Graduation day is looming and our year got together for one final formal celebration before we don the cloaks and hats and wave uni goodbye forever (except for those crazies who want to pursue post-grad of course).
Our oral path lecturer not-so-kindly pointed out that having a celebratory dinner before we've graduated is a bit presumptuous but we weren't to let those fearful thoughts deter us.
The graduation dinner is for final year students, parents, partners and staff. We had it at the Customs House which is a University of Queensland owned building. I've always thought of it as a restaurant because I had dinner there once with my family but am now seeing it more in the light of a function hall. I know my food photos are a bit stark and unappealing because I had to use flash in the dark room.
Malibu and pineapple
We got there for predrinks and canapes first before being led into the Long Room for our meal.
Crusty bread and butter
Bread and butter were ready on our tables when we got there. It was a rustic bread roll with pre-peppered butter. Byron really loaded up his bread roll with butter. He claims this is the proper way to butter bread. REALLY??
The way the food was arranged is typical of these kinds of events. Three courses were brought out with 2 versions of each course alternating around the table.
Citrus cured Tasmanian salmon with roasted cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, soft herbs and champaign vinaigrette with salmon roe
For entrees, I got the cured salmon and avocado dish. It was slightly under-seasoned but very fresh and light. A great way to start the meal.
Salad of smoked chicken, gourmet leaves, asparagus, marinated capsicum and honey mustard dressing
Byron had the smoked chicken salad. I'm not sure if it's just because we were hungry but he RAVED about the salad. Even the next day, he was still going on about it. I had a nibble of the chicken and it made me think of smoked ham (in a good way). He said the capsicum was amazing and quote 'they did something to it. It wasn't regular capsicum'. Well, the menu says 'marinated' so maybe that's where the magic happened.
Seared barramundi on braised leeks, potato gratin, asparagus, confit tomato butter sauce
My main was the seared barramundi. Unfortunately the flesh was a bit dry but the skin was tasty. I loved the tomato butter sauce though and the dish definitely lacked after I used the sauce up. The potato gratin was nice too.
Panfried eye fillet, pont neuf potato, glazed turned vegetables, cognac scented jus
Byron's main was the pan-fried eye fillet. We thought they did a good job on the steak because it wasn't overcooked or dry (rare at mass catering events). I didn't think much of the big potato chips though.
By the time dessert rolled by, we had up-ended a fair amount of alcoholic drinks and food was no longer on my mind.
Individual chocolate tart with toffeed apple and sauce Anglaise
The chocolate tart was rich and very bitter but in my mind not outstanding. I nearly broke my tooth on the toffee apple which is ironic since it was a dentistry event (someone was bound to crack that lame joke sooner or later).
Soft pavlova with Chantilly cream, strawberries and passionfruit coulis
I didn't think much of the pavlova at all. The meringue component was very average but I did enjoy the strawberries.
We had a great time at the Customs House and thought their catering was of consistent high standards. The service was fast and friendly and the venue was gorgeous too. It really makes me want to go back to try dinner at their restaurant section again.