With the GFC (global financial crisis for those of you not up to date) in full effect, we were lucky to have an annual dinner we were reminded repeatedly. This year's dinner would be "scaled down" though.
I don't know what the original plans were, but the dinner ended up being held at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, a pretty swishy place already. Rumours abounded (I started them actually after discussing with HR about an ex-work mate wanting to attend and then being told the cost he would have to pay) that the cost per person was $150. For this price, I was saying that you could go to virtually the best restaurants in Melbourne and have a meal. However, I must say that the Yacht club did provide an excellent backdrop to the nights festivities where we congratulated ourselves on another year of good work and drank ourselves silly, well most people did anyway.
So here was the posse that I arrived with, all looking very glamourous and unrecogniseable. There wasn't a coffee stained shirt or crumpled trouser to be seen.
There was champagne, red wine and beer on arrival. I went the logical option and started with the champers before heading to the heaviers wines. The sparkling was quite good, and I had a few of those before moving to the beers and cabernet sauvignon.
This was in the warmth of the room, where a jacket wasn't needed.
Once we got outside though, it was refreshingly chilly at night, and jacket was a requirement.
The view though, made the cold worth it. It was just beautiful looking out into the bay and the jetty. Quite a lot of people were out on the balcony throughout the night, and some of us don't even smoke. There was also so close body heat exchange action going on, with the culprits, I mean the participants, being caught on night vision camera by other people. You know who you are :-).
Our entertainment for the night was from Captain Spalding. This delighted the old, more experienced, people amongst us. I was relayed stories of the good old days when Captain Spalding used to play at the Tavern where the floor was sticky and the ceiling was low. I was also told I would hear some great Aussie rock, as that's what the band were famous for. I was waiting for Flame Tree and Khe Sanh all night, but all we got was Buble and other slow jazzy stuff.
From Captain Spalding, we go to Captain Tin. Everyone couldn't help but pose in front of the large steering wheel.
Food wise, it was a three course meal with unlimited drinks. The first course was a cheese filled ravioli with pesto. I thoroughly enjoyed it, with the cheese not totally overpowering and the pesto complimenting it well.
For mains, there was an alternating option of Fish or Veal. Despite telling everyone on the table right at the start of the night that I really don't want the fish, they all conspired to make sure I got the fish. I was out of the balcony yapping away and when I got to the table, found that I got the fish. I asked the waiter to see if he could swap it for me. I then got another call so went outside to take it. When I got back, I was informed my meal was taken away. I knew it was a practical joke so didn't panic. I just sat there and waited and continued drinking my wine. Finally, my plate was re-instated onto the table. The veal was very tender and went well with the stuffing.
Desserts were a series of small offerings. The berry bread pudding was a tad too sweet, but I picked the berries out of it. The lemon layer cake with lemon curd and sponge interwoven was very good. The mint on top was a bit weird and didn't go with it I thought. Finally, there were tiny tarts with a chocolate shell, a pastry cream and a strawberry on top. This was delicious and I had about three of them.
It was a really enjoyable night and good to see people out of work. The food was good and the venue was really good. I kept going outside to just look at the view throughout the night. Hopefully there's still a company dinner next year, as I think it's a good way to end the year of work.