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Dinner at the NGV Gala

Collaboration can unlock the exceptional

12 December 2018
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On Saturday the 1st of December the National Gallery of Victoria rolled out the red carpet for its second annual NGV Gala. The gala coincided with the opening of the Escher X nendo| Between Two Worlds exhibition in a masterful collaboration of spatial manipulation and optical illusion between artist and design studio.

Cocktail hour was hosted by The Bar at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in collaboration with the NGV. Our world-class bar team developed, prepped, presented and served a selection of cocktails that represented Dinner’s culinary identity and cooking technology. The drinks were also inspired by the featured Escher and nendo exhibition.

M.C. Escher was a Dutch artist who throughout the 1900s worked as a printmaker creating some of the most celebrated prints of the twentieth century. After an initial period focusing on nature and landscapes he turned to introspection. He began producing ingenious optical illusions and tessellations that played with spatial manipulation. At first they were only taken seriously by mathematicians and scientists, but by the late 1960s Escher’s work had become widely popular, particularly with the counterculture movement.

When approaching the design for this collaboration, nendo made a conscious choice to look for inspiration in Escher’s world to create new work for the exhibition. Our bar team followed suit and incorporated all of these themes as well as inspiration from the gala event itself into the development of the drinks Dinner presented at the NGV Gala:

Olive Leaf Martini (c.1930): gin, dry vermouth, olive leaf. The Olive Leaf Martini is a clean, elegant twist on a martini. It's essentially a dry, wet and dirty martini all rolled into one; complex and beautifully balanced. Martinis are often associated with fine suits and formal events, tying in perfectly with the gala.

Chamomile Martinez (c. 1890): gin, sweet vermouth, Maraschino, chamomile. Widely believed to have preceded the Martini and evolved from the Manhattan, the Martinez is thought to have emerged in the late 1860s. The drink is significantly darker than a clear Martini, so the contrast between light and dark was our nod to the monochromatic nendo installations.

Strawberry Milk Punch (c.1860): gin, wild strawberry, clarified milk, vanilla, Suze. We developed this drink for the event for two reasons. Firstly, punch-style cocktails were often used in halls for banquets and were a means to cater to large groups of people. Also, Escher is renowned for being a master of optical illusion- something that the milk punch also suggests. The liquid in the glass is not what it seems, an almost crystal-clear liquid with unexpected depths of flavour and rounded texture.

This same attention to detail also went into the design of Dinner’s bar at the gala. It was important for our bar team to have a similar set up and layout as in the restaurant, down to details like coasters and printed menus. This would enable them to replicate the flow of service and maintain the same quality for such a large group of guests. Freezers to chill glassware to -10°C, fridges and equipment were all at arm’s reach to ensure the flow of service wouldn’t be broken. 

Not only was the layout similar to Dinner but also the elements of design. The brass letters for the huge Dinner logos in the lounge area and to the side of the bar were die-cut especially for the evening. The dark bar with the dark bench top with the slightly sunken bar area emulated Dinner perfectly. There were even velvet chairs to match the ones in the restaurant and pineapples were brought into the floral arrangements mirroring Dinner’s pineapple spit.

Soon after the event we caught up with our two Assistant Bar Managers, Greg Thompson and George Cook, who did the development, prep work and bar tending at the event.

 “We loved the fact that there was a collective of so many creative minds under one roof. Collaborating with such an amazing institution (NGV) of like-minded, passionate people was a fantastic opportunity for us and for Dinner. Everyone there understood us and what we needed for the event as they we just as exacting themselves. They were accommodating and understanding of our intricacies to the end of upholding standards. Nothing was an afterthought.

As soon as the prep was done, we both had a stress-free, confident feeling that all would go well as the setup was so flawless. It felt like home; like we were inviting people into our space. It was an honour for us to be able to open the doors and welcome people in." 

                                                                                                                                                      - Greg Thompson

“To be doing what we do at Dinner in such a totally different environment but to the same standards was so rewarding. Our routine is so well drilled and we are so well coordinated amongst ourselves that moments when we got super busy were a lot of fun. We were each working on our own station but whenever any of us saw the other had a row of six or eight drinks in front of them we would jump in to help them out; falling into the normal sync of service as it would be in the restaurant.

