Belgian Beer Cafe VIP Opening

Ten years ago I took my parents to the Belgian Beer Cafe for dinner. That night, my parents told me it was the best restaurant I had ever taken them to. Whenever there was a birthday or special event in the family, I would take my parents to a hatted restaurant for a degustation dinner. However on this occasion, I heeded their protests and choose a more casual type of restaurant. My parents don’t understand the concept of eating a series of small portions from large plates. My parents are simple folk; they like all their food on the one plate.

Therefore, when I was invited to the Belgian Beer Cafe VIP Opening on 29 May 2014, I was a bit confused. Why were they launching something that had been open for more than ten years? Well, as it turns out, it was open ten years ago but was sold and became the Heritage Bar and Restaurant. Sydney Hotel Group, Gallagher Hotels, (better known as the owners of P.J. Gallagher’s Irish Pub) recently purchased it and relaunched it as the Belgian Beer Cafe Heritage.

In addition to Irish pubs, Gallagher Hotels has had award winning success with other European-inspired venues: Le PubThe Union Hotel, North Sydney; and Le Pub Balmain.

The team from the Belgian Beer Cafe global cafe group (Jeroen Demuydt, Executive Chef of Belgian Beer Cafe and Kevin Strubbe, Beer Sommelier) flew in to make the night a success. They posed for me with Belgium Beer Cafe Heritage staff: Patrick Gallagher, owner of Gallagher Hotels; Sean Wogstaff, Licencee of Belgian Beer Cafe Heritage; and Gonzalo Burgos, Restaurant Manager of Belgian Beer Cafe Heritage, at the entrance of the Hotel.

The kitchen and bar worked endlessly to feed and lubricate the young professional crowd that attended, while Jazz Nouveau supplied the covers. Goodie bags with Guylian chocolates and Belgian beer coasters were given out.

The regular menu includes Belgian staples such as Stella Artois,Hoegaarden, and Leffe, and dishes such as steamed mussels with Belgian fries, Flemish beef stew, smoutebollen and traditional Belgian Waffles withCallebaut Official chocolate.

Notable guests of the night were the Belgium Ambassador to Australia, Jean-Luc Bodson, and his beautiful African wife, Mrs Stephanie Mbombo.

The finale of the night was when a hotel patron, Brindusa Silvia Muresan, took to the stage (after a few drinks) and sang ‘O mio babbino caro’ by Giacomo Puccini. She astonished everyone with her Maria Callas like performance. And there I was wondering what the connection was between Belgian beer and Puccini!

 — at Heritage Belgian Beer Cafe.

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Royal Dragon Vodka Launch

Throughout history, gold has been revered for its health-giving properties. Over 5,000 years ago, the Egyptians ingested it for mental, spiritual and bodily puriifcation. In medieval Europe, Alchemists mixed powdered gold into drinks to alleviate symptoms of arthritis. Today, surgeons use gold to patch damaged blood vessels, nerves and bones, and as a treatment of several forms of cancer. Gold helps improve blood circulation, rejuvenate sluggish organs, strengthen mental function and improve emotional states

Therefore, when I was invited to the Royal Dragon Vodka Launch Party held on 27 May 2014 at Casablanca Bar Double Bay, I was excited. I was looking forward to drinking an award winning five times distilled rye vodka that was infused with the highest quality edible 23 carat gold flakes from Switzerland. After all, who would have thought that drinking alcohol would be advantageous to my health (even thought I am probably too young to benefit from most of the healing properties)!

At the entrance, there was a large replica of an opened Royal Dragon Vodka gift box containing a bottle with an illuminating light that radiated on a gold painted man who stood inside. Inside, guests listened to the dj, ate canapes, enjoyed a number of cocktails and even got to take home a large bottle of Royal Dragon Vodka Imperial if they won one of the lucky door prizes. The gold painted person,Timothy O’Neal, also emerge from the bottle to dance for guests.

Founder Michel Morren (who flew in from Hong Kong for the day), CFO Roland Sharman, Brand Ambassador Karim Gharbi, owner of Royal Dragon Vodka Australia Raj Beri and event organisers NAC Media Group ensured that the night ran smoothly (and even posed for many of my photos). Guests included regulars from the social sceen including Channel 7 Australia Fashion Stylist Donny Galella, Big Brother Australia’s Tim Dormer and Jade Albany, Asia’s Next Top Model judge Adam Williams PAGE, Stylist Joshua Heath, and even Sonia Gandhi who is the Director Gandhi Creations (not the widowed wife of Rajiv Gandhi).

After spending the whole night watching staff handle the magnificent hand blown bottle that contained a masterly crafted dragon within, I got to relive my childhood snow globe experiences by shaking an illuminated bottle of Royal Dragon Vodka Imperial to churn up the gold particles inside. What a perfect single photo opportunity of myself for the night! — with Nick Polias and 2 others at Casablanca Bar Double Bay.

