A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Blooming good cuisine
Between Saturday 31st October and Sunday 8th November 2015, Southgate is offering a dining experience with a twist as part of Good Food Month – dishes, desserts and specially developed cocktails that all include edible spring flowers. 13 restaurants, offering a range of cuisines, are participating in this special event, where food and drinks are turned into edible art through the inclusion of fresh flowers.
Special menus have been prepared in consultation with edible flower specialist Lauren Richardson of Flowerdale Farm, and feature a range of sweet, spicy, herbal and delicate seasonal spring flowers.
On Sunday 1st, Tuesday 3rd (Melbourne Cup Day) and Sunday 8th November, you have the opportunity to experience the ultimate floral dining event, with restaurants offering 'moveable feast' lunches. This means you can have an entrée at one restaurant, main course at a second, and dessert at a third – the first two courses with matching cocktails – for a set price of $100.
Hophaus is one of the venues participating in Good Food Blooms
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to trial a moveable feast and some of the delicious and creative dishes and cocktails on offer. My feast journey took me from the elegant Miyako for entrée to the classy Pure South for main course, and finally to the more relaxed Hophaus for dessert and tea or coffee.
At Miyako, the entrée was truly a work of art. We dined on Hana Sakari ('flower fully bloomed'), in which sashimi carpaccio was wrapped with asparagus and Persian Gold Petals in translucent rice paper with a marinated Sakura sushi ball. Appealing to the eye, this dish did not disappoint. It was a superb combination of textures and flavours, and new head chef Yosuke Furukawa (formerly Izakaya Den) had the balance just right. The peppery undertones of the Persian Gold Calendula flower cleverly complemented the sweetness of the fish.
Hana Sakari - a feast for the eyes as well as the palate
The matched cocktail at Miyako was the Rosaceae Drop – a refreshing, fruity combination which included rose tea, peach schnapps, violet ronin and fresh passionfruit, topped with a viola flower.
Refreshing and fruity - Miyako's Roseae Drop
Progressing to Pure South Dining, we were served the Mt Gnomon Farm Wessex Saddleback Pork Belly, accompanied with brawn, pureed kohlrabi and viola flowers, and dressed with pork consommé. This was a knockout dish, and I only wish I could cook pork belly as well as this! The flesh was sweet and melt-in-the-mouth tender, with the skin seared to just the right level of crispness. Pork perfection!
Pork perfection at Pure South
For the accompanying cocktail, Pure South selected a 'twist on the New York Sour'. This is a beverage that has an Irish whisky base, with egg white, lemon, apple juice and a splash of pinot noir, topped with a floating viola. While those with sweeter palates might be looking for a spoonful of sugar to add, I felt the drink complemented the sweetness of the pork.
Pure South's New York Sour (with a floral twist)
Finally we visited Hophaus, where we enjoyed a deconstructed cheesecake for dessert. This is a clever combination of fresh and dried raspberries, praline, white chocolate, pistachios – and a sprinkling of fresh violas. Again, it was a well-balanced dish, with the tartness of the raspberries ensuring the palate is not overwhelmed by the sweetness of the white chocolate.
Deconstructed cheesecake - well balanced flavours
While the moveable feast offer does not include a cocktail with dessert, Hophaus did however provide us with its cocktail to taste. Surely the prettiest cocktail of the three, The Aviator comprises gin, Maraschino and violet liquor, with a violet garnish. This drink was smooth as silk, and my favourite of the three I tasted.
The Aviator - smooth as silk
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the moveable feast experience. I enjoyed being able to experience three very different restaurants, each with a different style, approach and ambience, but united by the quality of the food on offer and the thought and care that had gone into its preparation. This is a unique culinary experience that I feel is well worth the $100 investment.