Food News

What we ate and saw at the Stella Artois Sensorium Dinner

Pt Leo Estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula was the setting for an exclusive night of fine dining, art and Stella Artois ahead of the 2019 Portsea Polo.

By Emma Holland
Actors Kirby Burgess and Melinda Vidler at the Pt Leo Estate Sculpture Park
The night before the horses took to the turf for the 2019 Alfa Romeo Portsea Polo, it was all about fine dining and fine sculpture. On Friday, sponsor Stella Artois hosted a Sensorium Welcome Dinner at Pt Leo Estate, switching up horses and mallets for art, Belgian beer and a unique tasting menu by Pt Leo Estate's culinary director Phil Wood, who also oversees Gourmet Traveller's 2019 New Restaurant of the Year, fine-diner Laura
Upon arrival, media and VIPs were free to wander the serpentine paths of the Pt Leo Estate Sculpture Park, and take in the art and glistening sea views as the sun set. Supermodel Georgia Fowler and actor Luke Bracey were among guests, as well as actors Olympia Valance, Melina Vidler and Ben Mingay.
Georgia Fowler
The three-course meal included signatures from the award-winning restaurant's menu, as well as custom dishes inspired by the fruity and light hoppy flavour of Stella Artois. "Beer can add bitterness to contrast with sweetness, maltiness to complement chocolate, or a hoppy fruitiness that pairs particularly well with spice and seafood," Wood says. "And it's perfect on a hot day."
Chefs preparing the dinner at Pt Leo Estate
The restaurant's potato and potato (yes, double potato), flathead and Yarra Valley salmon roe was served along with the likes of a corned beef short rib, with pickled cucumber and shiitake and a mushroom, soy and Stella Artois white sauce. Wood's culinary philosophy is all about celebrating local ingredients, and Friday's menu was no exception. Kipfler potatoes, sourced from nearby Hawkes Farm, were served as a side, and Peninsula strawberries featured with vanilla panna cotta and caramelised hazelnut for dessert.
Potato and potato, flathead, Yarra Valley salmon roe
The food
Highlights included zucchini flowers stuffed with scallops; wood-roasted snapper teamed with braised red cabbage, mustard and bay; and for dessert, a hazelnut and chocolate mousse was paired with a Stella Artois caramel.
The drink
Wines from Pt Leo Estate accompanied the meal, and of course, glasses of chilled Stella Artois were constantly topped up throughout the evening.
We loved
The chance to stroll through the Sculpture Park, beer in hand, was a real pre-dinner treat. The perfectly manicured park features major sculptures by artists such as Jaume Plensa and Deborah Halpern, with views of rolling pastures and sparkling sea beyond.
Pt Leo Estate Sculpture Park