WHERE: The Classroom, 356 Charles Street, North Perth.
“Now this is curious! What could a rabbit possibly be late for?”
When I was invited to disappear down the rabbit hole with a group of friends at The Classroom’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’ Cocktail Degustation dinner recently (on a school night, no-less), I literally hopped at the chance to book a ticket.
Lewis Carroll’s timeless tale of fantasy, nonsense and peculiar characters was always one of my favourite books as a little girl – I must have watched the movie a hundred times growing up. Whilst doing a bit of research for this post, I was amazed to find that the original Disney movie was released in 1951!
The evening was a unique collaboration between The Classroom and Cocktail Gastronomy, in recognition of the 150 year anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, a story which has captivated both children and adults since publication in 1865 – and continues to be as captivating, fresh and brilliant today as it was all that time ago.
Okay, enough nostalgia! More Cocktail Degustation… The promise? Five Alice in Wonderland inspired cocktails, each served with their beautifully matched counterpart dishes – with a few hidden extras along the way.
I know… Cocktails and Cuisine, hello.
Within hours, all 46 tickets to the evening had been sold (a month in advance!) and the second date which was added by demand was equally as successful.
I didn’t know what to expect on arrival… After enjoying a glass of perfect Chianti at the bar, we were led into a dimly lit room through a secret door behind a bookcase in the wall and settled onto on cosy Chesterfield sofas. Soon, there was the sound of a tiny bell ringing and the excited chatter quickly died down as we were welcomed and introduced to the event.
So let’s begin, shall we?
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.” – Alice
Course 1: The Potion.
Cuisine: Tomato & champagne consommé and basil tab
Cocktail: ‘Drink Me’ potion
Alice: “How long is forever?”
White Rabbit: “Sometimes, just one second.”
Course 2: Down the Rabbit Hole
Cuisine: Rabbit terrine, prosciutto dust, peas & heirloom carrots and chardonnay vinegar
Cocktail: ‘Very Late for an Important Date’ (Note the thyme as White Rabbit was always worried about time – apple, ginger & date combined with a cuban rum soda – teasing out the delicious flavours of the food)
“No wonder you’re late! Why, this watch is exactly two days slow.” – The Mad Hatter
Course 3: The Mad Hatters Tea Party
Cuisine: Salted cod infused in milk, lemon gel for acid, romenesco, French beans
Cocktail: A warm cup of ‘Time for Tea’ (Hot Hendricks Gin punch – ‘half gin, half madness’, flavoured with mad ingredients like rhubarb, apple juice and nougat tea. Complete with a dissolvable jelly cube.)
If you’re eagled-eyed, you’ll have spotted my red rose bracelet, a subtle nod to the Queen of Hearts’ famous line; “Who’s Been Painting My Roses Red?” – which leads us onto the next course nicely…
“Who dares to taint… With vulgar paint… The royal flower bed?” – The Queen of Hearts
Course 4: Birds in Boats
Cuisine: Roast quail, red cabbage purée and potato fondant – paying homage to the English countryside with a broccoli forest
Cocktail: ‘Off with her Head!’ (Rosemary, sweet cherry, bitters)
“Curiouser and curiouser!” – Alice
Alice: “Have I gone mad?”
Cheshire Cat: “I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something… the best people usually are.”
Course 5: The Queen of Tarts & Caterpillar Hearts
Cuisine: Lemon tart, blueberry marshmallow, meringue, sherbet and popping candy
Cocktail: ‘The Cat’s Meow’ (reflecting the loveable incitement of the Cheshire Cat, we enjoyed Japanese whiskey, marshmallow liqueur with lemon)
Yes, this was my favourite course… Excuse the ever-so-slightly-pissed photo.
What an amazing night. (Yes, I was totally dressed like Alice.)
I left feeling pretty happy (hic), and just the right amount of full. I cannot recommend The Classroom’s Cocktail Degustation dinners enough – and can’t WAIT to see what their next theme will be!
And with that, I’ll leave you with one of my favourite Alice in Wonderland quotes…
“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” – The Cheshire Cat