The design of the bar and how every minute aspect tied in with the event, the installation, and the art was stunning. It’s amazing how everyone there worked so tirelessly and with such attention to detail.”

                                                                                                                                                      – George Cook

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Crown Melbourne Limited (Crown), Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (Dinner) and Analytical Systems Pty Ltd trading as Open Table (Open Table) collect your personal information in order to secure your reservation at Dinner and for marketing purposes. Please refer to the Open Table Privacy Policy for full details about how your personal information will be treated by Open Table. Please note that if you do not provide this information you cannot make an online reservation at Dinner. Please contact Crown Reservations on 03 9292 5777, if you wish to make a telephone reservation instead.  Open Table will disclose your personal information to Crown and to Dinner. Personal information provided by Open Table to Crown and to Dinner will be treated in accordance with the Crown Privacy Policy and the Dinner Privacy Policy respectively. Dinner will disclose your credit or debit card details to Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) in order to process any charges. Your personal information may also be disclosed by Crown and/or Dinner to its associated entities. Please note that associated entities of Dinner may include one or more entities located outside of Australia (Overseas Recipients) which are not bound by Australian privacy laws. In providing your personal information to Dinner (including via Crown or the Open Table booking system) you expressly consent to such disclosure. Please refer to the Crown privacy policy at www.crownmelbourne.com.au/general/privacy-policy, the Dinner Privacy Policy at www.dinnerbyheston.com.au and the Open Table privacy policy at https://www.opentable.com.au/l... for full details, including how you may access, update, correct your personal information and/or complain about a privacy breach. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Crown Towers, Level 3, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank, 3006.

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The terms and conditions of use as set out in full below apply to all Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Gift Cards issued by Tipsy Cake Pty Ltd (ABN 54 601 620 580).

BY PURCHASING, REDEEMING OR ATTEMPTING TO REDEEM A DINNER BY HESTON BLUMENTHAL GIFT CARD YOU ACCEPT AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF USE.

We recommend you read these terms and conditions of use carefully before using the Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Gift Card.

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Terms means these terms and conditions of use.

Gift Card means the Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Gift Cards issued by Tipsy Cake Pty Ltd (ABN 54 601 620 580)

Card Value means the total remaining value on the Gift Card at any time.

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We/us/our is a reference to Tipsy Cake Pty Ltd (ABN 54 601 620 580) trading as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.

You/your is a reference to the person in possession of the Gift Card at the relevant time or the person who authorises another person to do anything with Gift Card on their behalf for the purposes of these Terms

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Gift Cards are only redeemable at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal restaurants in Australia. Address details for restaurants can be found via the following link: [www.dinnerbyheston.com] or by calling +613 9292 5568 during business hours.

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No portion of the Card Value will be credited, redeemed, refunded or returned as cash or any other form of creditable value (as unused Card Value) either before or after the Expiry Date.

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To report a lost or stolen Gift Card please call +613 9292 5568 during business hours.

However, please note that defaced, mutilated, altered, lost, or stolen Gift Cards will not be replaced, refunded or redeemed. 

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You are liable for all transactions on the Gift Card except to the extent to which there has been fraud or negligence by us or any of our employees.

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Our Privacy Policy explains how we handle the personal information that we may collect from you with respect to the Gift Card. A copy of our Privacy Policy can be accessed via the following Crown Melbourne Limited (ABN 46 006 973 262) link https://www.crownmelbourne.com...

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We reserve the right to change any of the terms contained in these Terms at any time. The current full version of the Terms incorporating any changes will be published on www.dinnerbyheston.com/voucher...

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If you require any further information about anything in these Terms or the use of the Gift Card or would like to raise any issue or error you believe was made in respect of your Gift Card please contact us on +613 9292  5568 or events@dinnerbyheston.com.au.

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These Terms are construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of Victoria, Australia and any dispute arising from or in connection with these Terms or the use of a Gift Card shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of Victoria.