Good Food Blooms @ Southgate
The World Loves Melbourne was invited along to the launch preview of fabulous Good Food Blooms in Southgate. Full menu and bookings via www.southgatemelbourne.com.au. A cascade of edible flowers will transform Southgate’s precinct of 13 restaurants and bars during Spring Racing’s Melbourne Cup week, from 31 October until 8 November.
Flowers are starting to blossom at Southgate but not in the way you might think. The restaurants and bars will be serving up a concoct a menu of dishes, desserts and special cocktails featuring a range of sweet, spicy, herbal and delicate seasonal spring flowers.
Edible flowers are typically associated with extravagant cuisine and wedding cakes, but Melbournians will be able enjoy some of their favourite dishes that have now turned into works of art. The World Loves Melbourne was invited for a sneak peek at some of the dishes created by chefs, bartenders and Edible Flower Specialist Lauren Richardson.
“With the current trend in fine dining and gastronomy, food is fashionable, chefs are becoming more creative and food is becoming an art. Edible flowers contribute to the colour palate and architecture of the plate and add something special to the visual creation of a dish,” says Lauren, who supplied edible flowers to The Fat Duck Melbourne, and consistently works with the city’s best chefs. “More recently, we’re also seeing chefs order flowers not just for the visual element, but for the unique flavours and textures they bring to a dish,” says Lauren. “Some flowers have more flavour than others, some are more suited to savoury and some are more suited to sweet. Nasturtiums are quite spicy and have a similar flavour to mustard or wasabi, so work well in savoury dishes like BearBrass’ Prosciutto Salad with figs and almonds.”
In a ‘progressive style’ dinner, we ventured to Miyako, Pure South Dining and ended at Hophaus for dessert.
Hana Sakari (flower fully bloomed) – Miyako
In terms of presentation, Miyako was the leader with dishes that looked too good to eat. First up was the Sashimi Carpaccio served with asparagus wrapped in a rice paper roll, a marinated Sakura sushi ball, accompanied with Green Empress topped with Tobiko and wasabi dust, finished with Sakura Yuzu dressing. It was light, yet tangy and the wasabi dust added the perfect amount of heat.
As an added bonus, we were treated to a beautiful sushi platter to start the eventing. The tuna and salmon sat in a hollow ice ball! Not only was it functional, but it was probably the best presentation of the evening.
Rosaceae Drop – Miyako
Gin has a very distinct taste and yet it was quite subtle in this cocktail. Garnished with the Merry Melody (viola flower), it was mixed with vodka infused with rose tea, peach schnapps, Parfait amour, violet morin, lemon juice, and notes of banana, grape and passion fruit. It’s loaded with fruity flavours but it’s not overtly sweet.
Mt Gnomon Farm Wessex Saddleback Pork Belly – Pure South Dining
Mt Gnomon Farm is known for their quality, free range, rare breed pigs, cattle and sheep and you can taste the difference. Pair that with the culinary team at Pure South Dining and the viola flowers and you have one of the best pork belly dishes I’ve eaten. The consommé was poured around the pork at the table and adding even more depth and flavour. The pork was perfectly layered – crispy on the outer layer, most meat and the right amount of fat in between.
New York sour with a twist – Pure South Dining
This cocktail was shaken with Jameson Irish, egg white, lemon, apple juice and a splash of Tassie Pinot noir. Don’t be fooled by the Dainty Lady flower, it’s definitely sour but still has a smooth finish.
Deconstructed cheesecake – Hophaus
This cheesecake got a posh makeover and it was the perfect dish to end the evening. The dried raspberries and the violas balanced the sweetness from the pralines, white chocolate and the cheesecake. Every bite was delicious and the nutty flavour from the pistachios was perfectly laced throughout.
The flowers clearly added a visual element to each dish but there’s certainly no doubt – flowers aren’t just for decoration. The subtle flavours of each flower paired well with both sweet and savoury dishes and added some excitement to some food favourites.
Good Food Blooms will feature three very special Moveable Feasts spring lunches on Sunday 1st, Cup Day 3rd, and Sunday 8th November.
Guests will be able to experience edible flower dishes and cocktails at three different Southgate restaurants.
The culinary adventure on 1 November will journey from Pure South to ARTUSI to Hophaus, while on 3 November guests will embark from Miyako to Red Emperor and finish at La Camera. On Sunday 8 November the feast will move from Bluetrain to BearBrass, with dessert at Tutto Bene. Bookings for the special spring food celebration can be made via www.southgatemelbourne.com.au.
Other restaurants participating in Good Food Blooms include Pure South Dining, Waterfront Southgate, The Deck Restaurant, Tutto Bene, La Camera Southgate, Red Emperor, P.J. O’Brien’s Irish Pub and Bluetrain.
Lauren Richardson Bio
Lauren Richardson, Flowerdale Farm’s exclusive supplier of edible flowers and leaves has a passion for fine food, gardening and all things beautiful.
With a background in hospitality Lauren is no stranger to the food industry and the necessity for restaurants to have fresh, reliable produce of the highest quality. On her family property located in Glenlyon Victoria, Lauren produces Australia's largest range of edible flowers and leaf varieties. With a focus on low-impact gardening and responsive farming, all her edible flowers are grown with organic fertilizers, hand-picked, meticulously packed and ready for the plate.
Lauren believes she has the “best job in the world”spending her days “outside, creating such a beautiful product that is so highly valued by Australia’s leading chefs”.
With seasonal releases and year round availability on several lines, Lauren is a passionate supplier, who constantly strives to develop new wholesale product lines and produce the most vibrant selection of edible flowers available.