When you receive a personalized invitation in the mail welcoming you to a sensory tasting and cocktail dining experience with Grey Goose, the World’s Best Tasting Vodka from France, and Melbourne’s epicurean establishment Saint Crispin, you clear your calendar. And also in my case, get a baby sitter. We were delighted to attend an intimate dinner at Saint Crispin’s private dining room upstairs. The three-course bespoke menu was created by head chef Joe Grbac and the cocktails by Joe McCanta, mixologist, jazz pianist, Grey Goose’s Global Brand Ambassador, and the host of last night’s incredible dining experience.
The French have always been an authority on style and taste, and Grey Goose is no exception. Created from the finest ingredients from France, captured from field to bottle with only one distillation and filtration process to ensure more taste and less neutralization, it’s no wonder that Grey Goose vodka would also embody the subtle sophistication that is signature to the French. Why the grey goose? These carefree birds were seen gliding over the soft winter wheat farms in Picardy and so the lucky avian became the symbol of soaring success.
On the way to dinner, hubby and I were reminiscing about the good old days where Cavellero used to reside at 300 Smith St. Obviously we’d not been to Saint Crispin before, because now we see why all the hype from the fine-dining crowd, and um, Cavellero who? The main course was a spectacular Wagyu beef cheek and rump. It was beautifully braised and super tender. Dessert was heavenly: a lovely parfait of hazelnuts, soft like icecream but not too nutty or crunchy, coated with a very crispy phyllo pastry and garnished with caramelised pear and almond gel. I am a convert.
Joe did a sterling job sharing his extensive knowledge with an intimate crowd that was becoming progressively more tipsy with each “lesson”. Not only were we educated about taste, aroma and flavour through Joe’s fun and informative mixologist demonstrations, we had the opportunity to create our very own bespoke Grey Goose cocktails, and of course, enjoy the exquisite three-course meal.
The entree plate helped us ascertain our favourite tastes from sweet, sour and bitter. Umami, the lesser known taste that makes foods like truffles and miso so delicious, was saved for the main course with a professionally mixed and matched cocktail by James Wynn-Williams – the Australian Grey Goose brand ambassador. What about salt? Well, Joe informed us that salt is actually the least important taste from a developmental perspective, but the best at unlocking flavour, so naturally we all added a pinch of salt to our Grey Goose creations.
I also had the utmost pleasure of meeting Tim, who shoots for Epicure and Broadsheet, so I seized the opportunity to grab a photo with the man whose work makes all of us drool.
Something else I learnt last night is the importance of aromas. We were asked to taste mint leaves whilst pinching our noses. Try it! Absolutely no flavour at all, but as soon as our fingers were released, the refreshing fragrance gushed up our palate. According to the expert mixologist the best way to ‘release’ the flavour of mint is to clap your hands over it. Very soon, the room broke into a cacophony of applause. Oh, and the best way to add the zestiness of lemon to your drinks is to twist the rind to release its natural oils.
I used to be a goose about drinks, but now thanks to Joe McCanta and Grey Goose, I’m starting to fly beyond my personal taste.
Where: Saint Crispin 300 Smith St Colingwood
Wear: Vintage Dress & Clutch / Celine Earrings / YSL heels
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