Who said a degustation needs to be matched with wine? Cocktails are way more fun!

As the storm clouds rolled in and the heavens opened up on a blustery Friday night, Secret Foodies diners braced the wild weather on the search for their mystery dining spot. A luxurious cocktail degustation dinner awaited, at the recently opened Paddington restaurant, The Stables.

What used to be an operational horse stable is now home to this contemporary dining spot, luring in discerning diners with its striking sandstone exterior, warm lighting and leather furnishings. Come 7pm, guests were quick to escape the wild weather outside and dry off inside the main dining room.

Ms Darlinghurst, aka Alex Adams, met each foodie on arrival, encouraging guests to head to the bar for their first cocktail of the evening – the classic Tanqueray & Tonic.

A quality driven cocktail demands quality glassware, and the bill was met with Secret Foodies’ special sponsor for the evening  – Waterford Crystal. Scanning the room, a menagerie of Waterford glassware adorned the tables, glistening under the lights.

The T&T cocktail was fittingly served in Waterford’s ‘Gin Journeys’ High Ball, setting the tone for the lavish evening ahead. Adding to the fun of the event, guests were encouraged to garnish their drinks at a DIY garnish station. Here, guests had access to everything from slices of grapefruit to lime, lemon, along with peppercorns, lemon thyme, mint and more. Accompanying this premiere drink were Sydney rock oysters, garnished with picked ginger-wakame and lump fish caviar.

As guests took their seats for dinner, Alex Adams introduced the group to Waterford’s ambassador for the evening, Tom Brennen. Tom spoke of the history of Waterford, giving everyone interesting insights into crystal production and how Waterford came to be where it stands today.
Before long, the second cocktail was poured, the Johnnie Walker ‘Cabernet’. Served in the Lismore ‘Essence’ Goblet, it was made using Johnnie Walker Black Label, black tea, sweet vermouth, grenadine, cassis, malic acid and chocolate bitters. If you didn’t know better, you would think it was a glass of wine, based on its appearance!

The food pairing marked a flavoursome entrée – black onyx beef tartar with charred bread. The rich flavour derived from the beef made for the ideal accompaniment to the smoky, full bodied concoction.

With conversation levels beginning to rise around the room as old friends caught up and new friendships were made, it was soon time for the next cocktail of the evening. Guests were served the Talisker Made by The Sea Sour – shaken and stirred using Talisker Skye, lime juice, sugar, aqua faba and celery bitters. Served in the Waterford ‘Gin Journeys’ Balloon, everything about this drink exuded elegance and finesse.

For mains, confit pork jowl with prawn floss and garlic yoghurt quickly arrived to the table. The pork melted in the mouth, a punchy garlic yoghurt cutting through the richness of the dish and adding some necessary vitality.

With plates soon cleared, it was time for guests to hear from the Head Chef himself, Thomas Gripton. With past experience in kitchens including Bentley and Monopole, Gripton spoke of his Australian-oriented menu at The Stables, showcasing glimpses of Japanese influence.

Dessert came as no afterthought, with guests treated to Coconut Panna Cotta Yuzu curd, poached quince and burnt butter. It was teamed with the final cocktail of the evening – Black Tea & Citrus. Served in a Waterford ‘London’ Tumbler, this cocktail combined The Singleton of Dufftown 12 year old, black tea tincture, blood orange syrup, a dash of absinthe, served with a grapefruit twist.

As the evening approached a close, it was time for a specialty night cap – The Singleton of Dufftown Malt Master, served neat. Poured in the Waterford ‘Connoisseur’ Whisky Tumbler, this last tipple marked the perfect close to another fun night of great food, delicious drinks and fantastic company.

The Stables Restaurant
1 Victoria Rd, Paddington NSW
02 9360 0098