Doltone House Jones Bay Wharf, Pyrmont

Doltone House Jones Bay Wharf is a heritage site that’s recently been restored and it’s right on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour.  As a waterfront location it’s highly sought after for weddings, functions and corporate events.

But on Tuesday night it was the venue for a political dinner to raise money for my brother-in-law’s bid to win a seat at the federal election that’s coming up in just a few days.

The ballroom with the beautiful table settings

The ballroom with the beautiful table settings

I had a very rushed day on Tuesday with not a minute to scratch and as time ticked by I was becoming more and more anxious as the realisation that I had nothing to wear started to scream at me.  How is it that I don’t own a dress that fits in with a ‘lounge suit’ dress code!  At about 5pm I was on my way home from Alfie’s swimming lessons and I passed a boutique and in desperation, dragged myself and Alfie through the door.  I bought a dress in record speed.  You’ve never seen a more delighted salesperson.

We crashed through the door at about 5.20pm giving me just 20 minutes to bring in the washing, throw on my new dress, apply some make-up, wet my hair and blow-dry it.  There’s nothing like a challenge.  Then Carl phoned and said he had a late meeting he couldn’t shift so my father picked me up in a taxi and Carl said he would meet us there as soon as he could.  Sadly, my mother is still in hospital and wasn’t able to attend the event she had been very much looking forward to.

With Godspeed we were just about the first to arrive and I had a wander around the room that I thought had been beautifully decorated.  I love black table cloths; I thought they made the room look very elegant especially with the warm glow from the candelabras above each table.

As I went on my solitary tour around the room, my brother-in-law arrived with the guest of honour, The Hon Bob Hawke, Former Prime Minister of Australia.  I never thought I’d ever be in the same room as him but there you go – another day, another development.  My BIL introduced me to him and I had a moment of panic wondering how to address him but I don’t think I embarrassed myself with my,  ‘Hello Mr Hawke’.  He had an eight-year reign as Prime Minister from 1983 to 1991.  I believe he is now in his 80’s and although stooped and tired looking, he still has the charisma that made him very popular with the people, his oratory skills and a full head of hair.

After a brief chat and of course a photo opportunity (sorry I can’t show you the photo – I’ve had a bit of trouble getting a copy of it from the professional photographer – I’ll get back to you!)  I went outside and walked along the wharf that is part of Doltone House and admired the view, appreciated the fact I wasn’t cold in my sleeveless dress and sipped on a sparkling wine – no, it wasn’t champagne!  I do like venues that don’t enclose you inside a box.

Sydney Harbour on a warm winter's night

Sydney Harbour on a warm winter’s night

After a welcome drink we sat down at the tables and finally Carl turned up to join me.  It was an alternate serve menu.  Carl had asparagus, buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, manzanilla olives and serrano ham as his entree and of course, loved it.  It looked very pretty on the plate.

Carl's entree

Carl’s entree

I had beef bresaola, marinated mushrooms and asparagus with truffled pecorino and this was a beautiful entree with a wonderful combination of flavours.  I enjoyed this so much I’m going to try and replicate it for my own dinner parties.

My entree

My entree

Carl’s main course was sirloin with potato gratin and thyme-roasted oyster mushrooms.  Well of course, having been served steak and potato there is no way Carl was going to find anything wrong with his dish.  I did look at the steak and noticed it was cooked medium-rare.  Not rare enough for Carl’s usual request for steak that is served just about raw but nothing so serious that he couldn’t enjoy his meal.

Carl's sirloin with potato gratin

Carl’s sirloin with potato gratin

I had the chicken breast that was served with the wing bone.  It came with caponata vegetables, king couscous, water cress and almond salad.  There’s no photo.  I ate it and then realised I’d forgotten to pull out the camera – I must have been drunk.  The chicken was moist which is always a welcome relief to a dry bird.  I loved the king couscous but would have liked a few more vegetables which would have given extra colour to the plate – it was all a bit blond.

Carl with his new bestie

Carl with his new bestie

Carl hit the jackpot with dessert (of course).  He had a warm chocolate fondant with mascarpone cream and candied chilli.  That certainly kept him quiet.  There were no talkies until he’d finished.  He didn’t notice any heat from the candied chilli but it did bring a lovely colour to the plate.

