The Wedding Collection – The National Gallery of Australia

I hadn’t considered The National Gallery of Australia for wedding venue and I can’t remember exactly what I was browsing that made me think to go to the website to enquire for a tour of the space and eventually a food tasting but I remember it hit me like a eureka moment. I was very impressed with the photos that I had seen on their website and I couldn’t wait to see the space in person.

It was the very last tasting out of the venues we were looking into and the Event Manager Vince Azzopardi said that we were saving the best til last and I was hoping he was right. I wanted the tastings to get better and better and what we have tried so far had been pretty fantastic.

The very beautiful Gandel Hall with exquisitely detailed with gold-leaf doors and red ironbark floors.20140503-121113.jpgI thought the set up for the tasting was a bit odd with Vince joining us in tasting the food, but maybe it is one of the perks of his job (that would be awesome!). A table was set up all with wine glasses and white linen in the beautiful Gandel Hall. I felt bad when I had to explain that TimmyC and I don’t drink wine then someone swooped in and cleared the glasses away while filling up our glasses with sparkling water to which I had to turn and explain that we didn’t drink sparkling water either with an apologetic look on my face. We are but simple people… When it comes to beverages. 😉

The head chef of The Big Group company Mickael Renou, brought out our dishes and explained how he prepared each dish. There was a lot of slow cooking processes and thought to compliment the flavours of each dish. He had a lovely French accent and although I might not have understood everything, I liked listening to him speak *giggle*.

There was something else that I didn’t expect. Each of us received a smaller version of each of the course and placed in the middle was the full-sized portion of each option which we also got to eat. Needless to say with TimmyC barely pulling his weight, I was getting a bit full after eating 2.5 courses times two.

We chose from Autumn/Winter dinner menu.

Salmon and prawn raviolo with caramelised fennel, wilted spinach, lobster oil and sorrel.  After trying to get the perfect shot of the beautiful food, it was no surprise that my raviolo was cold. There would be a very small window where this would remain hot to warm. By itself, the raviolo was okay but it came to life when I rubbed it in the lobster oil. For me the edges of the pasta were a tad too thick if I was nit picking but TimmyC really enjoyed it.
Soy roasted pork belly with salted pork crackle, apple and celeriac puree, Bok Choy slaw, veal jus. When I ate my smaller portion I didn’t really get a soy flavour, it wasn’t until I ate the full-sized portion did I taste it. I liked the little crackle hat that was extremely crunchy and the puree complimented the protein flavours really well. The bigger portion of pork was very thick and meaty but was very tender and moist.
 Our individual portions were plated really nicely.20140503-123044.jpg
The full-sized portion of the pork belly. I thought the sauce plating was a bit messy but was probably could not be helped with the runny nature of the sauce.20140503-123132.jpg
 A close up of the tender pork.20140503-123523.jpg The full-sized portion of the raviolo. I thought the sauce plating was a bit messy in comparison to the individual plated portions.20140503-123143.jpg
Roast fillet of beef with a burnt carrot purée, potato terrine, caramelised shallots and sauce bordelaise (GF). Beef is a real crowd pleaser at weddings so we couldn’t go past choosing this dish to see how they would execute it and let me just say, it was wonderful. The meat was cooked very well and for someone who doesn’t love carrots, I really loved the burnt carrot puree. The potato terrine was probably a tad dry but I smothered it in the sauce to make up for it. The sweetness of the puree and caramelised shallots just enhanced the salty beef flavours.
Our individual plated ports of our main course.
Roast duck breast and confit leg with sweet potato Skordalia, green beans and Honey jus (GF). I was going to town with these purees and mashes! If I don’t love carrots but I loved their puree, just imagine the excitement in my eyes when I placed a mouthful of sweet potato (which I love) in my mouth which just had a tad bit of citrus. Mmmmm! The duck was okay, not the best I’ve had. I much preferred the confit duck leg over the breast which I found chewier and had less duck flavour.20140503-125030.jpgSuch a sexy leg!20140503-125133.jpg A close up of the very intense and rich sweet potato puree. I couldn’t fit any more of my meal in because I was getting full fast and I felt bad for the other guys having to wait so long for me to finish but I tried to eat as much of the mash as I could.20140503-123927.jpg
Dessert canapes~
When these came out I thought they were absolutely adorable!!! We were introduced to the pastry chef but I didn’t really catch his name but I think he did a fabulous job with these.
I love the beautiful slate tiles that the canapes were served on.
 Buttermilk Bavarois, slow roasted plum and toasted almond (GF). This was ridiculously delicate and I’m not a huge fan of stone fruit in my dessert but it went together perfectly! The toasted almonds gave it an extra dimension in texture and flavour. This is my favourite pick out of the dessert canapes.
Chocolate dipped peanut butter semi freddo. You couldn’t hold this for too long before the chocolate would start melting on your fingers but the delicious flavours of peanut butter and chocolate going so well together, I doubt that anyone will have time for that to happen. The perfect subtle taste of peanut butter meant that it wasn’t overwhelming and sticky on your palette.20140503-125226.jpgPistachio crème brûlée with a Gianduja biscuit. Believe it or not, this little beauty had a little ‘toffee hat’ that I love in brulees. It was the cutest little morsel I’ve ever had as a dessert, it made my body spasm with excitement and it took me a while to bring myself to eat it. I love how they have developed this much-loved dessert into a canape. The texture was silky smooth but I thought that the flavours of pistachio paste was too intense for my liking.20140503-125236.jpgA close up to the inside of the brulee.20140503-125404.jpg
The Big Group have been catering for the National Gallery since November 2012 and I’ve seen some amazing set ups for functions throughout the year including the pop-up Wedgwood Tea Room and Mother’s day high teas.

