What's better than finishing work early? How about finishing work early and then find a Sydney Water Taxi waiting for you in the harbour, ready to take you to eat until your hearts content. Snapshots of Food was invited by Espoir Communications and Kun Rahadian (Director of Sales and Marketing for Q Station) to dine at their interactive and informative Food Through the Classes dinner, at the Boilerhouse.
Located only a short drive away from Manly, is the Q Station. If you are thinking about planning a large event, or even planning the next corporate weekend, then Q Station, with its 30 acres of land is an ideal option for you.
Not only is the event site great, but the location is spectacular. With Manly on one side, and the City on the other, what more could you need? The below is not food related, but it definitely captures the beauty of this location.
Q Station (or Quarantine Station) was never always a function site.. it was once an area where migrant ships who had been flagged "diseased" would port, and be quarantined for a lengthy time before officially entering Australian Society. Therefore one can only imagine the type of stories that would come from the rich history...
The evening began with a brief act which was trying to re-create the history of the Q Station where a dashing young sea captain was sent to encounter the diseased people (the guests) and provide a brief insight into the history of the Q Station.
While we were waiting to be seated, we were spoiled with Sparkling Wine for the first class passengers, Gin and Tonic for the middle class passengers and a beer (in a brown paper bag) for the rest of us lower "working class" passengers. Matt was absolutely fine with being served a Lashes Pal Ale, as it is his preferred drink. However the crisp gin and tonic was the ideal drink on a warm summer night, as it was very refreshing!
Rich Man, Poor Man Style Oysters
Whilst the alcohol is important, we were also there to taste the food and we were presented with Oysters served in two different styles.
Rich Man - Oyster with Caviar
Not so Rich Man - Leek and Potato Oyster Shooters
We were then ushered into the Restaurant (Boilerhouse) where all seats were allocated and lucky for us, we were located in the best position to watch the plating up sessions with Matt Kemp!
While the buildings are heritage, the interior has all been refurbished. If the restaurant is any indication of what the rest of the venue looks like, then we might just come back to stay overnight (with the ghouls!). Christie would love that.. perhaps our next anniversary retreat?
First Class - Poached Smoked Haddock Fish Cakes with Wild Weeds
paired with Bella Riva Pinot Grigio
The rule at all blogger tables is that your camera eats first. So after all the hustle and bustle of picture taking, Matt was quick to reach for what he thought were "giant arancini balls" but unbeknownst to him, that it was actually fish cake... the fish cakes were truly amazing. There was no seafood (or fishy) taste and the batter was very light and crisp.
Third Class - Beef Braised in Ale with Cabbage, Carrots & Suet Dumplings
paired with De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate Grown Shiraz
If this is the style of food that third class passengers ate back some time ago, then please sign us up. While there were only a few elements on the plate, each was done well and each complimented the other. While the beef was a little dry, there was plenty of sauce to be soaked up which made it a very enjoyable -homely- dish.
During each intermission between meals, Matt Kemp would display the plating up method for each dish. Every plate he made seem simple, then once we had the opportunity to try, we completely failed. Full disclosure - we will not be providing the pictures of our failed creations.
Second Class - Whole Saddle of Mutton, Neeps and Tatties with Garden Mint Sauce
paired with Bella Riva Sangjovese
Who needs to pay for first class, when second class is just as good. This dish was our favourite and the highlight of the night. We love eating the Saddle of the lamb as opposed to the traditional lamb cutlets or shanks. It has got to be one of the best section of the lamb to roast because the meat is quite tender and lean, yet it still has a nice layer of fat, that if done well can be truly amazing.
Thank the lamb gods because this was perfection on the plate for us. The meat inside was nice, tender and importantly moist! Then you have the crunchy fat that has been charred. Soak it up with the jus and mint sauce, and you are in heaven! Christie loved that mint sauce....
Middle Class - Pimms Jelly with Cream and Fruit
When this dish was brought to the table, everyone's eyes lit up. It is so aesthetically pleasing to the eye that you could preserve it and use it as a nice ornament in your house. While it looked great, unfortunately we were not big fans of this dish. What we didn't like about this dish was how the cream had settled, I think we were more expecting to have a much creamier texture (like a strawberry and cream combo). The other thing worth noting is that while the small petal flowers are great for decoration, the fragrance can be quite strong. However, there were mixed reactions around the table. It is probably best to try for yourself before you judge!
But hey... if they were to make it into a candle for your house, we would definitely buy it.
Finer Style Sweets - "High Tea" Selection of Traditional and New Idea Sweets
paired with Deen De Bortoli Vat 5 Botrytis
It is true that your brain will subconsciously make room for dessert, however that was last course. By this point the only one left eating was Matt and his trusty sweet tooth. The serving was elegantly presented and it truly did feel like high tea. The creme brulee was the crowd favourite!
We were also lucky enough to meet the 2015 winners of My Kitchen Rules, Will and Steve (the Gourmet Pommies). They were such lovely people to speak with and seemed to be quite interested in the food blogging community. We really hope the best for these guys, it was a well deserved effort! Thank you to Espoir Communications for extending us the invitation to attend such a fun night. A great big (bear hug-esque) thank you to Kun for his hospitality, and for scaring Christie with the impromptu car tour of the haunted areas. You can really see how dedicated he is to his job!
If you enjoyed this post and would like to attend Boilerhouse for yourself, they will be hosting a November Long Lunch where Ambassador Chef Matt Kemp will showcase his cooking skills in various demonstrations. All proceeds will be donated to charity, so what better a time to attend?