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Throwback Thursdays Launch at Cargo Lounge

Before Ivy Sydney, The Argyle, and the small bars, Cargo Bar and in particular Cargo Lounge was my favourite place on earth. I was there every Friday and Saturday night not missing a single beat. It had the music, the beautiful people and the atmosphere that a person in their 20s and early 30s wanted. Now Cargo Lounge competes with many other bars, and to continue to attract the young professionals of Sydney, Cargo Lounge launched Throwback Thursdays on 22 May 2014. At the launch, the beautiful youth of Sydney congregated to enjoy complimentary dumplings, pork buns and dims sims, while sipping Tanqueray gin, Captain Morganspiced rum or bourbon whiskey mixed with freshly squeezed juices. What a treat it was getting premium beverages (instead of the cheaper house spirits offered by other bars) for free at a launch. From this Thursday onwards, Cargo will be offering dollar dumplings and the best of the 80s and 90s Hip Hop and RNB Jams. All I can say is, that despite the onslaughter of the ‘big’ bars and then the small bars, Cargo Lounge hasn’t lost its charm. — at Cargo Bar

 

Photo: Before Ivy Sydney, The Argyle, and the small bars, Cargo Bar and in particular Cargo Lounge was my favourite place on earth. I was there every Friday and Saturday night not missing a single beat. It had the music, the beautiful people and the atmosphere that a person in their 20s and early 30s wanted. Now Cargo Lounge competes with many other bars, and to continue to attract the young professionals of Sydney, Cargo Lounge launched Throwback Thursdays on 22 May 2014. At the launch, the beautiful youth of Sydney congregated to enjoy complimentary dumplings, pork buns and dims sims, while sipping Tanqueray gin, Captain Morgan spiced rum or bourbon whiskey mixed with freshly squeezed juices. What a treat it was getting premium beverages (instead of the cheaper house spirits offered by other bars) for free at a launch. From this Thursday onwards, Cargo will be offering dollar dumplings and the best of the 80s and 90s Hip Hop and RNB Jams. All I can say is, that despite the onslaughter of the 'big' bars and then the small bars, Cargo Lounge hasn't lost its charm.

 

Suntory Whisky Launch

The Art Gallery of NSW was the place that Suntory Whisky eclectically choose to have its launch party on 19 May 2014. Like precious treasures, their whiskies were displayed in glass cabinets for guests to admire on arrival. This subtle, refined, yet complex whisky was first developed in the Yamazaki region of Kyoto by its founder Shinjiro Torii in 1923. Since then its distillery has grown to produce more than 100 types of malt whisky – more than any other distillery in the world. The quality of this product has not gone unnoticed in the world, winning many gold awards internationally, and it certainly did not go unnoticed at the event, earning the respect and appreciation of all guests. Ian Atherton, Managing Director of Suntory Australia, and Hiroyoshi Miyamoto, the General Manager Quality Communication Spirits Division, gave a tasting seminar which was followed by first-rate canapés from the Trippas White Group which were perfectly paired with the whiskies served. They consisted of:
– Suntory Yamazaki single malt whisky which was paired with:
1. Grilled short rib, Straw potato, Truffle Béarnaise; and
2. Parmesan and herb Gnocchi;
– Hakushu single malt whisky which was paired with:
1. White Anchovies, Mint Aioli, Grilled soda bread; and
2. Smoked salmon, Risotto, Avruga Caviar;
– Suntory Blended Whisky HIBIKI which was paired with:
1. Duck Liver Parfait, Sourdough Croute;
2. Rare Veal, Fennel puree, Witlof;
3. Seared Scallop, Passion Fruit Vierge Dressing.
The guests included the Consular General of Japan Mr Masato Takaoka and his wife Mrs Yoko Takaoka, fashion designer Akira Isogawa, and the restaurateurs of Azuma Japanese Restaurant (where I recently had the pleasure of dining there and now I had the pleasure of meeting them). We mingled and took photographs with their distributors, their key staff and other big clients such as The Keystone Group. On the way out, guests were given a gift box containing miniature Suntory Whisky bottles. What a treat!

 — at Art Gallery of NSW.

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Fashion Weekend Sydney

There isn’t anything more fun than shopping with a cool group of girls. Well, almost anything. But this Sunday 18 May 2014, we had a fabulous time at the Fashion Weekend Sydney presented by Shop Til You Drop at the Royal Hall of Industries. Thanks to Chantal Abdurachman, we received complimentary tickets into the venue and front row seats at the runway show. At the entrance, we could not walk past and not stop at the [yellowtail] surf board counter to sample their sangria. Inside, we watch the Canon Australia runway collection of Jamie Ashkar, Akin By Ginger & Smart, Winston Wolfe, Nicola FinettiTalulah LabelChristensen CopenhagenMaurie & EveBec and BridgeIxiah and By Johnny. Shoes & accessories were supplied by ROC EyewearAmber Sceats Jewellery,Estilo EmporioThe Mode Collective, MAN, Senso Shoes, and lack of color. Services were supplied by NP Set make up, Blow Dry Bar hair, Chic Model Management, Lara Karamian of LARA INC. & Margaret Zhang of Shine by Three. After the runway, I purchased a dress made of deer leather while the girls went crazy over the one dollar Sol Sana sandals and one dollar jewellery from 8 Other Reasons. What an awesome end to the weekend.

