You know those times, when you are invited to an event and you don't know anyone else (apart from the host)? I usually feel quite nervous beforehand but last night has proven again, that those events are often some of the best.
You might've heard by now that Urbanspoon got taken over by Zomato in January this year. First I thought "oh no, I love Urbanspoon! I don't like change". But then I got to meet two guys, Mitch and Pranav, from the Zomato team for a coffee a few weeks ago and my worries were pretty much cast aside. The team seems super young, fun and motivated. Urbanspoon never actually had any people on the ground in Melbourne, so having actual real live people here to talk to is great!
Salt & Pepper Calamari and freshly shucked Tasmanian Oysters
Zomato invited a handful of other foodbloggers and myself to have dinner at Locanda Private Dining in the city. Just to meet each other and to also connect bloggers with each other. (We were not asked at any point to write a positive review about it. My following comments are all from my own experience, it really was that good!).
Locanda is part of the Rydges Hotel on Exhibition St and consists of the restaurant part and the private dining room. Sleek slate floors are surrounded by floor to ceiling glass wine cellars. Definitely a cool location! Head Chef at Locanda is Paul Griffiths, winner of Publisher’s Choice ‘Chef Of The Year” 2007 and Finalist in the AHA ‘Chef Of The Year” 2014 State Awards, so it sounded like we were in for a treat!
When I walked in I was immediately greeted by the friendly staff and asked whether I would like an Espresso Martini to start off with. Yes please! After mingling with the other bloggers and the guys from Zomato we meandered over to the buffet.
The buffet looked and smelled absolutely mouthwatering. The great thing about being amongst other food bloggers is that no one thinks you are making a fool of yourself by taking photos! After everybody had taken an (in)appropriate amount of photos we got to the fun part: loading up our plates.
Duck with pear and asparagus
There were Tasmanian oysters, salt and pepper calamari, duck with pear and asparagus, freshly sliced prosciutto, bruschettas and spicy salami. I'm glad they provided big plates! Everything was super fresh and delicious.
The duck with pear and asparagus was my absolute favourite, the meat was falling off the bone, super juicy and tender!
A whole pig!
The buffet for mains was even more impressive than the one before. There was A WHOLE ROASTED SUCKLING PIG! But not just that, there was salmon and rib eye and cannelloni and salads. And truffled fries with parmesan! So much to choose from! I decided to have a little bit of everything and of course some extra crackling.
Cannelloni and roast veggies
Salmon and beans
The pork was amazing, the meat juicy and full of flavour, the crackling super crispy! The chips were not just chips, they were absolutely delicious! The rib-eye had been cooked to medium-rare perfection and was served with a red wine jus.
Amazing truffle fries with parmesan - chicken - rocket salad
After more chatter, another serve of crackling and truffle chips and some more champagne we went to inspect the dessert buffet. It looked amazing! A big plate with macarons in the middle and mini cakes was the centre of attention.
Dessert - or part thereof! Delicious little sugary morsels
The cheese board, sponge cake and Black Forest cake almost paled in comparison. But don't worry, a German can spot a Black Forest Cake a mile away, even if this one was more of an upside-down version.
Black Forest Cake
With a plate of delicious little morsels and of course a piece of Black Forest Cake (or Schwarzwälderkirschtorte as it is called in German) I sat down to finish this amazing meal.
The little white chocolate parcel had an amazing tiramisu like cake inside. The macarons were exactly like macarons should be like. When you bite into it the light crunchy shell breaks and you get to the delicious ganache center. The upside-down Black Forest Cake, was chocolatey and to my delight, had whole cherries in it!
Macarons - light and crunchy and amazing
After more champagne and chatter I left an hour later than anticipated and felt super happy. I felt like I had made new friends while indulging on some very tasty food. Pretty great combination I think.
Strwberry Sponge Cake
I would definitely go back to Locanda, the food, especially the different meats, and service were amazing!
delicious champagne and bloggers being busy snapping photos
Thank you so much Zomato and Locanda for hosting this fun meet-up!
Edge Of My Plate was invited as a guest to dine at Locanda Private Dining, all opinions expressed are my own.