It was our Social Medium, Pete Watson’s birthday back on the 22nd and he came into Sage for dinner with his better half, Charlotte and his parents who were over from New Zealand. This is his real-time account of the evening (Pete likes to think of himself as something of a Jack Bauer)
NB: He is aware that he could have live-tweeted this, but managed to forget to charge his phone for the first time in forever so this will have to do.
6:20pm – Opened bottle of wine for aperitif at home. Called a taxi for 7pm. Took sweepstake with parents on how far taxi would get without any directions. Mum optimistic; dad undecided; personally realistic.
6:35pm – Refill on wine. Reassure parents that element of surprise in ‘Chef’s Pick’ surprise degustation exists but will not include Swiss chard if they don’t want it to
6:40pm – #Herding cats!! Mum finishes getting ready. Charlotte still at meeting for work. My wallet has gone missing.
6:53pm – Faith restored as taxi turns up EARLY!! Wallet found, family dressed, wine finished, out the door.
6:54pm – Won $10! Taxi has no idea where we want to go
7:15pm – Arrive Bunda St. Order largest beer $10 can buy me – not very large. Await arrival of Charlotte. Agree that “Canberra doesn’t seem big enough for taxis to be so confused” as per Dad. Sensing a theme
7:48pm – Charlotte arrives, also in taxi – No such problems. Win some, you lose some.
8:22pm – Wander to Sage.
8:30pm – Regretting last beer. Bladder failing to cope with even the short walk from town #mykingdomforadarkalley
8:35pm – Relief! Seated comfortably by window. Dad’s attempts to discover a draft he claims follows him around restaurants thwarted by heating. Things looking up.
8:40pm – Table orders ‘Chef’s Pick’ menu and wine matches with each course. Last decisions that need to be made for the rest of the night. Dietary requirements taken in stride. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride #exhale
8:50pm – Amuse bouche: Mushroom Consomme with Hazelnut Foam. Perfect after a chilly wee walk, perfect with a glass of bubbles to start things off. A bit like eating a mouthful of Autumn.
8:53pm – Focus on food too good to last; conversation strays onto the ‘weird’ and ‘sticky-outy’ shape of my earlobes which the whole family seems to find hilarious. Expected, but a little early this evening
9:00pm – The pre-laid soup spoon heralds the next course: Butternut pumpkin soup, chestnut cream, parsnip crisp. Sweet and earthy with little spikes of acidity from the surprise dried cranberries in the bowl. Table glows collectively as it warms from the inside out. Earlobes safe for a few minutes at least.
9:15pm – Soup has been a success; conversation in full swing now. Discussing international politics, replete with accents. Dad off his game; all accents inexplicably sound either South African or Welsh. Neither country featured in discussion.
9:20pm – SCALLOP TIME!! Achingly tender scallops with an assiette of jerusalem artichokes and a lively selection of sweet, crisp fruit flavours. Sweet, juicy, earthy, and my first scallop since leaving New Zealand in January. Quite an emotional moment which I didn’t want to end. Charlotte – subject to shellfish allergy – receives a wonderful looking and tasting dish of confit beetroot, goats curd, and mushroom soil.
9:30pm – Scallops over too quickly. Have taken to sniffing my napkin in an effort to prolong the experience. Table noticeably quieter following last dish #Reverence
9:42pm – Withdrawal symptoms mitigated by Pan Roasted Swordfish, Hummus Gyoza, Mojama, and Yuzu. Wonderful combo of light, but firm swordfish flesh alongside rich, cured mojama melded by hummus and cut with the tart yuzu. Chef Johnon MacDonald serves it himself which doesn’t hurt. Want to hug him out of thanks. He’s less keen…
9:45pm – Dad’s steadfast opposition to fish met with little criticism as his portion is divided amongst the circling gannets across the table.
10:10pm – Meat: Glazed pork belly, cauliflower puree, radish, and green ginger wine. Collective intake of breath around the table as each component explained to us by Tierry. Belly falls apart into wonderful chunks. Napped with a smear of the cauliflower and ginger, this is slow food which is impossible not to eat fast.
10:16pm – A remorseful table sits looking at empty plates. Mum runs a finger longingly through the remnants of the sauce. A dish taken before its time. May you Digest In Peace.
10:28pm – Pork, you’ll never be forgotten, but Mr Lamb Pressé is the new thing now. Especially with his rich pecorino sauce, pillow soft gnocchi, warming quince, and crunchy broccoli. So full of life and flavour, and hearty, meaty meat goodness.
10:40pm – NB: Notes a bit scrawly from this point on. Could be onset of food coma. Appears to be drool on pages – possible stroke? Can make out having eaten the vanilla custard, cassis, pear, pistachio, and black cardomom. Family debrief since the event indicates general ecstasy around table, so I am inclined towards non-stroke drool.
11:15pm – Arrive home in taxi. Bless the GPS…