Meet Mason – a charming Frenchman, famous for his imaginative cuisine and tales. And Grace – the more eccentric of the pair, a lover of antiques and vintage. This may sound like a romantic tale of boy meets girl, but instead a tale of a progressive dinner with Mason and Grace.
Foodies gathered excitedly at 6.30 at the outdoor terrace of Mr Mason to enjoy free-flowing champagne and roving canapes to mark the start of the progressive dinner. Charming waiters weaved through the eager crowd tempting us with palate popping plates of cured salmon and horseradish and beef tartare with quail egg and nori.
We were then tempted inside to warm our cockles by the roaring fireplace to enjoy a French inspired meal, compliments of Head Chef Thiago with matched wine. Thiago addressed the hungry guests briefly to explain the largely French inspired menu, which showcased the best of local, seasonal ingredients.
The Berkshire pork belly, which happens to be Thiago’s favourite is a beautiful assembly of pork belly, smoked pork loin, cauliflower and raisin. The belly itself is cooked to perfection with a fatty and succulent underbelly topped with an impossibly crisp golden crackling.The delicate jus brought all the elements of the dish together harmoniously. The match – a full-bodied 2013 Villages Beaujolais.
The barramundi was an equal crowd pleaser. Crispy skinned barramundi was cooked to perfection with a well seasoned skin. The saffron bisque created a beautiful colour and aroma which gently permeated through the barramundi and clams. Its partner – a 2012 French Hugel Riesling, bone dry and well-balanced.
Unfortunately I did not taste the wild mushroom pithivier with madeira and lentil vinaigrette but it looked smashing!
Full of food and good wine, we were then whisked away to the next venue – State of Grace.The restaurant/bar is full of vintage charm and character, literally bursting at the seams with antique collectables.
Within minutes of excited chattering with our neighbours, we were served a decadent selection of their desserts, paired with our choice of Moscato or a Light Botryis Semillon.
A generous slab of dark chocolate mousse was the first to arrive – devilishly rich, smooth and velvety. The addition of crushed roasted hazelnuts and jasmine foam provided a nice textural element to the dessert
A warm pumpkin and hazelnut financier was nicely balanced, incorporating both sweet and earthy, savoury elements. A generous sprinkling of cinnamon sherbet and spiced chantilly cream conjured up feelings of Christmas. Tiny dollops of date puree were scattered around the plate to give the dessert a touch of added sweetness. The perfect winter dish.
After hearing from the head chef, we were ushered into a small room with a mysterious bookcase..
The secret entrance revealed a winding marble staircase, where we found a hidden cellar bar – Fall From Grace. The decadent den was stylishly dressed with chandeliers and candelabras.
The expert bartenders methodically placed glasses of fruity looking cocktails along a long communal table accompanied by small plates of sliced lime.
The limed were lightly spritzed with alcohol then set ablaze by a tiny blow torch, creating an impressive fire display around the table.
Once the limes had cooled, they were placed into the cocktail for an extra flavour punch. Voila their signature Zombie Cocktail! The perfect nightcap to even the evening.
Overall a great evening full of good fun, food and frivolity. Thanks for having us.
Disclosure: I was invited as a guest of Mason of Grace.