Disclaimer: Libby attended the Supper Safari as a guest of the Publican Group and Dig + Fish.
When I received an email from PR company Dig + Fish inviting me to attend a ‘Secret Supper Safari’ not too long ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Apart from instructions to meet at a location on Little Bourke Street at 6:30pm one weekday evening, there was no other information in the email.
Now I’m a Type A freak who NEEDS to know exactly what’s going on so my instinct was to ignore the email. However, my curiosity got the best of me (and so did my lack of keenness to spend the best part of Thursday night home alone) and before I knew it, I was meeting Nicola from Dig + Fish on Little Bourke Street who then instructed a lady to accompany me to our first location, Campari House.
The evening began with a few canapés and cocktails along with some introductions and mingling. I enjoyed a glass of Campari Rose, a brew that was as sweet as its name suggested.
Apologies for the crappy photos – it was a really dark room and I’m lousy with the camera! Anyway, I really enjoyed the housemade sausage rolls. The gloriously fatty fillings were neatly wrapped in a crispy pastry and a lovely apple relish provided a lovely dash of tanginess.
The chicken rice paper rolls were also nice, though paled in comparison. I guess when you’ve been spoiled by delicious renditions elsewhere (in Vietnamese restaurants and at my boyfriend’s house, for example), you kind of get a little picky.
Our next stop was at Mr Mason, a French restaurant that Dave and I visited several months earlier. Even though Mr Mason was within walking distance from Campari House, a mini bus took us to the second venue. Why walk when you can drive, right?
There were three dishes to choose from and while they all sounded delicious, it seemed like the duck was the most popular choice. The duck meat was beautifully tender and the skin so crispy. The only thing I would criticise about the duck was that it was perhaps a bit too salty but thankfully, the sweet jus and figs balanced everything out.
It seems that white wines were also pretty popular that night.
Finally, we were graced with the presence of a dessert tray to share with our seating companion. At this stage, I was already full so I couldn’t enjoy the desserts properly. That said, I did manage to savour a few spoonfuls of airy soufflé and the smooth crème brûlée, which I thought was the star of the dessert tray.
Our final destination was Terra Rossa on the other side of the city. I’m a huge fan of cheese so I was most excited when I was told that we’d share a cheese platter. Plus, I hadn’t been to this venue before so I had no idea what to expect…
We enjoyed a spectacular spread of cheeses accompanied by crackers and fruit, with wonderful commentary from Silvia, Terra Rossa’s charming Events and Marketing manager. In all honesty, I couldn’t figure out which cheese I liked the most. On one hand, I liked the creaminess of the Mauri Taleggio but on the other hand, I found that I couldn’t stop nibbling at the very rare Montasio, which only sneaks past Australian customs every five months. And while I normally find Gorgonzola too strong, I did enjoy the pungent and very creamy Bonta Delle Bonta.
I normally say ‘no’ to coffee after 3pm (unless I have a looming essay deadline and OMG, still have 2000 words to write in 24 hours) but I happily agreed to have a sip of the espresso martini. It was delicious and bold without being overpowering and even though I didn’t up sleeping until close to 2am that night, it was worth it.
We all received a goodie bag to take home containing all sorts of edible (and drinkable) treats, including this macaron. I wasn’t completely won over by it (the biscuit was perhaps a bit too thick and the ganache too buttery) but hey, it’s a lot better than what I could whip up in the kitchen. And again, apologies for the crappy photo – I blame the espresso martini for the shaky image.
Melbourne may be a jungle at the best of times, but attending a Supper Safari ensures that you get to sample some of Melbourne’s best venues for only $95 (more, if you want extras). This format also means that it’s the perfect way to enjoy a hen’s night or an end of year corporate function (that is, if your company is still making money and not skimping on costs when it comes to Christmas parties *cough*).
The Supper Safari was a good way to revisit old places and still be able to discover new dishes and learn new things. For example, I may have been to Campari House several times but I had no idea that the venue ran trivia evenings on Tuesday nights until I attended the Supper Safari. As soon as I found out, though, I was quick to make a couple of bookings for my work friends and I. Sadly, Campari House no longer do Tuesday trivia nights because some fun sponge complained about the noise (seriously, who the hell chooses to live in the city and complain about noise levels?).
Here are the venue deets:
Venue 1: Terra Rossa
87 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9650 0900
Venue 2: Mr Mason
Shop 10, 530 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9614 4500
Venue 3: Campari House
23-25 Hardware Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9600 1574
For bookings, phone Mr Mason on 9614 4500 or email email@example.com