a service bell for when the bubbles are running low offer a luxe escape from reality.

Freshly shucked oysters and raw Hervey Bay Scallops
Champagne Room's new weekend brunch menu is more lunch than brunch, and couldn't have started any better than with a serving of the most creamy Sydney rock oysters in a light champagne vinaigrette with a lemon cheek on the side.

Accompanying these were another favourite of mine, Hervey Bay scallops, covered in a lemon salt, truffled peaches and crispy pancetta which added great contrast to the sweet raw scallops.

Jamon, bresola & sopressa with chicken liver parfait, cornichons, green apple chutney and mustard fruits
Continuing with things I love, out came a very generous serving of chicken liver parfait which was incredibly light and fluffy, and would have been more than enough to keep me happy for the entire meal.

It was served alongside charcuterie from Byron Bay: paper thin jamon and bresaola, and sopressa salami; all accompanied by a gorgeous selection of cornichons, green apple chutney and mustard fruits.

Seasonal beets salad with sorrel, red kale, Jannei goa'ts curd, sunflower seeds, sherry vinaigrette
A nice side to the share plate was a fresh sweet red and golden beet salad. With on-trend ingredients of sorrel and kale, as well as the always excellent Jannei goat's curd, a zingy sherry vinaigrette helped cut through the richness of the cured meats and chicken liver parfait.

Mini mushroom pie and mini wagyu burgers
Our last savoury items were the mini mushroom pie and mini wagyu burger. The mushroom pie was full of flavour with champagne, thyme, garlic and truffle salsa mixed through with wild mushrooms and encased in freshly made puff pastry.

The sliders sandwiched very well seasoned wagyu beef patties with sliced heirloom tomato, mixed leaves, gruyere cheese and a truffle mayonnaise which I would have loved more of.

Chocolate brownie
To complete this journey of Champagne Room indulgence, there were two desserts on offer; first up a chocolate brownie.

While brownies can be hit or miss, this one was definitely a hit: rich and moist, it practically melted in the mouth, and served with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Summer fruits with champagne sabayon, vanilla and sugared pistachio
A perfect match for a balmy summer's day was the summer fruits dessert, including strawberries, raspberries and blueberries drenched in a champagne sabayon and topped with a berry sorbet.

With brunch available on weekends from 11am, Champagne Room certainly doesn't peddle the usual brunch offerings. The gorgeous selection of fresh seafood and heartier meals, and of course, Perrier-Jouet champagne makes it pure brunch decadence on Crown Street.

Champagne Room signage
Updated hours: Monday and Tuesday from 5pm - midnight; Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm - midnight 

Food, Booze & Shoes dined at the Champagne Room as a guest, with thanks to The Mint Partners.

The Winery on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 15, 2014

Papi Chulo: Ferry to American BBQ, Manly style

While I've crossed the Harbour Bridge more times than I can count this year (usually I can count the annual trips on my fingers and toes), the Spit Bridge is still one I only see on rare occasions. And not even on my recent visit to Manly's Papi Chulo, which can be accessed idyllically via ferry from Circular Quay (though mind the Sunday summer queues if you’ve got a reservation).

One of the more recent additions to the Merivale portfolio, I finally got the chance and fellow willing ferry travellers together to visit the waterside venue (where way back, I’d once attended a Chinese banquet wedding reception!).

Oysters at Papi Chulo, Manly Wharf, Manly
The American-style barbeque offerings are well known at Papi Chulo, and the menu surprised with various Asian and South American influences rolled in too.

Looking picture perfect on ice in a metal dish, we started with well-sized Pacifics which were lovely and briney on their own with lemon, but improved significantly with the tart but well-balanced mignonette dressing featuring a fine dice of green apple.

Cravado cocktail (left) and Bloody Maria (right)
Drinks arrived during the oyster appreciation session, with the ice blended Cravado cocktail ideal for the humid day. Featuring loads of fresh mint, blitzed with ice, vodka, coconut water, lychees and lime, it reminded me of another venue's non-alcoholic slushie but ended up more watery than a proper, boozy cocktail.

The Bloody Maria was a winner though with its almost comical garnish of a large, fresh peeled prawn. The house tomato and spice mix was standout and definitely on the upper end of the spice heat scale; stirred well with tequila and mezcal and served in a huge glass with lots of ice.

Snowcrab, green mango, watermelon, herbs, peanuts, chilli lime dressing
As we were going for the signature Papi Chulo BBQ platter to share among three, we went easy on the starters and opted for the light snow crab salad, which turned out to be a delightful Thai or Vietnamese style shredded green mango salad.

