So off we went. In our Sunday best on Saturday because we knew we would be filmed the whole time.
We arrive at the Three Bistro location and there are large Channel 7 signs up reading "You will be filmed". At this point I began to panic. Did I really want to do this? Too late. A well dressed, blonde lady sporting an apron is smiling at us by the entrance. As we turn the corner to walk in the door BAM there is a TV camera right in our face.The blonde lady introduced herself by name and asked if we had a reservation, excused herself to check the bookings book and returned to show us to our table. I can not remember her name as I was so intimidated by the cameras and getting to my seat without some grave unfortunate tripping or slipping accident which could then be used on Funniest Home Videos instead! I do remember her name was similar to my daughter, Liana. Her speech was a little rough and a likely troubled life was showing on her face, but her hair and makeup was tasteful, she was welcoming and had a big smile.
Once we were seated a young man approached the table to introduce himself and welcome us to the restaurant. His name was David. Camera's still in our face he takes what felt like eternity to place our napkins on our laps. He offered up distilled tap water, bottled still water or sparkling still water. He was nervous poor guy, we opted for a tap water, hey it is in abundance in Brisbane currently. (Flood Warnings) Cameras leave with David this time, finally I get to relax. Momentarily.
So we are handed menus and poured water and began reading. Meanwhile I am thinking 'How can I snitch myself one of these menus for the blog' and my eating partner is choosing some wine. We went with an NZ Sauv Blanc, of course!
Now I am no gastronomical wiz, but I would have thought I would have been able to decipher the menu fully. Alas not. One can bluff your way through most of the time, except when the people you are dining with have a more limited knowledge than yours and ask you questions.
After realising I did not know what 'ascabeche' or 'bottarga' was I felt extremely uncultured and turned to David for support. I was surprised he couldn't answer. However he went directly to the chef got the information he needed and returned to give us everything we needed to know. What impressed me most was that he even told us how to pronounce the words. He was proud that he could tell us. It was at this point I sensed an keen interest and growing passion for his new direction in the hospitality industry. This becomes more evident later in the story.
So we order our meals and decide to go straight to mains and skip entree as it is lunch time and one should keep it light.
Darling Downs Wagyum Marble Score 6, Striploin $39
Cotoletta of free range Western Plain Pork with Italian coleslaw $33.50
Fillet of kingfish with oyster and mussel escabeche $34.50
And the special of the day, Roasted duck and mushroom Pie $32
We had a nice time taking in the decor, checking out where all the cameras were, the mirrors, the lighting. We were on a TV set. And as there was only one other table dining in the restaurant it was quiet.
Here comes the food and back come the cameras. The cameras stayed with us for quite some time. They wanted to hear and see our reactions to food and it became obvious that they were not leaving until we had each taken a bite. Hence the reason why I don't have 'complete' food photos.
I was really impressed with the food. My Kingfish was delish. The steak was cooked as requested and was very good. The roast duck and mushroom pie was a bit of a let down, however that could have just been personal taste. I am not sure, I have never had a duck and mushroom pie before. The pastry was delicious. All meals were plated beautiful, cooked to perfection and very generous servings. Some came with side, but I ordered a green salad. It was fresh, tasty and dressed just how I like it. Light splattering of a white wine vinaigrette if my taste buds serve me right.
Daily Special - Roast Duck and Mushroom Pie
The pork was the winner though, it was sensational. Lightly crumbed and as Liana said "mmm juicy".
My sauv Blanc with Pork in the background
Mains were cleared, then desserts menu stalking began. I would have chosen the Lemon Tart with clotted cream ($12), because I love tradition.
The children decided on the Creme Brulee with green apple sorbet and old fashioned tea cake ($16). It was OUTSTANDING! Once each element was in your mouth it was like a little apple pie. The children loved it. And I took note that it would be perfect for a dinner party and my new Kitchenaid icecream attachment.
Creme Brulee with green apple sorbet and old fashioned tea cake
The adults decided on a coffee (Lavazza). I am one of these diners that believe that if you cant get the simple things right then you have no chance. Good salad, fries and coffee are essential. We didn't have fries, but the salad and coffee were very good.
The cameras kept returning, but by this time they had become familiar and didn't worry us too much, I think the wine helped.
When David came back to the table we asked him about his experience and what he was enjoyed about it all. He told us he had come for a military background and that he had two weeks to learn everything he needed to know for opening night. I told him he did really well! What we didn't tell him that he needs to stop saying 'No dramas' He must have said it 30 times during our lunch. It was nerves I am sure.
We asked David how the charity situation worked. He explained that at the end they take all the money and divide it amongst the 12 contestants and each contestant chooses the charity they would like their share to go to. David has already chosen Diabetes Australia because his girlfriend and her family suffer greatly with Diabetes. Then out of the corner of my eye I see the cameras approaching again, this time to ask question. So they ask, we respond etc etc. They left again.
One last talk with Front of House trainer, Lisa Parker (from Lure Corro, Pier Nine etc) was fantastic. She asked about David's performance and anything he could do to improve his skills. She talked about the lives of these people she has now started 'mothering' and how much she is looking forward to seeing them grow and learn throughout the six week challenge. She suggested we book again quickly if we were wanting to come back because bookings were filling up.
For the first time ever when I asked for the bill I felt fantastic. Looking down at the total of $205 and knowing that the profits were potentially not only giving 12 people a new start in life, but also helping charities made me feel like we were part of something good.
As we were rebooking for a few weeks time, Lisa Parker passed me a menu and I was so pleased. We rebooked with David to serve us. I hope to go a few times over the six week period to watch how David develops and then when the show airs I will have a personal interest in his success. (This was Lisa Parker's idea)
So, what is my plan of attack for the next visit you may ask? Well this is what I am doing, and what I would recommend.
- Book soon, and ask for David.
- Have a few drinks at the Emporium bar first to warm up to your potential TV debut.
- I will maybe have an entree and would probably choose the Truffled duck liver and foie gras parfait with ginger pear chutney ($17). It sounds mighty interesting.
- I will have the Western Plain Pork ($33.50) because one bite was not enough!
- To finish a coffee with the Lemon tart ($12) but will talk my fellow diner into the Creme Brulee ($16) so I can have some.
Any questions, ask otherwise JUST DO IT. And then report back here about your experience. The number one thing I learnt from this experience is that I can definitely cross PORN STAR off my career options, I just cant perform with a camera in my face constantly! haha
P.S. Go to Eat, Drink and Be Kerry blog HERE for a fantastic review and copy of the menu.