Still on the same tram (see previous posting) I suddenly espied the National Gallery of Victoria and on impulse, wishing my new-found friend a speedy goodbye, I decided to alight there and then, as there was an exhibition on which I wanted to see - and heh - it would be nice and cool in there!
By this time I was feeling decidedly peckish, but after viewing the rather tired-looking paninis and recycled quiches in the cafe on the ground floor of the gallery, I headed for the other cafe/bistro 'with garden view', which, too late I realised, was the rather swish, expensive restaurant option. However, no-one seemed to turn a blind eye at my attire (see previous posting) although my eyes practically did a somersault when I saw the prices.
I chose the watercress soup with gnocci and something or other - at $16 I thought it would be filling. After bringing me some rather nice bread and a perfect pat of unsalted butter, the waiter placed a huge, white, china soup plate, which was more surround than bowl, on the table in front of me. Two miniscule gnocci, each barely the size of my little fingernail, rested on the bottom of the bowl, accompanied by a sprig of watercress and two wafer-thin rolls of that something or other. He then poured the 'watercress puree', which was the colour of the green, green grass of home, from a tiny glass carafe onto the gnocci, as if it were some sacred elixir: the gnocci and their companions dutifully floated to the top of the liquid. I have to say the 'soup' was absolutely delicious although the whole ritual reminded me of the painting Circe Invidiosa by John Waterhouse, particularly when I compared the colour of my soup with the colour of the water in the gallery's garden pond. To my horror, I also discovered that my white top now sported a nice, green grass stain.
You'd think I'd have had the sense to pay up and shut up by now, wouldn't you? But no, my stomach was not satisfied, so instead of just ordering a skinny cap I acquiesced to the waiter's order, well rhetorical question really, to look at the dessert menu. Mango and grapefruit canelloni with yoghurt, lime sorbet and meringues tempted me - now that would surely quell my gastric juices and not be too calorific.
My waiter (yes, he was MY personal waiter by now) placed another huge, white, china, but this time dessert plate, with more surround than dish, in front of me, which acted as a canvas for an absolute work of art, so much so that I had to resist the temptation to take a photo with my I-phone. There were three little (and I mean tiny) morsels of golden-orange mango jelly canneloni, filled with yummy, milky-white yoghurt, and a dollop of sorbet with just a tinge of limewash colour, but whose sweet/sour flavour was like freshly-picked limes caressing my tingling tastebuds. However, where were the meringues and what were those slivers of pink that matched the flamingo pink stripes in my hair (courtesy of my hairdresser) and what were those crumbs of fragrant purple? With each scoop my spoon made all the colours on the plate swirled together until it resembled an artist's palette. (I might add the green smudge on my white top had now been joined by slightly less than artistic streaks of orange, pink and purple.) It finally dawned on me that the slivers of pink on my plate were the grapefruit, the crumbs of fragrant purple were crushed, crystallised violets, and what I thought were droppings of icing sugar were the meringues!
I asked for the bill - yes of course they took AMEX - didn't have the nerve to ask for a senior's discount - no I was not a member of the gallery as I was from Sydney (I thought too that might explain everything to this mild-mannered Melbournian) - and no I had let my NSW Art Gallery membership lapse - 'Tut!Tut!' - otherwise I could have had a reciprocal member's discount.
I think I redeemed myself though by passing my compliments to the chef on the food, especially that dessert.
Welcome to my blog!
Why Jacaranda you ask? In case you are reading this the other side of the world and are not sure, Jacaranda is the name of a beautiful tree, which blooms around Oct/Nov, mostly in the Eastern states of Australia. Its flowers are the most exquisite shade of blue-purple, the nearest comparison probably being hyacinth blue, so who could not be inspired to write by such a spiritual colour? When the jacarandas start to blossom, you know it's exam time, but you also know that Christmas is just around the corner. It is said that if a jacaranda flower falls on your head as you walk underneath a tree, good fortune is sure to follow, so guess who did a lot of walking under jacaranda trees! Watch this space for changing images of this lovely tree!