With lashings of fresh mint and coriander, roasted peanuts and a bang-on chilli lime dressing, the snow crab flesh shone amid the subtly sweet green mango and chunks of bright red watermelon in the summer-perfect salad.

Papi Chulo BBQ platter
Our small round table could barely handle the main game (which is designed for 2-4 diners) amid the share plates and drinks. A large, metal dish held the varied BBQ meat platter of all the good stuff, starting with my favourite of Ranger’s Valley wagyu beef brisket, smoky and tenderly marbled with fat.

The also fatty Suffolk lamb ribs were super smoky, and we could have polished off well over the 150 gram serving. There were serious rows of fat in the free-range pork belly slices although the maple black pepper was a bit lost on me.

Last was the Kurobuta pulled pork shoulder and as much as I’m a bit over pulled pork, this particularly smoky rendition made for a superb sandwich in the soft bread roll with coleslaw.

The Vietnamese coleslaw comes as part of the BBQ platter – a crunchy red cabbage slaw that was a pleasingly mayo-free zone – and we added a side of curly fries: proper loops and tubes of curled, crunchy potato fries, best dipped into the BBQ sauce that accompanied the platter.

Berry sundae
We requested a birthday dessert to share, not really expecting the rough-and-tumble looking bowl of a berry sundae. With a vanilla-y ice cream showered with a mix of fresh raspberries and blackberries; freeze-dried raspberries and blueberries; minute crisp meringue drops and crumbled shortbread biscuits, it was actually quite a sophisticated take on an ice cream sundae.

Over the remnants of our Pachamama Riesling, we noticed the range of seating options and the more linger-friendly bar counter or booths. The middle aisle tables are fine for waiting out the next ferry though, which is how the rest of our lunch played out.

Thoroughly stuffed with BBQ and all the wonderful additions, it was a short roll to the ferry wharf and its Sunday queues. With soft waves and salty air in our hair, it was a day trip ferry well spent over in Manly.

Papi Chulo on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vodka High Tea at Food Society

Posted by Kath

Nestled in the back streets of Darlinghurst, quirky, old world charm is the backdrop for what is probably one of the most laid-back and unique high tea experiences around town: the vodka high tea at Food Society.

Table setting at Food Society, Riley Street, Darlinghurst
Food Society is known for its unique eastern European offerings as well as being the original masters behind the Cuban themed food offerings at The Lobo Plantation. Head chef Fernando Sanchez ventures into the land of the high tea set on Saturdays, with an almost complete twist on tradition and plenty of flair.

An exciting arrangement of savoury and sweet canapés are matched with premium single origin teas, bubbles and/or vodka-based iced tea cocktails.

Watermelon Caipiroska (front) and  Spiced Apple Pie (back)
To kick off the high tea with a cheeky, boozy twist, we ordered a round of Food Society's signature vodka and tea infused cocktails. A perfect match for a summer's day was the Watermelon Caipiroska with a watermelon black tea, fresh lime and house infused melon vodka, finished with novel and refreshing watermelon ice cubes.

The Spiced Apple Pie cocktail was fuelled by house infused spiced apple juice, cinnamon, star anise, lemon zest and dangerously delicious Zubrowka bison grass vodka, served with crushed ice and a green apple garnish.

Goat's cheese tartlet
The allure of tiny pastries on pretty vintage tiered stands never fails to elicit an inner squeal of excitement from me, and the offerings at Food Society were definitely squeal-worthy.

The top layer of savoury canapés featured a delicate miniature tart of goat's cheese, pine nuts and mint; baked within a buttery shortcrust pastry shell and topped with a fine dice of caramelised fennel and parsnip, which added sweet notes to the creamy quiche.

Duck vol au vent
Next on the menu was an oh-so-retro vol au vent which, on first bite, overwhelmed the senses with a hit of white truffle. Divine with the flaky pastry and chanterelle mushrooms, the truffle flavour matched well with the soft confit duck, finished with a light chestnut cream - so much deliciousness in one little puff pastry case.

Salmon pastrami on truffle salt toast (left) and mini beef pie (right)
The second tier kept the flavours coming with my favourite offering of the day: smoky green tea smoked salmon pastrami atop a small crisp bread vessel of truffle salt toast, paired with pure chamomile flower jelly, celeriac cream and shiso leaves - unique and delicious at any angle.

