No dinner booking at Dinner? No problem, there's a newly available seat at the bar.
Tony Conigliaro's pale, clear, otherworldly version of a Bloody Mary at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is a thing of wonder and a must for any self-respecting cocktail hound. The problem, until now, was that access to the Bloody Mary was restricted to restaurant guests. That changes this week when Dinner's glamorous old school bar opens to all comers from 10 every night.
Conigliaro, a pioneering London-based cocktail expert, is flying into Melbourne this week and will be behind the bar from Wednesday through to Saturday fine-tuning the list and introducing several new cocktails that he and Dinner chef Ashley Palmer-Watts have been dreaming up at The Drink Factory, a London-based "laboratory where concepts are transformed into drinkable realities by a host of machinery and techniques normally associated with chefs and science".
"I've known Heston and Ashley for a number of years now so it was quite a natural progression for us to work together on the cocktails at Dinner in Melbourne," says Conigliaro. "It's a collaborative process in that we got to experience the work in the Dinner kitchen and have access to their historical reference points and research for the food. We like to keep ingredients fresh and in line with the desires for the season."
New drinks on the list include an Australian representative among historical English and American references (Bucks Fizz, Mint Rickey, Olive Leaf Martini). The Terroir Barossa consists of vodka distilled with flint, clay and fern that "represents the flavour of Australian soil".
It's also the end point of the list's "journey" from England to Australia that starts with White Cliffs, a chalk liqueur and Champagne concoction representing the Dover landmark.
But for local cocktail lovers, Conigliaro's arrival in Melbourne also marks a starting point by releasing his unique booze alchemy to a wider crowd. Drinks at Dinner may well become a thing.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal,Crown Towers, Level 3, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank, Vic, (03) 9292 5779, dinnerbyheston.com.au
Bar open to the general public daily from 10pm-midnight.