Outdoor cinema is a pretty neat concept really. You take a rug or a seat and some cushions, and lie about watching a movie. What’s not to like?
As part of this year’s Melbourne Food and Wine Fest there was an event called “Gourmet Cinema”, held at Caulfield Racecourse. The premise: each night a movie is shown and paired with food from a renowned Melbourne restaurant. In somewhat confusing fashion, all food was available on all nights anyway. The night we attended was Baby Pizza presenting The Great Beauty, an Italian movie, thus the pairing of pizza. Keeping in the spirit we figured we should try a pizza… and we got some chili cheese fries from Le Bon Ton because that’s what we felt like.
The fries were pretty delicious and great in the sunshine with a beer, but unfortunately the pizza was a little doughy and sadly unremarkable, leaving us wishing we had tried a Mamasita taco or something else from Le Bon Ton. Although given the muggy warm night, and that we ate the cheese fries before the pizza, it’s possible the pizza suffered for the delay. Other restaurants in attendance were Epocha, and the European.
Booze on offer was cocktails from Schweppes, beers from the CUB range – accompanied by a load of Crown Golden Ale signage. Given they sponsor races at Caulfield that’s to be expected. Looking around the crowd, however, they didn’t seem to be moving a lot of the Golden Ale, to the point where when we ordered the barstaff instinctively reached for the lager. Wine all looked to be from the Treasury Wine Estate brands. The T’Gallant Pinot being not bad value and having it served in glass at an outdoor festival was definitely appreciated.
That all went along with desserts from Lux Bite, coffee from St Ali, and an aggressive amount of advertising and brand tie-in from delivery company Deliveroo. The UK based company are making a push into the Australian market and it’s clear they aren’t sparing a cent, with discounted “delivery” to your rug or chair on the night and heaps of staff milling about waiting to pounce. We didn’t take them up on their discount and delivery but it seemed to run smoothly and unobtrusively on the night.
Despite a slight hiccup with the movie in the form of some glitching and stalling for a short period, the movie itself was a joy. The opening party scene in particular is an instant classic movie-moment and almost worth the price of admission alone.
All in all, it was a damned pleasant evening. Having the option to eat from some of Melbourne’s best run hospitality establishments while lolling about on a rug in front of a movie is really a magnificent way to spend an evening. Given at times outdoor food festivals in Melbourne can be a crowd squeeze and a frustrating experience (it should noted that they had issues with ordering and undersupply the previous night, however that was the opposite of our experience), having such a relaxed vibe with fine choice of food felt like a breath of fresh air.
A welcome event on Melbourne’s food calendar.
Find Luke from AleOfATime at http://aleofatime.com where he spouts his knowledge as the guru of Australian (but mostly Victorian) craft beer. I have learnt everything I know from listening to his podcast – which you need to iTunes right now. Also Twitter and Facebook.