Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/rokcommon/RokCommon/Registry.php on line 381

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/rokcommon/RokCommon/Registry.php on line 394
isiiad - The Meeting Pool

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/gantry/core/utilities/gantryregistry.class.php on line 326

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/gantry/core/utilities/gantryregistry.class.php on line 339

The Meeting Pool

MPgingerjarsand_bowls_sc

I've been mildly troubled that this arts and design blog keeps wandering into the territory of food.  Then I'm reminded that food and it's exquisite preparation is an art form... and I'm not troubled any more.

Take a look at these photos of Montsalvat's restaurant, don't they transport you to a place where you really really want to be? That's my experience at The Meeting Pool.  I just love being there. Whether it's outside in the courtyard on a magnificent 22 degree day, or inside on a cool autumn evening enjoying some very good French provincial cooking.

MPbriepack_s

The Meeting Pool takes it's name from a children's story book of the same name written by Mervyn Skipper, one of the original founders of Montsalvat. Mervyn spent time in Borneo where he learnt of the Meeting Pool and it's folk legends.  Legend has it that, 

...the meeting pool was a small pond in a jungle clearing where, birds, beasts and insects would meet in harmony to discuss the world around them.  Many of the stories relate to these jungle creatures' concerns over the inroads of the white man- the clearing of 'their' jungle to make way for rubber plantations. (Notes from the menu.)  

No doubt, similar themes are discussed around the tables at the restaurant today.

These illustrations are from the original book.  They line the walls of the restaurant.

MPillustr_s

MPillustr_3

The courtyard seats around fifty to sixty people and is perfect for long Sunday lunches.  The peacocks often wonder through.  The gorgeous Montsalvat buildings make the perimeter of the space.

MPoutside_s2

I spent over an hour in the courtyard this week chatting with Sigmund Jorgensen, son of Justus. He took me on a journey of food at Montsalvat, with a few detours.  At one point he admitted not having a great memory for a lot of things but when it comes to food, he's sharp as a tack.  From describing a lunch in a tucked away place in the French countryside, to a less than satisfying meal in New York in the seventies, I felt like I'd been right there at the table with him.  

Sue Vanderkelen's 'very elegant cooking' in those early days of Montsalvat no doubt prepared his palate well for what was to become a successful career in the food industry. In the late sixties and early seventies he was instrumental in developing catering and events management at Montsalvat. Menus were designed with the help of people like Tony Bilson from the Berrara Waters restaurant. At that time Montsalvat was hosting society weddings and notably a press reception for the Rolling Stones.  Later on in the seventies, Melburnians will remember his three hat restaurant 'Clichy' which he opened in Collingwood with chef Ian Hewitson.   

Sigmond_J_s

So fast forward to 2010 and Sigmund has at last begun to realise his dream to see a great restaurant at Montsalvat. He is a key advisor for The Meeting Pool and with head chef Stephen Shing, designs the menus. For this he has gone back to his roots and back to French provincial food, peasant food, but supremely elegant food. It's food that sits beautifully within the walls of Montsalvat.  The menu is seasonal so changes four times a year.  Even though I'm not a wine drinker, I appreciated that each dish on the menu comes with a wine selection...provided by sommelier Andrew Proctor.  The restaurant also creates specials in keeping with other events taking place at Montsalvat. Stephen Shing was telling me that for a recent East Timorese book launch they added some Timorese cuisine to the specials menu.  They also offer special nights like the upcoming Seafood Night on the 25th March.

MPstephenthroughwindow_s

You can just see some of the activity in the kitchen through this window in the courtyard.  Stephen Shing oversees the work there as well as being executive chef for all of the catering at Montsalvat.  He's a busy man.  I was warned not to try to speak to him during the lunch rush as he is quite rightly completely focussed on what's happening in his kitchen.

stephenflambes

Stephen arrived at Montsalvat with very good credentials.  He previously worked at 'Taxi' and 'Upper House Lower House' at Fed Square.  He is committed to using great produce, grown at Montsalvat where ever possible. In addition, he wants to  encourage a broader circle of customers who keep coming back because the food he serves is reliably good.  Having eaten there three times now  (all research you understand) I can vouch for his success. From Lily Jorgensen's Rabbit Chasseur, to the lunch time fish of the day, I wasn't disappointed.  His asparagus with avocado mousse Is a triumph.  Perfectly grilled asparagus with a dollop of smooth, light avocado mousse all soaked up with the 'wild crust wood fired cassalinga bread'.  

If you're looking for a complete experience of Montsalvat, don't miss the opportunity for a lovely lunch or dinner at The Meeting Pool.  Bookings can be made by calling 9431 2681, or go to their website for more information about the Seafood Dinner on 25th March.

stephenshings


Parent Category: Arts
Facebook Image

Dena Ashbolt. Almost there!

