Have you ever wondered what it’s like going to dinner with a load of food bloggers? Well let me tell you, a whole lot of flash photography and some delicious (if not a little cold) food!
I was delighted to be asked to accompany a work colleague to a “foodie” dinner at Brisbane restaurant Pony last week. I am not a Brisbanite, nor am I from Queensland, and so any chance to dine out in the big smoke and experience Brisbane life is a real treat. We were treated as VIP guests and escorted to a beautifully rustic, yet simple dining set-up in prime position overlooking the Brisbane river. As a tourist in this town, I was snapping and posing with the city lights behind me at every opportunity.
Such events are always hosted, and we were greeted by our lovely PR girl who were learned had already dined with a table of bloggers and foodies at Pony the night before. The most challenging part for her is that she’s a vegetarian and Pony is regarded as a pioneer of the wood-fire grill, serving up some delicious meat and seafood. To the restaurant’s credit, they individually catered for her needs, serving up different and delicious vegetarian courses on consecutive nights. Think beetroot done three ways. So, that took care of our PR friend.
As for me and my fellow-diners, it seemed most had met before, many times in fact, and they seem to dine together more frequently than they do with their families. It sounds exhausting! Each course was introduced by an attentive and charismatic waiter, who took us through the array of ingredients displayed before us. For each course, we were presented with two options, for sharing obviously, and for most courses, a new tipple of wine. In fact, the booze flowed freely, maybe a ploy for a better review? Just a thought.
So far so good, the foods on the table, we’re all having a nice chat, and then it begins – the incessant photography! It was obviously my mistake thinking we were here to eat. I’m not just talking a quick snap of a mobile phone, I’m talking full on SLRs or camera phones with fancy lighting attachments, and perfectly positioned plates and accessories. Multiple shots, takes, and flashes to get that perfect picture. I watched on, embarrassed to admit I could barely work the flash on my phone. Needless to say, by the time we got to the food it was a little cold, one diner sharing her children’s gripes at having regularly to eat their dinners cold.
Having said all of this, when we finally got to it, the food was divine. Highlights included a delicious smoked butter for your bread, medium-cooked beef and lamb with an array of sides, jus galore, compotes and various garnishes to boot! And despite a dessert reminding me a little of smoked salmon (I think it was the dill), the food was spectacular, but that’s not what this is about.
It turns out I fancy myself as a bit of foodie. There I was making notes, and critiquing the food like some sort of expert – “There’s not enough chilli with those prawns. Is that cucumber in the dessert?” In all seriousness, I did learn a couple of things, beetroot is definitely hot right now and anything smoked goes! These guys may not be professional chefs but they eat out more than most and certainly know what food pulls a crowd, so who can argue with them. If being a blogger means multiple yummy meals in return for a delightful review, I can understand their modus operandi. There seems to be a wonderful comradery between this emerging group of fanatical diners, and I was privileged and enlightened to have joined them – if only for one night.
By Charlotte Hall