Tastings at Melbourne’s StoryVille
Words by Kate Taylor
Kate chalked up a night of fine offerings as well as ‘a flight of fantasy’ at StoryVille on the weekend.
We welcome her to the Melbourne team, pleased to see she is a ‘word nerd’ and loves a culinary adventure!
Saturday evening’s cocktail and menu tasting at Melbourne’s StoryVille boasted four story-themed cocktails, three canapés, and a Gatsby-esque enthusiasm for the indulgent. Champagne flowed, cameras flashed, pacy music persisted, while a sparkling mermaid blew scented smoke-filled bubbles into the reaching crowd.
Entering StoryVille is like crossing a threshold. It’s a backstage pass to the fanciful – the return to a travelling carnival that previously only existed in your childhood dreams.
The night kicked off when a tray of glowing cocktail tasters floated around the room, skilfully weaving through the throng.
First Cocktail: Polyjuice (Harry Potter) – kiwi, lime, basil, gin and a dash of ginger liqueur – first on the menu and first in my mouth. Harry Potter tells us Polyjuice Potion enables the consumer to assume the physical appearance of another person – a fitting first drink for those of us entering StoryVille for the first time. You might say that Polyjuice is the altered form of the classic Southside; a refreshing and fun new twist on a timeless cocktail.
Next came a tray of mouthwatering canapés – Lavosh crackers supported delicate pieces of Fourme d’Ambert (cow’s milk blue cheese) atop pickled baby figs, with a dollop of peach and muscatel chutney. A highly recommended combination if you’re in the mood for an exciting cheese platter.
Second Cocktail: Through the Looking Glass – a foggy cocktail crafted with berries, cream tea and white rum, was poured from teapots and sipped from teacups. In Alice in Wonderland we fall upon the Mad Hatter’s tea party rather accidentally, but in Alice Through the Looking Glass we make a knowing step with Alice into a strange and mysterious world. This is a sweet cocktail with a strong rum flavour, and a nurturing backbone to carry you comfortably through to the other side.
StoryVille’s food menu is dominated by their humbling and perfectly toasted white bread jaffles, leaving me to happily savour two: Three Blind Mice and Cinderella’s Ride.
Three Blind Mice is a three cheese, Dijon mustard and red onion dream, as you can imagine. Although the cheeky tang from the mustard and the onion remind you you’re an adult, you can’t help being drawn back to the melted cheese toasties of your childhood.
Cinderella’s Ride is the accidental hero of the food menu. A roast pumpkin, Meredith goat’s cheese and spinach, golden toasted memory from the depths of your grandma’s love for you – with a little sriracha kick. Subtle and sweet with surprising bursts of earthy flavour, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and everything you ever wanted in a jaffle. Share this and Three Blind Mice with your best friend and you won’t be disappointed.
If you missed the candied bacon cocktail phase a few years ago, slow your worries because it’s back! On StoryVille’s cocktail list is Mr Pilkington’s Neighbour (Animal Farm). This is sweet and salty bacon-washed Bulleit bourbon, with spiced apple syrup, and comes with a side of candied maple bacon. While not for the faint of heart it is however, a complicated drink for a complicated comrade!
More trays of cocktail tasters moved around the bar. A standout was a Chinese rice tea infused vodka martini with a twist of lemon. This one doesn’t appear officially on their menu, so it doesn’t have a name yet. I’d like to suggest the Jekyll and Hyde – civilising tea, and fraying vodka. A contradiction of concepts; a perfect storm.
The lasting ‘after taste’ of the soft savoury tea was a great nightcap, and slowly roused a gentle reality. It was time to wake up.
Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times News
Editor – GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events
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MORE pics from StoryVille TASTE Night…