Our company had a table at the Cancer Institute NSW’s 2015 Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research (“Cancer NSW Awards”) dinner held at the Doltone House, Hyde Park tonight. We dolled ourselves up after work (which for me really just meant I slipped on a dress), brought our partners along, and gradually regrouped at the function where excellence and innovation in cancer research was celebrated. We all know, however, that there was only one thing I was really after tonight: the food (sorry, you genuinely excellent and innovative cancer research people).

Before the awards night officially began, cocktail canapes were served around the dimly lit ballroom where professionals professionally mingled. Tonight, the canapes menu was rather Asian-inspired, with items such as the very soft and sweet mini barbecue pork buns, prawn dumplings with soy sauce that was too salty, and my favourite bite-sized smoked salmon cream cheese pikelets. No pictures of the canapes; we had also unfortunately and inadvertently formed a closed circle that didn’t invite many canapes waiters.

Park, August 2015: Bread

Doltone House Hyde Park, August 2015: Bread

There were many famous faces, including the witty and hilarious master of ceremonies Adam Spencer, whom I admittedly hadn’t heard of because I live under a rock, and other big names from the health field. We helped ourselves to the soft crusty bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip on the table. After the first couple of awards, entrees were served. The awards presentation was viewable from pretty much all angles because it was cast on the many large wall-mounted TV screens.

Doltone House Hyde Park, August 2015: Prawn Cocktail (entree)

Doltone House Hyde Park, August 2015: Prawn Cocktail (entree)

The great thing about bringing and sitting next to a partner to events like this? The opportunity to choose my dish! We worked out early on who would get which plate from the menu. For the entrees it was an easy decision. Richard got the prawn cocktail because he loves prawn, and I’m certainly not going to complain about my perfectly cooked, flavoursome herb-rolled lamb back strap.

Park, August 2015: Lamb Back Strap (entree)

Park, August 2015: Lamb Back Strap (entree)

For the main, I picked the chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto served with polenta, while Richard had the other, the slow cooked beef cheeks with creamed potatoes.

Park, August 2015: Chicken Breast Wrapped in Prosciutto (main)

Park, August 2015: Chicken Breast Wrapped in Prosciutto (main)

The only thing I remembered about my chicken breast in prosciutto was how ridiculously salty the accompanying polenta was. I finished the meat and the buttered spinach, but just couldn’t take another bite of the cornmeal.

Park, August 2015: Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks (main)

Park, August 2015: Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks (main)

Richard’s slow-cooked beef cheeks was definitely the far better choice. It’s succulent and tender and oh my god Richard you have a slow cooker at home we have to start using it and attempt to reproduce this dish, right now!

Professional manners, professional manners…

The night was overrunning a little by this stage, but there’s dessert to make up for it. They were the passionfruit cheesecake, or the Belgium chocolate fondant.

Park, August 2015: Passionfruit Cheese Cake (dessert)

Park, August 2015: Passionfruit Cheese Cake (dessert)

Another wrong decision on my part for picking the passionfruit cheesecake with berry jam and meringue. Underneath the adorably round cheesecake was a delicately presented meringue that I’ve never been a huge fan of (my fault), which was sickly sweet (not my fault) and despite being crispy, was quite hard to eat without it attempting to fly off in the opposite direction (not sure if my fault). I saw several from other tables leave their meringue on their plate.

Park, August 2015: Belgium Chocolate Fondant (dessert)

Park, August 2015: Belgium Chocolate Fondant (dessert)

The chocolate fondant with orange bitter semifreddo, which I got to try because Richard performed his boyfriend duty and let me have a good chunk of it, was once again superior and the word “indulgent” comes to mind. Still too sweet for my liking, but that’s most definitely just me.

Overall, the award dinner’s serving size was very decent compared to other functions I’ve attended, but I found the food to be generally over-seasoned. But of course the awards night was all about the achievements of the various experts in the field. Congratulations to all the awards winners and nominees for all their accomplishments and contribution to the community!

Doltone House Hyde Park

Address 3/181 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
Speciality / Cuisine Functions and events
Other Notes Attended as a work function

We stayed at the Pullman Cairns International Hotel for the duration of my half business half pleasure work play trip in Cairns, and for the week we had various foods from the hotel restaurant and catering, starting every day with a delicious breakfast at the buffet!

Buffet Breakfast

I absolutely loved the breakfast buffet, and so when we extended our stay, we got breakfast with our room extension as well. Most breakfast items you could think of are available here, including even Chinese congee and Japanese miso soup.

There is an egg station in the middle where a staff helps cook eggs to your liking. I didn’t try that because there’s often a queue, and I was quite happy with their buffet egg options — fried available on all days and scrambled in different texture on different days.

Conference Catering

We had the hotel catering for the conference, and the food quality was exceptional. There were different foods on the three days for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, with hot foods, cold foods, finger foods, desserts, fruits, and some vegetarian and gluten free options available.

The only annoying thing was how efficient they were at clearing everything as soon as another session of talks started. What were we the exhibitors meant to eat and drink when we actually had free time? But seriously, best conference food ever.

Conference Dinners (Reception and Gala)

We had a light, buffet style reception dinner on the first night by the pooldeck. There were salads, 5 or 6 hot dishes such as rump steak (perfect pink), sausages and potatoes, and desserts (panna cotta, chocolate mousse cake, lemon curd tart and mini pavlova) that even appealed to someone without a sweet tooth like me. No pictures because it was quite dark at the event, and I didn’t want to risk dropping my phone into the pool.

The conference dinner in the Grand Ballroom on the Saturday night was $135 per person, and most conference delegates, sponsors and guests attended the event. The food quality was decent, but the quantity simply couldn’t possibly satisfy me. There was also live band entertainment that also wasn’t my thing (wrong era, wrong genre, volume too high). I guess this dinner was more about the social than the meal itself.

Overall, I’m very happy with the food at the Pullman Cairns International Hotel. It’s definitely a choice if you want to impress and for the most part had made work more pleasant for me.

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The season of overeating was enhanced by a gorgeous wedding event in between! The venue was the Tea Room at Gunners Barracks, Mosman, with an absolutely stunning view.

Tea Room Gunners Barrack: Afternoon View

Tea Room Gunners Barrack: Afternoon View

After the brief ceremony and group photos, various canapes were served at the balcony. Everyone remarked how good they were even after the second and third rounds of the same dish.

Dinner was lamb for the men, and chicken for the ladies. There was also a super creamy cauliflower with cheese and broccolini for the table to share.

Tea Room Gunners Barrack: Dinner

Tea Room Gunners Barrack: Dinner

Bite-sized desserts weren’t served at the table but in the courtyard where we witnessed the couple’s first dance. It was a beautiful night for stargazing as well, only less so because I got bitten by sandflies in 6 places as soon as I got out.

Tea Room Gunners Barrack: Sunset View

Tea Room Gunners Barrack: Sunset View

Excellent venue choice, and congratulations again to the couple!

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