Dena Ashbolt... almost there! Apart from some finishing touches with ink, Dena's work is complete. It's looking great... Tomorrow is the last day of her residency and she will… More…

Mariella McKinley

Mariella McKinley Photograph courtesy of the artist. Just when I thought Montsalvat couldn't possibly do anything more to delight me, I met Mariella McKinley. She's been working… More…

Kavisha and La Voce Della Luna

Kavisha and La Voce Della Luna I need some new superlatives. A quick check of my trusty Thesaurus and I found some new words for magnificent... sublime, splendid, splendorous,… More…

Lyndal Walker

Lyndal Walker How audacious of me to take a photo of a photographic artist. I cant help myself though. As you see, Lyndal Walker, photographer and latest Artist in Residence at… More…

Montsalvat's Concert of Musical Ideas

Montsalvat's Concert of Musical Ideas. Last week I had a rare, exquisite pleasure. Montsalvat's latest Artist in Residence, composer, ethnomusicologist and dance anthropologist… More…

Liz Nettleton

Liz Nettleton I came across Liz's work at the exhibition Symbols of Loss and Recovery at Montsalvat. So I hopped in my car yesterday and headed out to her studio at Hurstbridge to… More…

The Whistler, Matcham Skipper

The Whistler, Matcham Skipper 1922-2011 I wish I'd met Matcham Skipper. His farewell gave me a glimpse of him. Whistler, story teller, father of many. I've seen his work of… More…

Michael Schlitz Winner of The Rick Amor Print Prize

Michael Schlitz- Winner of the Rick Amor Print Prize 2011 Desert Girl woodcut on kozo 76x56cm Of his winning piece, Michael says, "Desert Girl is an amalgam of two personalities I… More…

Simon Baigent

Simon Baigent at Montsalvat Simon has lived and worked at Montsalvat since 1973. He is tightly woven into the fabric of the place. Staff at The Meeting Pool (Montsalvat's… More…

Montsalvat and Amanda Ruck

Montsalvat and Amanda Ruck Amanda Ruck© Jason Smith, acrylic on canvas (2011 entry for the Archibald Prize.) The Yarra Valley and the Nillumbik regions come together in this… More…

Big, bold, brave woman!

Bold, brave woman! Susan Reddrop Sue Thomas warned me that I'd be mesmerised by Susan Reddrop's stunning aqua blue eyes. She got that right! I've never seen eyes that colour… More…

Fu Hong

Fu Hong - a Retrospective Exhibition FU Hong Window I, oil on canvas, 152 x 122cm. (Photograph courtesy of the artist) The above painting is one of many being exhibited in the… More…

"Urge"

"Urge" (Susan's work from a previous exhibition, in her studio at Malvern.) I've got a photo of a piece from Susan Reddrop's exhibition "Urge", due to open next Wednesday. I was… More…

Nillumbik Prize 2011

Nillumbik Prize 2011 Peter Wegner Man Resting 2011 Oil on canvas 153x123cm (detail) The Nillumbik Prize Exhibition opens at Montsalvat's Barn tomorrow evening at 6pm. I whipped in… More…

Dena Ashbolt. Artist in Residence Montsalvat.

Dena Ashbolt. Artist in Residence Montsalvat. Dena Ashbolt is Montsalvat's latest artist in residence. She arrived there over a week ago and will be there for six weeks in all.… More…

Anthony Williams- Montsalvat's new painter in oils

Anthony Williams One of Montsalvat's new artists, Timothy Clarkson, has already delighted many Isiiad readers with his fusion of ceramics, origami and well chosen newspaper… More…

Farewell Matcham

Farewell Matcham. Today is a sad day for Montsalvat. Friends and family of Matcham Skipper will gather to give him a fond farewell at 3pm today. Matcham passed away last week at… More…

A Month in Montsalvat

A Month in Montsalvat Here's the scoop! Over the next month, I'll be bringing you the latest from Montsalvat in Eltham. Exhibitions, artists, classes, the works. I had the best… More…

Montsalvat's Peacocks

Montsalvat's Peacocks I've succumbed to the beauty of Montsalvat's peacocks. The much loved, oft photographed peacocks were on display when I visited a week ago and I couldn't… More…

Susan Reddrop cont...

Susan Reddrop cont... (Front) Theses photos came in today from Susan Reddrop. Another great piece. Here's a commentary in her own words... "called 'Table Ornament for… More…

Copyright

THIS ENTIRE SITE © 2010-2012 ISIIAD. ALL OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND WRITTEN MATERIAL HEREIN, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ARE COPYRIGHTED BY ISIIAD. NO PART OF THIS SITE, OR ANY OF THE CONTENT CONTAINED HEREIN, MAY BE USED OR REPRODUCED IN ANY MANNER WHATSOEVER WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.