To celebrate we are putting on a picnic! Several actually.
Every Sunday in October you can enjoy your own very quirky Spring Festival Picnic Basket. Focusing on old Victorian era picnic traditions and childhood excitement this basket will have you feeling like gentry but giggling as though you're five years old again.
At $195 an elegant basket for two will include two unique bottled cocktails each and a bottle of house 'spring' water, all paired with three courses of Spring-inspired hand crafted delicacies with a surprise or two in store.
All in the lead up to our Spring Feast to be held on Melbourne Cup day (6th of November). Our cunning bar and kitchen are already taking inspiration Spring festivals from across the world and turning them into edible and drinkable delights.
As a special treat, those who purchase our Spring Picnic baskets will receive a special discount to our last Spring event, ‘Spring Liqueur Adventure’, where you will be taken off to the Victorian countryside to pick your own seasonal berries and be instructed how to create your very own spring liqueurs by Qualia’s owner Nick Rose. Baskets will also include a pre-ordered copy of his new book How to Drink: Liqueurs.
Picnics Baskets and seats for the Festival Feast and Spring Liqueur Adventure are very limited so don’t miss this opportunity and book early. You can either call us, drop us an email or just pop down during opening hours for a festive drink and chat.
It’s not every day a bartender gets a phone call from someone in his or her previous profession (unless you were once a telemarketer of course). For me that day came on the 20th of March when I received a call from a public relations company handling Australia Pork Limited, an industry body responsible for National Bacon Week.
Our previous exploits in Bacongasm and Bacongasm 2.0 had caught their attention and the idea of a bacon cocktail piqued the interest of a nationally broadcast breakfast program. Two days later I was up at some ungodly hour with a live TV crew doing their best to make me look as un-douche-y as possible for the four minutes of my segment.
Click the pic for the video
I couldn’t see what the hosts were doing but hey, they were entertaining to listen to and I hope they got a few laughs from the audience at home. In case you missed the recipe, here it is:
(and no it doesn’t taste like chicken)
1 ¾ of Bacon White Rye (technique below)
1/3 Crème de Cacao (white is best)
¼ Maple Syrup
Crispy Bacon to Garnish
Reserve one sage leaf for garnish, the rest clap in your hands and throw them in a stirring glass, top with the Rye and leave aside to steep while you crisp up the bacon.
Add Crème de Cacao, maple syrup and ice then stir for at least 3 minutes (this drink needs to get really cold and nicely diluted).
Fill a tumbler with crushed ice, pour in the drink, clap the reserved sage leaf and add it alongside the bacon and a couple of straws… nectar.
Bacon White Rye is dead easy. Cook up some really nice bacon that has some quality curing and smoking flavours (as many grams of bacon as you have ml of alcohol). Once it’s all super crispy and all of the fat has rendered out (low-med temperature can help this) pour the fat into a jar filled with your white rye spirit and leave it covered for at least 12 hours.
After it’s been left you can pour it through cheesecloth and get rid of the solidified fat.
The best White Rye spirit you can get is a very new product from Belgrove Distillery in Tasmania, it’s smoky, flavoursome and has a real hit of definite toasted rye grain, perfect. Contact Peter directly through the website.
Some of my favourite customers have previously suggested my relationship with my bar is very much like Bernard Black's and my chef's personality is disturbingly like Manny's. For those who have no idea what this means:
So for an entire week we re-decorated the bar, provided nightly themed degustations and cocktails and had a performance poetry/storyteller showdown. All of this in an attempt to raise money for a very worthwhile charity Room to Read.
A DIY Super Wine (specially prepared $5 wine, vanilla ice cream, oak extract and nutmeg) and Luxury Pie (Lobster, saffron, truffles, caviar and champagne) were the hits of all three degustations and nothing seemed to shock quite so much as how nice the ice-cream laden wine seemed to taste. Everybody was well sozzled and stuffed by the end of it all and each night brought in a nice profit to put towards our global literacy program.
For the Book-Worm Showdown we invited local performance poets and storytellers to compete for very limited glory and the chance to wear the Worm
Our biggest Christmas celebration this year was a truly entertaining deconstruction of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Eight courses of food and cocktails representing the five staves and three ghosts, with a surprise influence from the Muppets’ Swedish Chef, kept everyone entertained, sloshed and stuffed like only a traditional holiday feast can. Full report, video and recipes will be up soon so stay tuned!
It isn’t every day you get to eat bacon is it? It’s sort of that special meal you treat yourself to when you are either completely hung over or feel like you deserve a lazy morning with a hot breakfast. Well that or you happen to be on holiday at a cheap hotel that somehow managed to win your patronage by including a “free buffet breakfast” with your stay.
Either way it’s pretty simple and tends to be served either on bread or with eggs on the side. That is, unless you have a chef like Eric Forrest.
This is Eric. No really, he handles our food.
This savant-level culinary genius loves bacon so much he cures his own, with our Glenlivet single malt no less. He then cold or hot smokes it and serves it up in many of our dishes, has it with corn-grits (virtually impossible to find in Australia) for breakfast or comes up with lovely ideas like a seven course bacon degustation menu called Bacongasm.
Last Sunday we all got to join in on his vision of a world fuelled by preserved pork and it was amazing. I did my own small part by creating “Le Petit Cochon” a bacon infused bourbon cocktail, more on that later. For now here’s some of the great food-porn pics our lovely guests have posted since to accompany my menu breakdown:
Vegetarian Bacon Popcorn
Bacon Pâté, House Foccacia and Bacon Caviar on Cream Cheese and Cucumber
From left to right: Jalepeno Popper, Candied Bacon, Bacon-wrapped Apple
Triple-cooked Chips served with Baconaise
Le Petit Cochon
The Monte Bacono, Eric's healthy take on the Monte Cristo