Gazette, the new dining room at Print Hall was the scene of our Melbourne Cup lunch a few weeks ago – and turned out to be one of the best we have attended over the years. While the outstanding dining room that was Print Hall has closed to be re-invented as a more casual style place with an Italian bent, the food on offer still impressed.
The day began with an hour of free flowing Moet et Chandon accompanied by canapés in the hour leading up to the Cup, followed by a sit down two course meal – main and dessert.
The champagne actually really did flow freely with our glasses never empty as waiters kept the an eye on proceedings – there was also, I believe, free flowing beer – a couple of brews from Colonial – as well as SSB and Shiraz, but when the choice is with champagne the others will never get a look in, especially with Lady FWO and me.
With the drinks we were served a series of canapés – starting with freshly shucked oysters, plump and salty, and then goat curd tarts – crumbly shells filled with creamy, sharply sour filling topped and drizzled truffled honey – complemented the wine well.
Another of these little snacks really dazzled – mushroom arancini with asiago cheese – the filling in these crisp balls was excellent, earthy, aromatic. Just delightful.
Veal carpaccio, paper thin, pink, and served with tuna aioli and crisped capers to add a slug of saltiness also hit the spot.
While we snacked and sipped a few sweeps were sold – and in a stroke of luck one of mine turned out to be Max Dynamite who managed third place and a prize for me – then it was the running of the Cup – and Rekindling’s triumph.
A last refill of the champagne and we retired to our tables for the main –firstly, salmon – juicy, crisp skinned, served with roasted cherry tomatoes, charred asparagus and fennel.
Another of the three choices – grilled lamb shoulder, tender, retaining a touch of pinkness – was served with sweet corn purée.
Finally dessert – frozen nougat flavoured with chocolate and nuts, accompanied by sour cherries and crackly praline – rounded out the meal.
This was a fun day – the food was good, the atmosphere exciting and upbeat, the champagne cold and refreshing and on demand – what more could you ask for? The crowd was friendly and enthusiastic and we have a wonderful time – we will return to try the wider menu in a more traditional manner soon. Gazette from our outing seems to have struck all the right notes.