To finish was a relatively substantial mini beef pie with a house made relish that was just as moreish as the other tiny offerings of the day.

Classic cucumber sandwich (top) and "The best chicken sandwich" 
On another tiered stand high tea tradition ruled with a selection of crustless finger sandwiches, beginning with a traditional cucumber sandwich of shaved cucumber ribbons, chervil cream cheese and pink peppercorns, topped with an added, luxurious surprise of salmon caviar.

Providing a more filling end to the savoury course was "The best chicken sandwich". Sandwiched between buttery, charred brioche slices were flakes of smoky Lilydale chicken with its classic herb partner - tarragon - as well as nasturtium flowers, all held together with a creamy duck egg hollandaise. Best chicken sandwich? Pretty close.

Tea set
At this point a spot of tea was more than welcome to provide some respite between courses. An impressive array of teas is available for selection, including a wide range of single origin tea leaves.

Berry macaron, sweet tea trifle, alfajores and dark chocolate truffle
The selection of sweets was brought forth on a beautifully arranged share platter, without a scone in sight. I started with a berry macaron that was lovely and light, bursting with berry flavour, while the dark chocolate truffle was all you'd want it to be with oozy chocolate inside and hints of lavender and earl grey tea.

The sweet tea trifle presented in a small glass jar was a nice transition from the darker, richer treats - and an exotic one at that. With a light custard of pomegranate and acai berry, a vodka-cured rhubarb jelly, vanilla sponge and sweet pickled Australian hibiscus flowers, the very modern trifle was finished with a salad of pomegranate and acai pearls.

Last of the small bites was the dulce de leche filled shortbread alfajores which had me wishing I could buy these by the box. Light buttery shortbread gave way to creamy dulce de leche that wasn't too sweet but bordering on the perfect, dreamy side of burnt caramel.

Czech style honey cake
What looked like the piece de resistance, lovingly surrounded by pretty white flowers, was the Czech style spiced honey cake. Unexpectedly soft, this delightful cake was crumbly and moist, laced with salted caramel cream and topped with some of the best honeycomb I've had, house made too, and finished with slices of sweet caramelised pears.

For a thoroughly delicious high tea experience that's not the same-old, Food Society provides a beautiful location and experience with a proper twist and all the quirk and flair you'd expect from an eastern European establishment - and with vodka, of course.

Food, Booze & Shoes dined at Food Society as a guest, with thanks to The Buzz Group.

Food Society on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Le Dîner en Blanc Sydney: A white night in Centennial Park

Le Dîner en Blanc Sydney, 29 November 2014, McKay Field, Centennial Park
When it's behaving, summer in Sydney is hard to beat - blue skies, sun shining and people out and about, enjoying life and cheeky drinks in the sun.

We managed to celebrate both the end of spring and start of summer at Dîner en Blanc over the weekend - the third annual Sydney event of the Parisian guerilla picnic phenomenon that's popped up all over the world.

A sea of white in McKay Field
I'd been lucky enough to attend the inaugural Sydney event two years ago, which remains high on my list of all-time most fabulous event experiences. For the third year in a row, the event's been blessed with an evening of clear skies, despite our increasingly volatile Sydney weather.

Dîner en Blanc has grown substantially since landing in Australia, with the wait list for an invite ballooning after the first year. This year's Sydney outing, at the secret location of McKay Field in Centennial Park, hosted 4,000 picnickers all dressed in elegant white as is the DeB tradition.

Guests arriving to the secret location
Boarding a bus near Town Hall with other excited guests of this year's wine sponsor Seppelt Wines, guesses of the secret location came thick and fast as we headed east, out of the city.

We entered the Randwick gates of Centennial Park and saw glimpses of our eventual destination, which was reached on foot through a picturesque tunnel of paper bark trees.

I didn't know McKay Field, our picnic location, even existed till this weekend. Somewhat closed off on three sides by rows of trees, it forms a rather secluded, sheltered meadow of Centennial Park not far from the Duck Pond. For DeB, the space was encircled by five huge, white illuminated rabbit sculptures which also made an appearance at this year's Vivid Sydney festival.

Seppelt Wines table, dressed in white and ready to go
It was here, in our own little piece of Centennial Park, that we and thousands of others would set up for a pop-up picnic of epically sophisticated proportions.

The Seppelt Wines table was set with a white tablecloth, mismatched chairs and fresh white flowers in jars - and of course, plenty of chilled Jaluka Chardonnay and Great Western Riesling (and Piper Heidsieck bubbles to start).

