THA Weekend: Laneway Lunch with Wagner by Opera Australia and Anada
Last weekend, I spent the whole time eating. Now, ah know you’re probably thinking what makes that different from any other weekend of mine. I’ll tell why. WHAAAY?! Because Saturday kicked off with the annual Philippine Fiesta. Think street food specialties like BBQ pork skewers by the dozen, deep fried fish balls dripping with an addictive glaze, massive bowls of halo halo, freshly made ube, siopao (steamed buns filled with chicken/pork meat) and bangus (milkfish) on rice. It was a disturbing reminder that letting go of my addiction to all things indulgent ain’t easy, as I went absolutely bizerk hopping from one food stall to another holding on to plates with dear life like some seasoned waiter. Mind you, it all came tumbling down as soon as ventured into the ‘rides’ section. That’s all I care to divulge. *changes subject*
Saturday night was spent doing something I always looked forward to – Trashy TV Night with the #TTVN crew Ash and Wince. The night is usually spent watching ‘educational’ shows that deplete our precocious brain cells. The best thing about these nights though, apart from the very cool company and the celebrity reenactments, is the food. Man, we like to EAT. Usually we think of a theme from Southern comfort food to Asian but when we can’t be bothered cooking, we would order something that exceeds our kilojoule limit for the day. To top that off, we’d dust off several tubs of ice cream – peanut butter anything usually takes the crown.
On Sunday, I woke up to one hell of a food hangover. For those who don’t believe it exists, it does! I felt like I was moving at slow motion, and all I wanted to eat was a stick of celery. That feeling however, soon dissipated as soon as I arrived at the Laneway Lunch with Wagner put on by Opera Australia. The set up was totally bonkers. Never did I imagine that you could transform a laneway from trashy to classy with wine glasses strewn across a table that seemed to stretch like a twenty five metre lap pool not too mention a captivating tribute to one of the greatest composers of all time – Richard Wagner.
Going off Saturday’s awful weather, I crossed my fingers real hard praying it doesn’t rain on us and thankfully, the sun came out to play.
The four course menu was prepared by Melbourne staple; Anada, known for their innovative take on dishes from Southern Spain and the Mediterranean. I felt like I was transported back in time when I was traveling around Spain many moons ago.
Just after the first course (Smoked Spring Bay Mussels along with Serrano Grade Jamon), two amazing opera singers who both epitomised the term vocalist, emerged with such poise, emotion and power, even I stopped eating! For reals. Although, I did carry on drinking (hihihi) the Katnook Founders Block Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV
We were seated next to a lovely couple from Paris and exchanged many travel stories but I felt hella bad for them as I needed to take a photos of every dish from my phone and then my camera. They were so patient though and I may have even convinced them to get onto Instagram – they were foodies after all.
No time was wasted digging into the second course of Chicken, manchego and smoked paprika croquetas. Breadcrumbs were fried to a golden crisp as manchego (tasty as hell Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk) flowed out then washed down with a zesty Gazpacho. I tried capturing the ‘ooze’ but my camera decided to malfunction during this pivotal moment in time. I drank my #foodbloggerproblems away with Katnook Founders Block Chardonnay 2012.
Expectations were building as we veered towards the fourth course. After glaring at the word ‘pork’ written in the menu, the PX braised pork jowl with celeriac matched with matched with Katnook Founders Block Shiraz 2011 was greeted with an applause. I know I should be talking about how amazingly tender the pork was as a result of it being so wonderfully braised not too mention how much I love pork jowl (oh sheeat, I just did!) but the celeriac, being so creamy, was met with just as much cheer. In fact, between us, we got to have seconds thanks to the generous ladies to our right. Easily the highlight of the meal.
This may shock you as it did to my +1, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Valencian Salad of Baby Gem Lettuce, Honey, Shallot and Orange! I finished off, what was meant to be a bowl to share, by myself. I don’t know whether it was the honey infused dressing or the freshness of the lettuce or perhaps it was the perfectly segmented oranges but I was hooked.
Potatoes with Roast Garlic and Parsley
Before the run to the last course, we were greeted with the last but a very memorable performance by the theatrical crew; Cocoloco.
Oh man, they were hilarious. Highly interactive, they brought everyone to their feet and delegated roles to unsuspecting attendees from a husband to be, a doctor to deliver a baby to a bridesmaid. It was shocking as much as it was entertaining especially the scene where the bride’s water breaks…literally! You gotta see it to believe it.
After everyone calmed down from all the laughter, we all sat down for dessert. Warm chocolate croquettes with custard and hazelnuts along with Orange and Vermouth Sorbet. All I can say is again, I was super glad we got to have seconds. I swear the ladies next to us were our fairy godmothers.
I’ve never had a long table lunch in one of Melbourne’s iconic CBD lane ways before and never did I think it was even possible to have both Opera and theatrical performances in such a setting whilst chowing down on some of Anada’s fabulous food. It was funny watching people walking past with the most puzzling looks on their faces trying to figure out what the heck is going on. The event for me, was more than just a meal but rather, an experience.
Where: Cohen Place, between Lonsdale & Little Bourke Streets Melbourne CBD
When: Next and last one running is this Sunday, 8 December 12pm – 2pm
It’s all about the money money: $130 per person which inc. four courses, booze and performances
How: book online here
Food Rehab attended courtesy of Opera Australia
Have you signed up for updates from Food Rehab? Get on the list and I’ll do my best to keep us learning about none-other than glorious, GLORIOUS food! Also, follow me on Facebook or Twitter if you have either of those addictive things.
Keep eating…LIKE CRAZAAY!