Ahead of the opening of their new pop up bar ‘Project Botanicals’ in Melbourne next month, Bombay Sapphire recently hosted a fun event which was all about matching food dishes with gin cocktails. I had enjoyed a couple of food and wine matching experiences before but I’d never tried pairing cocktails with food so I was pretty curious about the whole thing.
So I set out to North Melbourne dressed in my new favorite Zara dress (I may or may not have used the event as an excuse to purchase it that morning) and ready to try something new .
Dress by Zara
The launch turned out to be a lot of fun. I mean, to be fair, you can never go wrong with anything that involves cocktails and food really – but the team behind ‘Project Botanicals’ have really taken the concept to whole new level. Taking inspiration from the 10 exotic botanicals found in Bombay Sapphire, they crafted 10 gin cocktails which Chef Gary Mehigan (of Masterchef fame) then carefully matched with a series of tapas style dishes.
Here are the 5 dishes and cocktails that we sampled at the party. (Prepare yourself for some serious food porn).
The first course was probably was ultimate favorite since it involved oysters (LOVE oysters! Come on, my name is Pearl! ;) ). They were served with a delicate almond cream which matched perfectly the pretty almond swizzle cocktail. It was ah-ma-zing.
For the second course we tasted mushroom tartines matched with a Negroni. To be honest, I would have probably loved the combination if the mushrooms hadn’t had a hint of aniseed/liquorice to them. But since aniseed is my food fiend, it was probably my least favorite match.
The third course was much more up my alley. Crab and avocado toasts served with the best G&T I’ve had in a long time. Probably because it involves a dramatic dry ice effect. I’m a sucker for pretty effects.
The next course was a real crowd-pleaser as it consisted of chicken sliders served with a sweet lavender infused cocktail. It was soooo good I’m still drooling just looking at them now. A couple of people weren’t entirely sold on the sweet cocktail/crispy chicken mix but I thought it actually worked really well.
By the time dessert came I must admit I was pretty stuffed.
But then again, who could say no to this?
And since I was being bad, I figured I might as well have a few sips of the pretty cocktail it came with.
If you live in Melbourne and feel like trying something different then I’d definitely recommend you check out ‘Project Botanicals’ (see details below).
However, if you live overseas and are cursing me for teasing you right now, don’t fret. I tracked down Gary at the end of the party and made sure to
steal all his secrets for you ask him for some tips on how to re-create this cool concept at home. Whether it was due to the delicious cocktails he had or not, he was more than happy to oblige so stay tuned for a ‘how to match cocktails and food’ post on Monday! :)
Have you ever tried matching specific food dishes and cocktails? What did you think of the experience?
Project Botanicals – Pop-up bar
64 Sutton place, North Melbourne
Wed-Sat from the 19th of November to the 6th of December 2014.
Tickets are $35 for two dishes and two matching cocktails.