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A Night of Antipodean Delights: Celebrating Australia and New Zealand at Winestone

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Winestone restaurant at Mercure Singapore on Stevens Road.

As the sun set over Singapore’s bustling Orchard District, an air of excitement filled Winestone restaurant at Mercure Singapore on Stevens Road. On this special evening, coinciding with Matariki, the Māori New Year, the restaurant was set to host an extraordinary celebration of Australian and New Zealand cuisine. The team from Is Life a Recipe Food & Travel Blog was honoured to receive an invitation to this prestigious event, promising an unforgettable evening ahead.

A Night of Antipodean Delights Celebrating Australia and New Zealand at Winestone

Setting the Scene

Located at 28 Stevens Road, Winestone transformed into a microcosm of Down Under, with subtle decorations hinting at the Antipodean theme. The warm lighting and inviting atmosphere set the perfect stage for what was to be an evening of diplomacy and cultural exchange.

As we arrived, we couldn’t help but feel a tinge (just a little one) of disappointment that our colleague, Brian Kennett, couldn’t join us due to his birthday trip to the Philippines. However, the show must go on, and Spencer was more than ready to take one for the team (he does so love that!!!), eagerly anticipating the flavours and experiences that awaited.

Distinguished Guests

Two esteemed dignitaries graced the event, adding an air of official recognition to the celebration. Gabriel (Gabby) Rush, High Commissioner to Singapore for New Zealand, and Allaster Cox, Australian High Commissioner for Australia to Singapore, were in attendance. Their presence not only elevated the occasion but also emphasized the importance of food as a cultural ambassador of their respective countries.

Both High Commissioners took the stage to say a few words for the guests, sharing anecdotes about their respective countries’ food-related traditions and the growing food scene in Singapore. Their enthusiasm for the event was palpable, reflecting the strong ties between Singapore and the two Oceanic nations.

Matariki: A Timely Celebration

The timing of the event couldn’t have been more perfect, coinciding with Matariki, the Māori New Year. This alignment added an extra layer of cultural significance to the evening. Matariki, named after the Pleiades star cluster, marks the start of the new year in Māori culture and is a time for reflection, celebration, and looking forward to the year ahead.

Throughout the evening, subtle nods to Matariki were incorporated into the decor, providing the guests with a deeper appreciation of New Zealand’s indigenous culture. It was a thoughtful touch that elevated the event beyond a mere produce showcase to a true cultural exchange.

Foodie Heaven without having to take a Journey Down Under

The star of the evening was undoubtedly the food. Winestone’s back-of-house team, headed by Executive Head Chef Aaron and Chef De Cuisine William who had prepared a buffet that was nothing short of spectacular. The spread was a carefully curated selection of dishes that celebrated the best of Australian and New Zealand cuisine, blending traditional favourites with innovative creations.

From the cold cuts, cold seafood on ice (the oysters were so fresh), the meat carving station (pork tomahawk was off the charts) to the multilevel dishes on offer it was just a pleasure to have so many choices that you will not find anywhere else in Singapore, now rumour has it they are extending this menu into July (and potentially longer if it’s success continues).

As we made our way through the buffet, each dish told a story of its origin and the ingenuity of the chefs who prepared it. Here’s a glimpse of some of the food choices that awaited us:

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A Night of Antipodean Delights: Celebrating Australia and New Zealand at Winestone Experience the flavours of Australia and New Zealand at Winestone, Mercure Singapore on Stevens Road. This special event, coinciding with the Māori New Year Matariki, featured distinguished guests including High Commissioners from both countries. Highlights include: Exceptional buffet showcasing Antipodean cuisine Unique dishes like Kangaroo Loin, Confit Crocodile, and Tim Tam Shooter Cultural touches honoring Matariki Sponsored drinks from Pacific Beverage and Juno Gin Join us as we explore this epicurean feast hosted by Adrian Houghton, experiencing the best of Down Under right here in Singapore. From fresh seafood to exotic meats and beloved desserts, this event celebrated the rich culinary heritage and innovative spirit of Australia and New Zealand. Don’t miss this unforgettable night of Antipodean delights, cultural exchange, and warm hospitality at Winestone! #Winestonesg #AntipodeanCuisine #AussieKiwiFood #SingaporeFoodie #MatarikiCelebration #DownUnderDining #MercureSingapore #AustralianCuisine #NewZealandFood #CulinaryDiplomacy #SGFoodScene #ExoticEats #KangarooLoin #CrocodileRibs #TimTamDessert #JunoGin #PacificBeverage #FoodTravel #CulturalExchange #GastronomicJourney #SGRestaurants #AussieWines #NZWines #FoodBlogger #SingaporeEvents #OceanicFlavors #BuffetSingapore #FoodDiplomacy

♬ Australia And New Zealand – Allan Caswell

Winestone Australia and New Zealand Menu

Starters:

  • Cockatoo Salad: A refreshing mix of greens tossed in a zesty citrus vinaigrette, capturing the bright flavours of an Australian summer.
  • Backyard Beets: Roasted beets topped with creamy whipped goat cheese and peppery watercress, a nod to the garden-fresh produce of New Zealand.

