The first Saturday of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival started off as a grey one, but that didn’t stop Melbournians hitting the streets to attend the Southgate Fiesta on Southbank. On offer by several Southbank restaurants were $15 tasting plates in line with this year’s theme of water. We checked out two restaurants in particular – Pure South and Bear Brass to see what they had on offer.
Arriving at 12:50pm at Pure South for a 1pm booking, we were pleasantly welcomed by a waiter and offered a seat on the terrace overlooking Southbank. The view was gorgeous and the sun had just popped out. The philosophy of Pure South, we later discovered, is all about celebrating the amazing produce that Tasmania has on offer. Using the theme of water in a very clever way, head chef Ashley Davis explains that the menu considers and utilises the neighboring islands of Tasmania to inspire the charcuterie tasting plate. A mixture of wagyu beef brisket from Robin Island, lamb sausages from Flinders Island, Chorizo from Mount Gnomon Farm as well as King Island cheddar resulted in a beautiful mix of meats. The brisket and lamb sausages clear standouts on the plate as incredible must-haves.
Feeling satisfied, our next stop for the afternoon was BearBrass. While the service was a little confused, we eventually sorted out our table and ordered a tasting plate of Tasmanian Pacific and Angasi, Sydney rock and Coffin Bay Oysters. They were served with a beautiful little vinaigrette and parsley dressing. It’s always interesting to compare types of oysters side by side, and we found that the Tasmanian Pacific and Coffee Bay oysters were our favourites on the plate.
Once our stomachs were full, it was time to go check out the boutique wineries on offer as part of Southgate Fiesta. All stallholders were very friendly and open to wine sampling, with some smaller boutiques taking the opportunity to provide specials on the day.
Overall it was a great way to spend a few hours – eating, drinking and discovering what Southbank has to offer other than Crown Casino.
For other events related to Southgate, please refer to the Celebrate Southgate website.