With the race that stops the nation fast approaching there are many decisions to be made: What to wear? Who to celebrate with? But most importantly, where to go? Backyard Opera is here to help with the latter, and we’ve done the hard work for you. Here are our top five picks for Melbourne Cup Day venues, with the low down on drinks, dress and menus.
The Unicorn – Paddington
If you’re looking for an upmarket twist on a quintessentially Aussie day out, then head to The Unicorn Hotel in Paddington for their reinvented pub classics. This year The Unicorn is hosting a boozy Banquet Lunch comprised of share plates brimming with seafood and seasonable vegetables, plus some classic desserts and a glass of sparkling on arrival. For $80 a head you can get your hands on a range of favourites including fresh oysters, raw hiramasa kingfish, roast pumpkin salad, barbeque prawns and strawberry pavlova. If you needed another reason to choose The Unicorn this Melbourne Cup, then consider their $30 cocktail jugs and more importantly their choice to donate $1.00 from every schooner of Resch’s bought on the day to the Coalition for the Protection of Race Horses. So, don your Tuesday best and prepare for a day of fresh eats, beer and bubbles.
Book via: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bookings without the banquet option are also available.
The Royal – Leichardt
The newly renovated Royal is perfectly positioned in the heart of Leichardt and is the choice location for locals to celebrate Cup Day. From 12pm onwards the upstairs level of the pub – The Royal Botanical Bar – will be a hub of festivities. For $75 a head you can purchase a lavish two-course lunch with shared entrees including braised beef croquettes and octopus carpaccio, and a main course of pan fried salmon fillet or a roasted scotch fillet. With a glass of Mumm Champagne or tap beer in hand, stroll among the greenery on the airy garden terrace or grab a seat on the balcony and take in the view. TAB facilities will be open from 8am in addition to an all-day HD broadcast of action at Flemington. This one’s a fancy affair and there will be prizes for best hat and best dressed, so make sure you’re bringing your A game!
The Botanical at Highfield – Caringbah
Swing by The Botanical at Highfield, Caringbah this Melbourne Cup for a sophisticated and champagne filled luncheon. Highfield has partnered with Moet & Chandon this year which is just one of the drawcards for celebrating at this gorgeous rooftop venue. For $79 per person you will receive a complementary glass of Moet plus a selection of delicious canapes on arrival, including almond and goats cheese truffles and Peking Duck pancakes. For the main course there is a spectacular seafood share platter filled with cooked tiger prawns, pacific oysters, tuna and finger lime ceviche, salt and pepper squid, beer battered flathead fillets and king salmon gravlax. In addition, you’ll get a crisp green mango and herb salad, chips and fresh bread on the side. Just to make it even harder to choose, for dessert there is a selection of bombe Alaska and fruit or sticky date pudding and figs. There are vegetarian options too, but let them know when you are making a booking, making The Botanical at Highfield the perfect place to celebrate in style this Melbourne Cup.
More info here: https://highfieldcaringbah.com.au/bookings/
Song Kitchen – CBD
The Song Kitchen has something for everyone this Melbourne Cup day, and with all proceeds going towards helping fund YWCA programs around NSW, how can you say no? Being situated conveniently in the middle of the CBD makes The Song Kitchen accessible for everyone, and with food as delicious as it is pretty you’ll be ready to return with or without the draw of horse racing. For just $30 a head, enjoy eight delectable canapes at the bar, or if you’re looking for a more luxurious day out, splurge on the restaurant package for $85 a head. This option includes a three-course meal with individual selections for each course: roast duck salad or fried cauliflower for the entrée, wild greens and ricotta borek, pan fried king trout, or chargrilled wagyu hanger steak for the main, and an almond tart or cheese plate for dessert. Mumm Champagne will be flowing at $15 a glass, with an all-day live stream of the action at the track, so throw on your heels and book a seat for this indulgent day out.
More info here: https://www.songkitchen.com.au/2018/09/melbourne-cup-lunch/
Acre Eatery – Camperdown
From 12-4pm this Melbourne Cup, Acre Eatery in Camperdown is offering a stunning long luncheon for $99 per person. Amid the airy, conservatory-esque space you’ll be greeted with a complimentary glass of sparkling or beer and house-baked bread paired with a delicious almond and white bean hummus. Later on, at the sit-down luncheon there are two choices for each course: grilled asparagus and goats cheese mousse or chicken and pork terrine for the entrée; pan-fried Cone Bay barramundi or chargrilled grass-fed sirloin for the main (served with chips and a fresh garden salad); and a classic Australian peach melba pavlova or a homemade chocolate bar for dessert. With a beautiful seasonal influences this luncheon will be as luxurious and as it is summery. An alternative to the lunch is Acre Eatery’s Garden Party from 12:30-3:30pm, for $79 a head. This includes a three-hour drinks package – including house wines, beers and ciders, soft drinks and juices – plus a selection of gourmet share plates.
More info here: Melbourne+cup+menu.pdf
Matteo Downtown - CBD
New, exciting and smack bang in the middle of the CBD, Matteo Downtown are putting on an $140 per-person spread or an $85 per-person curated canapé and seasonal spritz menu, with DJs and entertainment taking you from day into night. For sweepstakes, prizes for best dressed and more go downtown for your big day at the races. http://matteosydney.com/downtown/
The Botanica Vaucluse - Vaucluse
Get nestled into the leafy surrounds of The Botanica Vaucluse to watch the big race. The farm to fork restaurant is putting on an a la carte four-course menu for $120 that is complemented by a glass of sparkling on arrival, so enjoy your day in style. http://www.thebotanicavaucluse.com.au/
Establishment – CBD
Across Establishment there will be a range of cup day events. Nearby Mr. Wong will have a nine-dish Cantonese feast for $185 while Sushi e and hemmesphere will come together for a lavish five-course set vision and a flute of Veuve for $175. The main bar will be a major party destination, with food drinks and a big atmosphere all sure to win many punters over.
ivy – CBD
In and around the ivy precinct there will be luxurious parties galore. Go Italian riviera-style at the ivy pool club for $150 or sit in ivy’s open-air courtyard and enjoy the day with a three-course menu for $120. Check out the other dining venues around with Felix, uccello, Palings and Bar Topa all hosting their own bite-sized parties. www.merivale.com/melbournecup