Seafood Extravaganza:

  • Fisherman’s Basket: A generous assortment of tender prawns, succulent scallops, crispy calamari, and flaky fish, showcasing the bounty of the seas surrounding Australia and New Zealand.

Main Courses:

  • Pan-Seared Kangaroo Loin: A lean and flavourful meat, expertly cooked to maintain its tenderness.
  • Confit Crocodile: An adventurous dish that surprised with its delicate texture and rich flavour.
  • Grilled Venison: Perfectly cooked New Zealand venison, highlighting the country’s game meat traditions.
  • Chilli-Glazed Crocodile Ribs: A playful take on ribs, offering a unique blend of heat and sweetness.

Local Inspirations:

  • Hamilton’s “Keema” Curry: A fusion dish combining Indian spices with local New Zealand ingredients.
  • Chook Rendang: An Aussie twist on the classic Malaysian dish, using chicken instead of beef.
  • Huka Rawn Rigatoni: A pasta dish inspired by New Zealand’s famous Huka Falls, featuring local ingredients.

Desserts:

  • Tim Tam Shooter: A clever dessert incorporating Australia’s beloved chocolate biscuit.
  • Lamington: The classic Australian cake, with its chocolate coating and coconut sprinkles, was a crowd favourite.
  • Manuka Honey Crème Brûlée: A silky smooth dessert showcasing New Zealand’s famous Manuka honey.
  • 1934 Milo Brownie: A nostalgic nod to the year Milo was introduced in Australia, reimagined as a rich chocolate brownie.

Each dish was a testament to the rich food heritage of Australia and New Zealand, while also showcasing the innovative spirit of modern Oceanic cuisine. The attention to detail in presentation and flavour combinations was impressive, making each plate a work of art.

An Exceptional Host

Throughout the evening, Adrian Houghton F&B Director at Novotel and Mercure on Stevens proved an exceptional host. His passion for food and hospitality was evident in every aspect of the event. Adrian moved from table to table, engaging with guests, sharing stories about the dishes, and ensuring everyone had a memorable experience. Adrian’s enthusiasm was contagious, adding a next-level enjoyment to the evening.

The very first person to pull me a pint in Singapore was Adrian Houghton at the infamous Buzz Bar where I first met Alan Muir of Muir’s Deli 25 years ago. It’s great having people in the industry you can fondly call friends! Thank you for the invite to such an incredible event!

It would be remiss of me not to mention the incredible table service we got from Adrian’s team, especially Sherlyn, Louis and Phyo!

A Toast to the Sponsors

The event wouldn’t have been complete without the perfect beverages to complement the exquisite food. Special recognition must be given to the event’s sponsors, Pacific Beverage and Juno Gin, who provided an excellent selection of drinks that paired beautifully with the menu. I for one certainly enjoyed the Little Creatures Pale Ale!

Juno Gin, a craft gin distillery from New Zealand, offered a selection of their award-winning gins. Their unique botanicals, including kawakawa and manuka, added a distinctly Kiwi twist to classic cocktails, providing a refreshing counterpoint to the rich flavours of the food.

Australian and New Zealand wines were also on offer freeflow highlighting the best of both countries’ vineyards. From crisp Sauvignon Blancs to full-bodied Shirazs, each wine was carefully selected to enhance the flavours of the dishes.

I think I might have even spied Jarek Iwanowski – Chief Rum Officer and FounderHouse of Cane Rum scooting across the floor at one point with a bottle of his Rum which we covered the Rum Festival event back in 2023 (the next Rum Festival event is being lined up, so subscribe to our newsletter to get event updates).

A Memorable Evening: Winestone’s Celebration of Australian and New Zealand Excellence

As the evening drew to a close, it was clear that Winestone had succeeded in creating more than just a dinner; they had crafted an experience that celebrated the best of Australia and New Zealand. The combination of exceptional food, distinguished guests, cultural significance, and warm hospitality made for an unforgettable night.

For the Is Life a Recipe Food & Travel Blog team, this event was a reminder of the power of food to bring people together and bridge cultural divides. It was an evening that not only satisfied our palates but enriched our understanding of Australian and New Zealand cuisine and culture.

As we left Winestone, full of delicious food and warm memories, we couldn’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a special celebration. It was an evening that would linger in our minds and on our taste buds for a long time to come, a true testament to the flavours and hospitality of the Antipodes.

Winestone Restaurant Address & Telephone

Address: 28 Stevens Rd, #01-02 Orchard District, Singapore 257878

Telephone: +65 6491 6100

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