31 May 2013

Launch: Citibank Pop-Up Bar with Vivid Aquatique and The Meat & Wine Co, Darling Harbour (24 May 2013)

31 Wheat Road, Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW 2000

Light, Sound & Water Show

Thanks to Cecilia Koong from Liquid Ideas for inviting me to the launch of Vivid Aquatique at Darling Harbour. Guests were treated to welcome drinks and canapés while watching the event from the Citibank Pop-Up Bar operated by The Meat & Wine Co. The pop-up bar is free to the public (18 years+) during Vivid Sydney (24 May to 10 June) and Citibank cardholders get the added benefit of being treated to a free glass of wine which is pretty cool. It's a raised vantage point to watch the show although if you really want to experience the full glory of the show I'd recommend you come early and get a spot right next to the water which runs each hour between 6 pm and midnight. Although if it's raining the pop-up bar will provide you some cover. Food is available to purchase from the bar and all drinks are served in plastic glasses which actually looked pretty real and fooled me until someone accidently dropped one and it just bounced. Citibank is running a twitter photo competition each night to win one of 108 bottles of wine using hashtags #citibankdine and #vividsydney — gotta be in it to win it.

The Meat & Wine Co treated guests to a set menu at their nearby restaurant. I've previously enjoyed a lunch visit during their Darling Dining $20 Lunch promo back in July 2012 so was looking forward to trying more of their menu. My chargrilled Half Lamb Ribs had good flavour and tender juicy meat as hoped. The 300g Monte Select Rump arrived medium rare as ordered with a nice smokey grill flavour and was tender. I had a bit of dish envy for for Half Rack Beef Ribs which had more meat on the bone than the lamb and were equally as good. The Tasmanian Salmon Skewer and Marinated Chicken Skewer were both stacked high above the vertically challenged. The fresh Salad was made interesting with a good dressing. Both desserts were crowd pleasers but the Dark chocolate and pistachio fondant was just that extra special. For a friday night the restaurant was pretty full of diners so seems to be a very popular spot for meat carnivores.

PROS: Family friendly, Free event, Well-positioned pop-up bar to watch the show, Citibank cardholders get a free glass of wine, Nice food at The Meat & Wine Co nearby
CONS: Limited seating at the pop-up bar, Limit of 4 drinks per person but I'm sure that would be plenty while waiting to catch one of the shows
MUST TRY: Checking out more of Vivid Sydney and returning to The Meat & Wine Co to try more of the menu
VERDICT: Vivid Sydney is one of the best festivals in Sydney to check out free events happening around Sydney
Every launch must include a bit of champers

I wish my bank offered a free glass of wine
Kids will love the LED signage
Tweet a photo to win a bottle of wine with #citibankdine #vividsydney
Didn't even realise the glasses were plastic until someone dropped one
Event canapes all quite nice

This tomato canape just a little but runny so had to be careful when eating
Vivid Aquatique Show — water, lights, sound

Beam me up Scotty

Launch event menu

Some serious steak knives
300g Monte Select Rump, Grain-fed 120 days served with super crunchy chips — inhouse basting nice, smokey grill flavour, tender, cooked well medium rare

Half Lamb Ribs chargrilled with a lemon, herb and mustard marinade served with crunch chips — good flavour, tender juicy meat, good chips
Half Rack Beef Ribs slow cooked in barbeque sauce then finished on a flaming hot char-grill served with crunch chips — good flavour, juicy meat
Tasmanian Salmon Skewer — decent sized, cooked medium rare, quite nice
Marinated Chicken Skewer with sumac spice, onion and capsicum — tender and nice smokey grill flavour
Salad — fresh and nice flavoured dressing
Vanilla crème brulee: Flaming grand Marnier crème brulee infused with Madagascan vanilla bean — I liked but vanilla flavour was quite light, vanilla bean not particularly noticeable in mix
Dark chocolate and pistachio fondant served with vanilla bean ice-cream and a white chocolate and pistachio nougatine — good flavour with gooey centre
Goodie bag including $100 voucher for Shanghai Stories 1938 — yum cha here I come!
First Creek wines
Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino natural mineral water — check out how these went in a taste test
That's one very hot kitchen

Popular Friday night

Citibank team Marcus Marchant, Linda Duncombe and Nicolette Onsley enjoying a glass of vino

Kate Gibbs enjoying the show
Fun times
Mr Gourmantic in the house
Thanks Liquid Ideas

View Larger Map
The Meat & Wine Co on Urbanspoon

Simon Food Favourites Map

View Simon Food Favourites in a larger map Key: BLUE - Location visit and review PINK - Simon Favourites and places offering something special

Small Bars in Sydney map

View Small Bars in Sydney in a larger map