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On Wednesday night I was lucky enough to win a competition in Broadsheet. The prize was two tickets to an invite only Gourmet tour of the Arts Center Melbourne. So, we trucked our way along, excited about the night ahead of us. We ate many dishes throughout the eve, but these were my favourites.
The first stop was the basement. A room where the walls are made from a whole host of found goods. But onto the food. For the first dish we were served cubes of watermelon, topped with duck and wasabi. The sweet melon was perfect at cutting through the rich duck giving a range of texture and flavour, finally the wasabi kick rounded it off.
Next, we moved up to the meze bar where we were met with a glass of sangria and two fantastic dishes. The first was seared tuna sitting on a bed of chestnut pasta. The tuna was cooked to perfection and really brought the rest of the generally bland dish to life.
The second dish was a in essence a deconstructed sushi. The dish was topped with strips of cabbage, and a few salmon roe. Below was raw salmon with wasabi mayonnaise and some wild rice. The dish was in my opinion the best of the night. The wasabi mayo had the perfect amount of heat to it, while the salmon was clean and full of flavour.

After two more stops, which I won’t go into too much detail. We got to the real treat of the night, the desert. As we walked into the Hamer Hall stage it was clear something special was happening. Standing on the stage and looking out was a slightly odd feeling, however the view was marvelous.
In the center of the stage was what looked like a display of flowers and grass lit by harsh blue lights. Littered in amongst this display were mirrors with the richest chocolate truffles I’ve ever tried. The grass had hidden within it chocolate sticks with roasted garlic that had then been covered in dark chocolate and sea salt and the top was lined with other delights.
While we set upon trying the rich hidden deserts, two chefs, one at each end started making some new ones by hand. In the far side a concoction with marshmallows, ice cream and all sorts of flavours was created. However on our side, the chef was cracking a huge sheet of chocolate, piling it high with avocado paste and finishing each with a wasabi pea wrapped in silver leaf. I wouldn’t have put the two together myself, but it worked incredibly. The saltiness of avocado helped to smooth out the edginess of the dark chocolate and produce a delicious combo.
Even with this, I couldn’t stop myself from eating three or four of the garlic and salt sticks. I must try to make some soon as the salt / garlic combo was really something special.
The night was topped off with fantastic wine from the Yering Station winery, whose signature blend for the Arts Centre Melbourne was fantastic throughout. I can certainly suggest checking out the new catering at the institute, the presentation of the food is fantastic and you will be sure to try something exotic. 20121020-104026.jpg