A pretty unusual dinner invite arrived in my inbox from esPoiR Communications. It was a themed dinner titled ‘Rich Man, Poor Man: Food Through the Classes´. The dinner is based on the food offerings served to the different classes of passengers that stayed at the Quarantine Station back in the late 1800s/1900s.
Having seen Heston Blumenthal’s themed dinner on TV, I was pretty psyched in going to my very first themed dinner! The dinner was prepared by Chef Matt Kemp who has worked in and owned some of the best restaurants in Sydney.
There was an MC dresses as a crooked captain guiding us through the dinner with a story of disease spreading in the dining room. He then tried to pinpoint which class was infected.
Canapes – Oysters Rich Man Poor Man Style – Oyster with Caviar & Leek and Potato Oyster Shooters
Drinks of Class – Beer, G&T, Bubbles
The canapes were actually served on the other side of the restaurant near the wharf. The three different drinks represented the three typical classes of passengers arriving at the quarantine station: Bubbles for first class, G&T for second class and Beer for the third class.
There were only two types of oysters: The upper class with Caviar and the lower one as shooters. I prefer the shooters than the ones with caviar as the latter was too dry and pretty warm for oysters.
Poached Smoked Haddock Fish Cakes with Wild Weeds with matching Bella Riva Pinot Grigio
The first course was the dish historically served for first class passengers. It had all of the elements of expensive entrée with sophisticated name and salmon roe at the top of the fish cakes.
Beef Braised in Ale with Cabbage, Carrots & Suet Dumplings with matching De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate Grown Shiraz
It was meant to be a third class dish. However, I’m pretty sure back then it was served and presented nowhere near this dish. The ingredients actually illustrated the difference in class. They used ale-based sauce and suet, or some might know it as beef or mutton fat.
Whole Saddle of Mutton, Neeps & Tatties, Garden Mint Sauce with matching Bella Riva Sangiovese
The third dish was designed as a share plate (I am wondering why it is not being done for the third class) for second-class passengers.
This dish was my personal favourite for the night. The fatty and crackle-like edge was so good when enjoyed with the garden mint sauce!
The chef asked us to plate our own dish… so here it is!
Pimms Jelly with Cream & Fruit – Middle Class Sweets
Again, it might not reflect a true ‘middle class’ back in the days with its presentation and edible flower. However, you would see how simple it was when compared to the desserts for the upper class passengers.
High Tea – Selection of Traditional & New Idea Sweets – with matching wines Deen De Bortoli Vat 5 Botrytis
High tea is the custom observed by the wealthy classes in England in the 1800s. It represented the upper class delicacies perfectly with the matching Botrytis.
The final verdict for Boilerhouse Harbourside Restaurant
Although it was not in the same stratosphere as Heston Blumenthal’s themed dinner, Boilerhouse’s was pretty amazing!
Did you know?
Boilerhouse Harbourside Restaurant is part of Q Station Sydney Harbour National Park in Manly. This place
There are a whole range of activities that you can do at Q Station, including Ghost Tours for every age… and for your bravery level!
Q Station, North Head Scenic Drive, Manly 2095
02 9466 1511