Other diners setting up their tables
It was great fun to watch all the other tables go about setting up their own tables for the night. With foldable chairs and tables in tow, matching their all-white outifts, diners unfolded and decorated tables with great flair and enthusiasm.

I spotted lanterns and baby's breath flowers galore, as well as helium balloons and even live white goldfish - and of course the DeB-essential white cloth napkins at every spot.

Seppelt Wines table
As we sat down to our tables, it was white on white on white - just bliss with the sun shining and champagne in hand. Suffice to say, plenty of photos were taken: of people, outfits, table settings and the gorgeous surroundings.

White on white on white
Catered picnic options are available for those who don't want to carry food along with their furniture, with boxed hampers by Kitchen Catering available for pre-order and collection on site. We scored the Premium Hamper which was a huge box of delicious goodies for a very hungry two (or even three).

(clockwise) Rosemary and chilli focaccia, pickled vegetable and dips&
We started with triangles of Sonoma's rosemary and chilli focaccia, served with Pepe Saya butter and an array of dips: pureed beetroot with yogurt; a super-smokey eggplant dip with tahini and a deliciously spicy hommous with pine nuts and parsley.

Tartly pickled cucumber, carrot and crunchy cauliflower completed the picnic-friendly grazing quartet of plastic tubs.

Potted shrimp and antipasti
I was a bit excited to open up the cardboard tubs to find, essentially, a prawn cocktail salad. With loads of small, creamily dressed prawns set on top of shredded iceberg lettuce, it was a classic if not retro combination that will always taste amazingly of summer for the fresh crustaceans.

The first of the cardboard boxes held more picnic favourites of antipasti and grissini bread sticks. Salami and a spice-edged pastrami joined marinated artichoke and zucchini, juicy flavour-bombs of semi dried tomato pieces and olives.

Seppelt Jaluka Chardonnay
Seppelt's white wine to start and match was the highly drinkable Jaluka Chardonnay which matched the scene and the sun-setting vibe to a tee.

Pasta salad with prosciutto and char grilled lamb on burghul salad
While I could have happily stopped at dips, antipasti and wine, two filled-to-the-brim boxes of cold salad mains awaited.

The first was a farfalle pasta salad with parsley and green beans, topped with three folded ribbons of prosciutto that were divine to devour on their own.

The other was a vibrant burghul salad with kale, pumpkin and red capsicum that was particularly moreish, topped with cold slices of tender, char grilled lamb backstrap.

Seppelt St Peters Grampians Shiraz
Following tastings of the refreshingly dry, clean Great Western Riesling, we had a taste of Seppelt's flagship St Peters shiraz, which was as smooth as it gets with both boldness and fruit very, very restrained - quite the opposite of a big, fruity shiraz.

Cheeses and candied walnuts
Having eaten too much of the generously sized picnic - not even counting the desserts of fig pannacotta or the chocolate mousse that was initially mistaken for pate - I actually struggled to polish off the cheese.

A very good brie and corner of Red Leicester were served with lavosh crackers and a pile of fabulous candied walnuts.

Jake Meadows performing on the harp
There was music throughout the evening but when the live-looped harp performance from singer and musician Jake Meadows came on, the wide-ranging audience was captivated. He made way for more partying and dance tunes as the night went on.

Dîner en Blanc Sydney

Waving napkins, signalling the beginning of DeB festivities
As is DeB tradition, during the night the official 'waving of the napkins' is meant to signify the beginning of the night's festivities.

Given the satellite-style layout of the tables outwards from the centre stage and DJ in McKay Field, we could see the Mexican wave-like, ripple effect of the napkin-waving as they got picked up around the spread out tables and flung around in the air.

Sparklers come out, signalling the time to mingle and dance
Photo by Shayben Moussa, courtesy of Burson-Marsteller
Later in the night post dinner, sparklers are handed out to guests to light in unison and wave about, signalling the time to get social and boogie on the dancefloor - and try to make as many new friends as possible in the process.

Even later, when the last dance has been danced, DeB guests pack up their tables, chairs and rubbish and leave the space without a trace of the evening's proceedings.

An organisational and logistical feat, the white night in Centennial Park that was Dîner en Blanc capped off another successful year and event for the lucky 4,000 guests - and it's promised to be bigger and better yet again in 2015. See more photos on my Facebook page.

Food, Booze & Shoes attended Dîner en Blanc Sydney as a guest of Seppelt Wines.


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