Melbourne Festival Foxtel Festival Hub10/21/2013 08:06:00 AM
|The Melbourne Festival Foxtel Festival Hub|
We're really lucky in Melbourne to have a vibrant arts and cultural scene - we get heaps of concerts, plays, musicals and art exhibitions, and there always seems to be some sort of fun festival going on. Apart from the whole food thing (no Sarah, really?), I love musicals and concerts, so we always try to make an effort to see different ones - right from big touring stadium shows (I saw Ricky Martin last night and he was AMAZING), to blockbuster musicals (Wicked - eight times, King Kong - once), to more obscure ones, like Next to Normal and [title of show]. (Musical theatre fans: I just realised that Chapel Off Chapel is putting a performance of Next to Normal on this weekend!) This past couple of years, we've really enjoyed seeing the musicals that The Production Company puts on - it's Jeannie Pratt's initiative, which brings three different musicals a year in short runs of about a week. The limited run means they can put a wide variety of shows on, and get big stars for their shows. (Amanda Harrison as Reno Sweeney! Caroline O'Connor as Mamma Rose!) I think I sometimes take it for granted. I have friends from other cities in Australia and overseas who'd love to have access to such a wide range of performances.
|Festival Hub Bar|
But, back to festivals. As part of the Melbourne Festival, I was invited to try lunch at the Foxtel Festival Hub. N.B. My invitation wasn't contingent on my writing a post about it, and although lunch was complimentary, I wasn't remunerated or given other incentives to post - I just think it's a great initiative, and that some of y'all might enjoy it! It's also been ages since I got such pretty outdoor photos in the beautiful sunlight and just had to share them. Also: yay for the warmer weather!
So, details. The Festival Hub is a temporary pop-up bar and purpose-built performance space, just behind Princes Bridge on the banks of the Yarra river. It will be open daily from midday til late for the duration of the Melbourne Festival (i.e. until the 27th October), with shows in the performance space, free DJ sets, daytime talks and more.
Beautiful day for it, don't you think?
|Chingón Taco Truck|
The Hub will host a rotating selection of Melbourne Food Trucks, including Chingón Tacos, Mr Burger, Dos Diablos, Soul Kitchen Pizza, Trailer Made Food, Banh Mi Boys, White Guy Cooks Thai, Dude Food Man, The Brûlée Cart, Yoghurddiction and Beatbox Kitchen. (Check out the Festival Hub Timetable for details - pretty convenient, if, like me, you're never anywhere near the food trucks, or if you always seem to drive past them after you've already eaten!)
The Tommy Collins truck will be there every day of the Festival, and it is their food that we sampled this afternoon.
|The Tommy Collins Van|
|Latte - $4 reg / $5 lrg|
Festival coffee can be a bit hit or miss, so I'm glad to say that this was a very good one!
|Salads by Tommy Collins|
We started by trying three different salads - these are all available in takeaway containers from the Tommy Collins truck. I was impressed by all of them, particularly "The Little Ox", a vibrant and crunchy mixture of poached chicken, quinoa, seeds and roasted pumpkin.
|The Little Ox - poached chicken, quinoa, mint, feta, sweet potato, mixed seeds & yogurt - $9 for a full serve|
|Roast Beetroot - Persian feta, herby croutes & dukka - $9 for a full serve|
|Miso Baked King Salmon - green beans, eggplant, soba noodles & wasabi mayo - $9 for a full serve|
|Slow-cooked sher wagyu with cauliflower skordalia|
The sher wagyu was a big hit around the table, with super tender meat, rich jus and creamy cauliflower purée. It fell apart with a fork.
|Slow-cooked Poon Boon lamb with herb and lentil salad|
I actually preferred the lamb to the beef. Whilst the beef dish was quite a classic combination, skillfully made, the lamb dish was quite a bit more complex. I liked the earthy lentils against the fresh parsley and pungent onions, whilst the generous sprinkling of black salt enhanced the lamb's inherent sweetness.
|Pulled Lamb Shwarma - wrapped with iceberg lettuce, tomato, pickled cabbage & Kansas City BBQ aioli - $10 for a full serve|
Tommy of Tommy Collins told us that the shwarmas are the most popular item, and whilst I liked the pulled lamb, smoky sauce and crisp cabbage, the standout for me was the fluffy, fluffy, lightly toasted flatbread. Mmm... fluffy.
|Affogato, house muesli bar ($4 for a full serve), Brownie ($4 for a full serve)|
Desserts were presented on these funky palette plates, complete with thumb hole and space to hold a drink. Now, someone just needs to design a plate that also holds a camera, and I'd be set! The keener-eyed among you will notice that with that affogato, I'd had two coffees at lunch - I was buzzing by the time I got back to the office!
The desserts were nice, particularly the muesli bar, which has a sweet caramel taste from the addition of (I believe) dates. (Similar to my salted date caramel flapjacks, actually!) However, the desserts weren't particularly unusual or noteworthy, especially compared to the savoury dishes.
|Brownie, Muesli Bar|
As we left, I stopped to take some photos of the skyline. I couldn't believe what a gorgeous day it was!
|The Arts Centre|
Sarah had lunch at the Foxtel Festival Hub as a guest of the Melbourne Festival.