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Good morning Melbourne (and the globe, to whoever is reading this elsewhere!)… Apologies on the lack of postings.. I’ve been so bogged down with work and everything else.. but I have RETURNED!!! (All hail!)

On the first weekend of June (4th-6th) and on that Sunday, the Boy had a surprise prepared for me…

(George Colambaris’s restaurant meals)

Now, he had prepared me that Sunday would be a surprise.. so I spent that whole week guessing where he would take me for lunch/dinner (the last surprise was Embrasse)

(Gary Mehigan’s restaurant meals)

So after church on Sunday, when he said he needed to collect some tickets in Crown (at Ticketek).. I was suspecting that we would be dining at Maze or Bistro Guillaume

(Shaun Bowle’s menu)

So as we parked and were getting out of the car, he stopped me and said, “Aren’t you going to wear your heels?”… so this confirmed my suspicion that we would be dining at Crown… just where, that was going to be my surprise…

So I followed him to the Ticketek booth (which I now know, that he knew would be closed)… and he suggested that we try the booth at Southern Cross instead.. and I whined that I wasn’t going to walk that distance in my heels!

(Pete Evan’s menu)

He said, “Don’t be silly, we’ll catch the tram”… so I grudgingly went along… and at the intersection (in front of Lucky Chan, we saw Neil Perry a.k.a. Steven Seagal at the window.. and I squealed!… maybe another round at Rockpool?)…

But then the Boy said, “Oh, I KNOW… let’s try the Melbourne Convention Centre to see if they have tickets there!”.. I looked at him doubtfully, but happy that I would have to do less walking…

At the steps of the Melbourne Convention, I saw the big banners notifying me that I had been duped and that my surprise was the Good Food and Wine show!!! YAYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!

I was utterly and completely flabbergasted with his nonplussed facial expressions and leading me on to wear my heels (WHICH gave me a few blisters and we had to return to the car to change back to proper shoes… all the while, the Boy patting himself proudly on the head on a Surprise well done!)

Note: EVERYONE (whom I had related this story to) said that my blisters well worth it and nobody bothered about the pain =(… lols.. I just like to whinge…

(Gary Mehigan’s Fennel and Grapefruit Salad served with Hardy’s Nottage Hill Sauvignon Blac)

With hundreds of booths relating to Food and Alcohol… I was in heaven!

Because it was lunchtime and the crowd hadn’t yet arrived, we headed straight to the celebrity restaurant (the only area for dining)… with Entrees costing $16; Mains costing $24, and Desserts costing $8… we actually started with mains, then dessert and then went back to entree’s.. but for the purpose of your reading pleasure.. this has been re-arranged =) Full menu at the bottom of this post

Shaun Bowles’s Taste of Victoria entree which consisteed of Sugar cured ocean trout with Yarra Valley salmon roe, Vitello Tonato-Poached Warragul veal with tuna mayonnaise and white anchovy and Red Hill goats cheese with brioche and baby pear

The Boy said the veal was alright, but I actually quite liked the goats cheese and I thought it went interestingly well with the baby pear… sweet and savoury at the same time…

The Boy had George’s Braised Chicken and Celery Fricassee (Fricassee is another word for stewed, typically done with poultry dishes)… served with Hardys Oomoo Adelaide Hills Chardonnay

This was quite nice (I stole some to try)… and although it was nice… there wasn’t anything special with this dish…

I had a magnificent Bastilla of Lamb, Olives and Pine Nuts from Gary Mehigan’s counter… served with Hardys Nottage Hill Pinot Noir (I don’t normally like reds but this went really well with the dish)

Ever since I saw Gary making Beef Wellington on masterchef and seeing the wonderful puff pastry bits and oozing meat inside… I’ve been jealous (because I don’t eat beef or any part of any cow… Yes, this includes veal)

But no longer! I loved this meat pie (that’s what it is in essence)… the meat was seasoned beautifully and the pastry was light and flaky…

A quick shot of Gary’s Panna Cotta with Rhurbarb compote served either with Hardy’s Oomoo Clare Valley Sparkling Shiraz or T2 Melbourne Breakfast Tea or both

We didn’t actually try this dish, so I can’t comment on the taste.. but it looks pretty!

For dessert, I caught a glimpse of a little girl hurrying back to her dining table with this dish (this area is self served)… and I couldn’t lose out to a little girl!

Shaun Bowles’s Apple, Rasberry, and Calvados Cobbler with Vanilla Ice-Cream (suggested serve with T2 Sencha Vanilla Tea)

This was indeed heaven on earth and I melted with every spoonful…

Overall, the food was excellent (the chef’s were around after all, when they weren’t doing their cooking shows or autograph sessions…)… although.. I didn’t see Shaun Bowles or Pete Evans… although I’m sure the former was lurking around somewhere being the Executive Chef to the venue…

More surprises to come (for me) in the next post!!

In case you’re wondering what the meals were… I’ve typed it out here for you (for those that have bothered scrolling all the way down =) This has disappeared from the Good Food Show website and all that remains is Perth’s menu.

Gary Mehigan
Entree $16 Fennel and grapefruit salad
Main $ 24 Bastllia of lamb, olives and pine nuts
Dessert $8 Panna cotta with rhurbarb compote

George Colambaris
Entree $16 Warm salad of squid with chickpeas and wild greens
Main $24 Braised chicken and celery fricassee
Dessert $ Chocolate and walnut tart, salty caramel sauce

Pete Evans
Entree $16 Sweet corn soup with crab
Main $24 Chilli mussels on rice with Asian herbs
Dessert $8 Goat’s curd cheesecake with passion fruit sauce

Shaun Bowles
Entree $16 Taste of Victoria –> refer to above pictures and description
Main $24 Braised short rib of beef with flat noodles and Chinese broccoli, Pecorino, cracked pepper and ricotta tortellini with salsa verde
Dessert $8 Apple, raspberry and calvadoes cobbler with vanilla ice-cream