04 Aug Grand Hotel, Richmond – 130th Birthday Celebratory Dinner
The Grand Hotel has been serving up classic Italian food done well, and they’ve been doing it for 14 years, being awarded chefs hats by the Good Food Guide almost every year since 2006. The hotel itself has been running for 130 years and to celebrate their birthday, I was invited to a party meetup hosted by Zomato and put together by The Three Piece Suit and owners David, Katie, Barnie and Tiur. With such an impressive track record, and having had good experiences with them in the past, how could I say no?
Our dinner took place on the first floor, which has three rooms and a bar available for booking both individually or as a single space.
At the central bar area we were served three canapes: cured ocean trout with citrus and mixed berries, tomato and basil bruschetta, and the poached veal tongue crostini with salsa verde. These were absolutely delicious and made for a great start to the evening. Even the crostini used as the bases were delightful.
After enjoying our canapes we were taken into the Nesso room, where we were informed that the kitchen was down a chef and we had to cook our own food. Of course, it was just a segway into a fun, interactive session where we donned our aprons and took a hands-on approach to dinner. The table held a spread of ingredients we could use to put with our fillet of Cone Bay barramundi, and we were instructed on how to wrap it in terracotta by none other than head chef Mattia Aloisio. For my creation, I added potatoes, garlic, rosemary, braised leeks, chilli, lemon zest and a slice of lemon.
We were then led to the Como room, where a beautifully decorated room awaited us. The decor of the room and amazing sweets bar display, which included sweet goodies from Cake and Co was put together by event stylist The Three Piece Suit, using stationary by Lauren Skorsis.
The second part of our feast was the antipasti. The pepper crusted venison carpaccio, goats cheese mousse and beetroot was one of my favourite dishes of the night. The venison was so smooth and delicate, and the goats cheese mousse and beetroot added just the right amount of sweet and sour to balance but not overpower the beautiful meat.
The agrodolce quail came next, with porcini mushroom puree, brussel sprouts, quail egg and black truffles. I hadn’t had this Italian sweet and sour sauce before. It wasn’t as in-your-face as the sweet and sour sauce you might find in ‘Chinese’ cuisine, and its subtle approach suited the more delicate meat of the quail well. And the puree. The porcini mushroom puree and black truffles were pure decadence.
The next segment of the dinner were the primi. We were treated to a perfectly cooked broad bean, pecorino and mint risotto that really packed a punch…
…and the mortadella cappelletti in chicken brodo. The broth was amazingly clear, simple and flavoursome and the little morsels of pasta contained theh enjoyable savoury bursts of mortadella.
We finally got to see the fruits of our labour, making use of our rolling pins to unearth our next dish from within their terracotta casings. My combination of ingredients worked out much better than I expected, and the Cone Bay barramundi was cooked to perfection – the fish was sweet, moist and juicy after spending time basking in the oven.
We ended our meal on a sweet note with the Lemon Delizia, or ‘lemon delicious’. This consisted of lemon cream, a soft cookie within, limoncello and lemon jelly. I loved the balance of sweet and sour, and the extra texture provided by the lovely crumb and hardened lemon zest that accompanied it.
And of course, no birthday celebration would be complete without cake.
Grand Hotel offers a complimentary birthday degustation dinner for its VIPs, which is a program that’s free to join via its website. I look forward to returning to see what other Italian delights the kitchen can cook up!
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Grand Hotel as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.
The Grand Richmond Dining Room
333 Burnley St
Richmond, VIC, 3121
(03) 9429 2530