Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Botanical - Melbourne Cup Lunch

On Melbourne Cup Day this year, my Mum was staying with me, so I wanted to do something special with her.  I knew that going to the track would really not be her thing, so I booked us into a Melbourne Cup Day lunch at The Botanical in South Yarra (the green awning-ed building above).

Our table was next to a large post, which wasn't ideal, but we were on the right side of the room to see the big TV - and hence The Cup when it was run!  Note the lady in the hat in the spirit of the event (we skipped the hats).

Here is the four course Cup set menu ($85 a head, including a glass of Mumm champagne):

We were given some crusty bread and butter for the table:

then out came the first course - Black Kingfish escabeche, pickled vegetables, bergamot gel and broad beans:

This dish was served cold.  I liked it (after all, it was poached white fish), but didn't love it.
The next course was lamb rump, char grilled baby eggplant, green olive tapenade, goats curd and rosemary lamb jus:
The lamb was tasty but very rich, so I as glad that the serve was very moderate in size.  Mum would have liked her lamb cooked more, although she appreciated that in the world of fine dining, lamb should be rare.  I liked how the olive tapenade helped to cut through the richness of the lamb.

The third course was a cheese tasting plate, with blue cheese, camembert, a soft washed rind cheese, fig and walnut roll and delicious biscotti: 

This course was my favourite - I enjoyed all of the cheeses, and the fig roll and biscotti were the perfect accompaniments.

The dessert course was my mother's favourite - goat's milk cheesecake, macerated strawberries, strawberry sorbet and liquorice:

The goat's milk cheesecake sat atop a shortbread style biscuit, and was the highlight of the dish.  I liked everything except the liquorice, which thankfully appeared only as a smear on the side of the plate, and to me tasted like nothing so much as penicillin.  I told Mum to avoid it, so she had no quibbles about this dessert at all.

We also tried a glass of Hills Cider ($6) each, which washed down smoothly.

All of the food was beautifully presented, as befits a fancy Cup lunch.

The service was friendly and efficient, with the only hiccup being chased to pay when we got up from our table to go to the bathroom before leaving.  It would have been fruitless for me to try and skip out without paying because they had my credit card details to secure the booking, so I think their anxiety in this department was a little unwarranted.

We didn't win any money on the races, but it was a nice, relaxing way to spend our Cup Day.

169 Domain Road
South Yarra VIC 3141
Ph: 03 9820 7888


Johanna GGG said...

Sounds like a great way to treat your mum on cup cay (even if the lamb wasn't quite cooked enough for her). I thought the liquorice touch on the dessert sounded really interesting so was sad to hear you didn't enjoy it - the cheese plate looks great

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh I keep forgetting that Victorians get the day off! What a great choice to taking your mum to :)

Kari said...

This definitely sounds more relaxing than being at the track. And liquorice and strawberry sorbet sounds fantastic!

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

So sweet of you to take your mom to a nice lunch in honor of the "cup".

Kayte said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day and avoid all the crowds, etc. of the race. The food looks delightful. Thanks for sharing.:-)

Mae Travels said...

Hi Gaye,
I enjoy reading your blog, as I've said here from time to time -- the menu you posted today sounds very appealing.

In the spirit of Louise Volper's "Cookbook Wednesday" I'm looking over my Australian cookbooks and food history books, including some Aboriginal histories and some histories of urban Australian foods. I wondered if you could tell me what in your view is the best Australian cookbook? I probably don't own it but at least I could mention it in my post!

Keep in touch... mae at

Mae Travels said...

Hi Gaye,
Thanks so much for the list of cookbooks. I'll save it for the Cookbook Wednesday post rather than actually letting it post to my blog now. I'm working on a pre-wednesday post about Australia now, it will be up later today or tomorrow! I appreciate your input to the cookbook project! I hope you will decide to join in.

best... mae

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

Celebrating cup day with your mum will be a memory you'll cherish and you'll think back on her too rare lamb and smile. For those of us who no longer have their mothers around, this is an especially lovely post.

The Caked Crusader said...

I'm embarrassed to admit how long I stared at the bread and butter photo trying to work out what bread the butter was on...only to realise it was a wooden board. Doh!