— at Royal Hall Of Industries, Moore Park

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Shirt Bar 3rd Birthday Party

I don’t usually like third birthday parties. I don’t like children putting food in their mouth and spitting it back into the bowl they picked it out of when they don’t like it. I don’t like children coming to you crying and not being able to understand what they are saying or who was at fault for hurting them. I don’t like parents who think that a children’s birthday party is free babysitting for a couple of hours and your stuck managing 30 or more children with limited help. However, the third birthday party of the Shirt Bar held on 15 May 2014 was a little different. It had the chocolate crackles, the fairy bread and the cup cakes that you would expect at a third birthday but there were not the children you would expect at a third birthday party. Instead there was whisky tasting by High West Distillery, alcoholic punch, shirts selling at a discounted price and goodie bags with a confused mixture of Little Creatures Brewing beer and lollies. Well, at least this third birthday party was more to my liking. See More

— at Shirt Bar

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Wednesdays at Zeta

Wednesday nights just got a whole lot better for the girls of Sydney. The Zeta Bar has gone up a notch to the usual free champers of other establishments and is offering free Bellinis and oysters for girls from 5:30pm to 7pm. With this type of offering, Wednesday nights will become the new Thursday nights. However, the word is not quite out there yet (judging from last nights crowd) and it will probably be a quiet place just for girls until the boys figure it out and are hot on their heels. See More

— at Zeta 

Zeta

 

Meet the Team – Bar Ananas Relaunch Party

In the 8th grade I had a quiz in my French class and no one knew the word for pineapple in French. At the end of the quiz, the teacher told us it was the word ananas. One by one we all proclaimed that it was the same word in whatever European language we spoke at home – Greek, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese etc. Then one girl stated it was the same in Hindi. We looked at her in surprise. She looked back at us and questioned us whether pineapples normally grow in Europe. Well, pineapples aren’t from Europe but neither are they indigenous to India. They come from South America.
Coincidently, there is a bar and restaurant in Sydney called Ananas Bar & Brasserie. However, it is not a South American Restaurant as you would logically assume. It is a contemporary French Mediterranean bar and restaurant and at its Meet the Team – Bar Ananas Relaunch Party held on 15 May 2014 it showed us just how good their food and drinks really are. They have just recently recruited an A-List of bartenders from bars such as Eau de Vie and Shady Pines. Their talented team of Rodrigo Vega, Charlie Ainsbury, Alex Grossett, Daniel Mussen, Mitch Horrocks and Rob Arcari where wooing us all night with cocktails which included their signature pineapple julep while the kitchen brought out one hatted delicacies that put all other bars who serve regular pub food to shame.

 — at Ananas Bar & Brasserie

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True Religion Brand Jeans Store Launch in Westfield Sydney

The popular pop culture jean brand, True Religion Brand Jeans, has just landed at Westfield Sydney. At a launch party held on 14 May 2014, they showcased their American handmade premium denim collection for men, women and children. With the opening of their first store in Australia, they are on their way to being THE destination for perfect fitting durable jeans. They are also selling an exclusive Italian line that is not available anywhere else in the world. Models from FiveTwenty Model Management were on hand to show off the collection, photographer Sophie McCulloch from the International Fashion Group took photos, Jodie Rogers who does the PR for the International Fashion Group was their to make sure the event ran smoothly, Stedmans Hospitality provided beverages, Alex Turpin provided the tunes, and Asha Dyson and Emma Garrett from the Collective Hub Magazine supplyed a copy of their magazine to guests via the goodie bag. The lovely store manager, Kat Candotti, introduced me to their top of the line product, Stella Super Ts, (that retail at over $400 in Australia) and I must admit they were the perfect fitting jeans. If denim was a religion, these would be the jeans I would worship. See More

 

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Graffiti Ristorante Launch VIP Party

A traditional Italian trattoria just landed in The ArtHouse Hotel Sydney. The members of The ArtHouse Hotel Sydney were invited to the Graffiti Ristorante Launch VIP Party on 8 May 2014. Gone is the fine dining Dome Restaurant with all the rave reviews from the Sydney Morning Herald. This opulent room with splendid crescent windows and bohemian fireplaces now houses a more family friendly restaurant that blends traditional Italian food with contemporary artwork. General Manager Ben McBeath roamed the room to mingle with guests while an art war battle occurred between artists Sam Sheenan and Irene Feleo and Italian tunes were played by the band Viva. See More

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