Friday, October 16, 2009

The lunch that stops a Nation

What was that? It is supposed to be "The race that stops a nation"? My apologies. I must admit, I am a fan of a flutter. There is nothing quite like hearing the final lap bell sound, seeing the blurs of colour, screaming out a usually ridiculous name, hearing the races hooves storm home and smelling the grass flying up behind to reveal victory or defeat. It's not only the racing, because often the races are forgotten in favour of sipping and socialising. It's the whole air of formality. And there is one thing I love more than sipping and socialising whilst wearing a frilly at the filles, it's EATING something delectable when there.

If you are not lucky enough to be in a corporate box or the Emirates marquee, a usual race day feast may include a mini eagle boys, something fried and out of the hot box or even a festival staple- the beef and gravox roll. To prevent this sort of disaster happening on race day 09, why not book ahead. There are some lunches in Brisbane that look to be worthy of stopping a nation this year. Thank your lucky stars. This means you will probably be able to see the race and not have your stiletto stuck in the turf whilst trying to jump to see the track behind a crowd of 40 somethings acting like 20 somethings, dressed in a rainbow of suits, their female equiviliants with feather dusters on their head screaming so loudly you can't hear Greg Miles call the bloody race anyway.

If you are one for creature comforts and want something more than a BBQ chook and potato salad from Woolies then why not go the whole hog- or horse....

The hottest ticket in town at $225 bucks a pop is the Lexus of Brisbane Melbourne Cup Event. You can choose to have either a sit down 3 course meal or a canape/cocktail lunch. Either way, you can watch the big race plus fashion parades etc etc.. Sounds like a fun time.

$153 bucks will get you a ticket to the Brisbane Racing Club's Melbourne Cup Day Party. A buffet lunch and beverages are provided- which is always good when you need something to soak up all that champagne- plus you won't have to fight with the commoners as you will have exclusive TAB Access. Go that extra mile and for $195 pp grab a spot in The Home Straight Chalet or if Fashions of the Field is more your thing - $180 buys you access to the Fashion Lawn Marquee. These options also include food and drinks.

Philip Johnson is catering the One Fair Day at Limes Hotel. Gee I'm loving what Limes are serving up lately. First the Pulp Fiction Screening and now this. Tickets are comparatively cheap - $135 pp buys Johnson's famous Ecco style food plus Verve. Now I have had some mixed experiences at Ecco but this menu looks fab. It too includes a canape option and a plated dish option. Some of the Canapes include seasme crusted kingfish, gazpacho and soy marinated quail whilst the plated options include soy braised wagyu cheek, seared squid or porcini and swiss brown risotto. If I can get the day off- this looks like my pick. I know $135 seems to be a lot to spend on a day out- but imagine how much you would actually spend at the races- so basically you are saving thousands. I can rationalise anything food related, however I reckon Philip Johnson is a safer bet than whatever horse has the most appealing colours.

There are TONS of options for Melbourne Cup Day- many of them cheaper than what I have featured here. I just feel that Melbourne Cup Day is enough of an occasion to warrant $150 + per head. seems to have a good database if you are looking for comparisons.

If you are on a budget, why not grab a couple of friends- prepare a feast, grab a bottle of not-so-cheap-it's-nasty and head to a local park with a wireless to tune into the race (old-school, I know.)

And just a word of advice, start talking your boss into it now, first of all so these babies don't sell out and most importantly so you don't end up watching the Cup on the security tv in black and white. Somehow this kills the granduer of the occasion and the Melbourne Cup butterflies and lunches are depressingly far away.

What are you up to on Melbourne Cup Day? Do you have any traditions in your work place/family?

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