Potential wedding venue: National Gallery of Australia

Caterer: The Big Group

Time of tasting: 1pm

Price of tasting: $120.00 pp.

The Wedding collection – Grazing

This wasn’t really a proper tasting, I know Grazing (see my previous post here) has always offered fabulous food. I really came out here to look at the garden space and ‘the Stone room’ which was purpose built facility for functions for up to 140 guests, but I did use this trip as an excuse to eat out here again.

The room as well as the garden was beautifully decorated for a wedding later that day but I didn’t want to photograph someone else’s big day and intrude so I was here to focus on the food that is being offered. It must be a popular venue because the day we went, there were several tastings* and also what appeared to be a booked out lunch session.

*Tastings are usually included when you book a venue held 6 weeks out from the big day to taste the seasonal menu which is likely to be available during the time of your wedding, I’m just tasting food at venues to see the calibre of food before I book a venue.

Let’s get started!20140309-201422.jpgBread freshly baked seeded rye bread with ‘La Barre’ blood plum finishing vinegar and Yass olive oil ($2.50 each). I thought the bread was too seedy and a bit dry for me, it needed a lot of oil and we didn’t get much to start off with but I wasn’t too shy to ask for more.20140309-201433.jpgEntrees~ all entrees are $17.00

Rabbit pulled tarlet with radicchio, cauliflower and pickled eggplant.20140309-201453.jpgPork Belly 18 hour slow cooked pork belly with braised fennel, salted grapes and apple.20140309-201504.jpg

20140309-201533.jpgSeafood Medley brandade veloute with scallop boudin, king fish, smoked trout, south coast oyster fritter and watercress. With so many components on the dish I didn’t know where to begin so I just chose a section and moved clock wise. Deep fried oysters, that is where it’s at! I loved the flavours and the contrasting flavours of the crispy exterior with the squishyness of the oyster. The veloute added a rich thick creamy smokey flavour to everything I dabbed in it. The king fish and the smoked trout had amazing salty smoky flavours, the only thing I was unsure about was the scallop boudin.20140309-201547.jpgI was trying to get as much of the veloute out with my fork as I could, it was so good.20140309-201609.jpgOyster fritter was so fabulous.20140309-201635.jpg20140309-201645.jpgMains~ all mains are $33.00

Duck confit of duck shank with beetroot and almond pesto, duck breast and pork parcel.20140309-201822.jpgChicken rolled and roasted chicken with quinoa, pumpkin and fried zucchini blossom.20140309-201711.jpgPie the ‘Grazing Pie’- Snapper, scallop and mussel pie with champagne creamed leek and potato mash. I’ve been told to try the pies at Grazing and I can now see why. The pastry is so perfectly flaky with a beautiful golden brown colour encasing a deliciously creamy centre. The only thing to note is that because the filling is so rich and it is sitting on a bed of creamed leek and potato mash, it made the whole dish very very filling.20140309-201749.jpg20140309-201808.jpgBeef fillet of beef on wilted greens with potato galette and caramelised eschalot jus. A perfectly cooked piece of steak that I would happily serve at my wedding as an easy crowd pleaser.20140309-201841.jpgDessert~ all desserts are $16.00

Chocolate mousse Belgium dark chocolate mousse tart with stone fruit and micro coriander.20140309-201852.jpgPanna cotta popcorn and malt flavoured panna cotta with fresh fig, cinnamon ice cream and pistachio. I found this dessert to be rather refreshing despite all the different sweet elements on the dish. Nothing was OTT and over powering and the flavours went well together. Nothing beats a fresh fig!20140309-201905.jpgPeach tarte tatin almond infused house made puff pastry and peach tart with honey & vanilla syrup and vanilla bean ice cream (allow 20 minutes). This was worth the 20 minute wait, the tarte tatin was beautifully caramelised on the top and was balanced out by the vanilla bean ice cream.20140309-201931.jpgCaramel and salted peanuts frozen caramel and salted peanut butter custard with chocolate parfait and crushed bitter chocolate.20140309-202008.jpgI left feeling pretty full after eating the creamy filling and all the pastry I had with my main but other diners who just had protein with some vegetables were not so satisfied. When we browsed the wedding set up, I had noticed that some of the lunch options were on the wedding menu and was convinced that the wedding guests were going to love their meal.

I had considered Grazing out in Gundaroo as a wedding venue but decided against it after the logistics of getting everyone out there (yes I did consider hiring a bus to and from the venue) considering a lot of my guests will be from interstate. If this isn’t a problem for you, I wouldn’t hesitate recommending this venue for your special day.

Don’t forget, it’s in the Entertainment book if you’re just coming out here for dinner or a lunch.


Functions at Federation


We went to a beautiful wedding in March and even though I was admiring the beautiful bride, everything from her dress to her very unique bouquet down to her gorgeous shoes  the delicious food that was being offered before reception still managed to catch my eye.

Simply put- everything was deeeelicious. I loved everything from the bountiful portions to the cute bamboo serving accessories.

Calamari and rocket, vegetarian quiche, fancy looking spring rolls, really good crispy pork belly, zucchini balls, risotto balls and a beautiful croquembouche.