Sunday, September 5, 2010

Beefsteak & Burgundy: The Experience

Previously I wrote about Beefsteak & Burgundy, a dinner club with branches all over the world, including two in our local town.  I was very excited about our invitation to the September Beefsteak & Burgundy dinner, and I can tell you we were not disappointed.  The dinner was held at a new restaurant in town, so that in itself was something to look forward to.  I bought a new dress especially for the occasion, and was glad I did.  Despite claiming to be quite a 'casual' group, the excuse to 'frock up' was obviously embraced.  Upon arrival we were handed a glass of champagne (Nova Vita Sparkling Chardonnay NV, from the Adelaide Hills, SA) and a name tag, which was a nice touch for guests to a club where we didn't know everyone.  For the next hour we sipped our champagne and enjoyed the entree served as finger food:

Scallop Ceviche
Chicken and Goats Cheese Mousse Tarts
Mediterranean Beef Brochettes

We were then escorted into the main restaurant and seated at our tables.  I noticed a few things here, not only had the tables been beautifully decorated by the host Melissa, but there was also a seating arrangement which allowed members to sit with their guests.  Back to the table decorations quickly... Olive Trees were used as centre pieces and gifts for each couple, with their names attached to each tree also determining the seating plan.  What a great idea!  This was such a lovely gesture, and extremely appropriate as not only is an Olive Branch the symbol of peace and goodwill, but this was also the name of our restaurant.

Immediately after being seated we received an Amuse-Bouche, a small jelly to cleanse the palate, while the club's President stood up begin the official part of the evening.  I felt very chuffed to realise we were not only guests at this dinner, but our friend was also the club President!  The President welcomed everyone, introducing the guests of members with a special welcome.  They went through some quick 'housekeeping', before introducing Melissa, that month's host, to make a quick speech.  The owner of the restaurant had an opportunity to speak, then lastly we were given some information about the wines chosen for the evening by the club's wine master. 

The main course was a choice of two dishes, which we were able to nominate as opposed to an alternate drop:

Rabbit Rillette cannelloni with herb pomme puree, chive veloute & rabbit glace
Served with Rabbit Ranch Pinor Noir 2008 (Central Otago, NZ)
Wagyu Rump with roasted field mushrooms, sage potato & gruyere souffle & cep jus
Served with Hayshed Hill Cabernet Savignon 2008 (Margaret River, WA)

Dinner was DELICIOUS.  As usual, my husband and I ordered one of each, and shared.  This is something we do quite often which so far suits us both (we will be in a bit of trouble when this changes!)

After dinner we had a mint sorbet, again to cleanse the palate, in preparation for dessert:

Apple Tarte Tatin with Caramel sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Jaffa Creme Brulee & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Served with Punt Road Botrytis Semillon 2008 (Yarra Valley, VIC

This actually was one occasion I was reluctant to share.  I had chosen the Apple Tarte Tatin, and it was amazing.  We have recently returned from 6 months in France, and I can say hands down this Tarte Tatin was better than any I had while away.

We had a lovely night, with delicious food, nice wine and great company - all the ingredients that make up this blog, simply prepared in a different way.  Thank you to our friends Stuart and Rae for inviting us to share their dinner club experience with them, and to Melissa for the Olive Tree, which is now happily sitting in our garden, soaking up the rain. 

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