Carl's chocolate fondant

Carl’s chocolate fondant

I didn’t fare so well.  I was given the apple and blackberry crumble cake with macadamia ice cream.  The ice cream was lovely and creamy and hadn’t melted at all before arriving in front of me which was nice but the crumble was just too dry and cakey and crumbly.  I think it needed more fruit and less cake.

My dessert that I didn't really like

My dessert that I didn’t really like

There were speeches but not too many and a raffle but no, I didn’t win the trip to Tuscany or even the trip to Coffs Harbour or the Penfolds wine or the Peter Kingston painting.  Carl and I were hoping the Peter Kingston was going to be auctioned so we could at least have an attempt at winning it, but no, it went to a woman who was quite underwhelmed by it.  We had a chat to her and told her all about the artist and how we have one of his charcoal drawings and how she’s just won a very valuable and very beautiful piece of art.  She said we made her feel better about her prize.  I asked her where she’s from.  ‘Malaysia’, she said, ‘And I’m a very good cook.  When I’ve hung the painting on my wall I’ll have you over for dinner so you can see it’.  I won’t let you down, readers – I will blog that event!

Bob Hawke delivering his speech

Bob Hawke delivering his speech

And then it was time to go but not before a woman in a turquoise pantsuit came up to me, all smiles.  (I’ve always been wary of anyone in a turquoise pantsuit.)  Now, Lucy is my sister and it is her husband who is stepping away from business and into the political arena.  This woman somehow knew I was connected to Lucy so she asked, ‘Are you Lucy’s mother?’  Like I said, beware anyone in a turquoise pantsuit.  Yes, I am older than my sister.  But I’m six years older, not 36 years older.

The table settings

The table settings

And I thought I looked so spritely in my new dress with my blow-dried hair.

It was a lovely night and a great opportunity to support Lucy and her husband.  Doltone House is stunning and in an incredible location and I’d be happy to attend a function there, any time.

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  1. Never liked terquoise pant suits either! You are a beautiful woman.
    The terquoise pant suited woman must have been vision impaired or drunk.

  2. Your mother is also a beautiful woman. 🙂 but she doesn’t look like she’s your sister!

  3. And how did you respond to that question? The one about you being Lucy’s mother. Silly women in turquoise pantsuits.

  4. OMgosh,
    that ballroom is utterly exquisite. So are you. Xx

  5. The venue was lovely, most of the meal was tasty looking and the woman in the turquoise pantsuit is a blind fool as I’m sure you looked lovely.

  6. Clearly, her eyesight is defunct as a result of the glow off the pant suit.

  7. Lovely venue, lovely food. In fact the food looks much better than that I have had at many fund-raisers!

  8. You looked quite lovely! The setup there was gorgeous! And the food!! Forget about it!! xo

  9. Wow I think those turquoise pantsuits addled that lady’s brains a bit… Hmmm :S
    On the plus side, the food looks lovely despite your dessert!

    Choc Chip Uru

  10. The turquoise woman must have been the drunk one! 🙂 What a wonderful gala! I hope you’ll keep us apprised of your BIL’s journeys as he heads into the chaos of politics. He must have nerves of steel. And of course, if he is successful in his bid for office, just think of the exciting events you and Carl might be able to crash–and then share with us! 🙂 How many people asked you why you were taking photos of your meal? 🙂

  11. Well obviously anyone who wears a Turquoise pant suit has absolutely no taste, and she was obviously drunk anyway! It certainly was a gorgeous looking venue and the food mostly looked quite nice. If you want that truffled pecorino, you can get it at Cyril’s Deli near Central Station. I have a big chunk in my fridge- and it’s delicious! Hope your mum is doing ok sweetie, and can come home soon xox

  12. I hope we see the photo in your new dress. Never mind about the numpty. She probably kicked herself over such a dumb comment.

  13. That’s because “lounge suit” doesn’t exist in any capacity but weird formal dining invitations anymore. For crying out loud. (Though at least no one write “twerking suit” yet.)

  14. What a ghastly creature! How can people be so blatantly rude! And of course I bet you thought of great comebacks after, once you’d recovered from your shock at being so insulted!

  15. Very elegant setting and all the dishes look delicious, too bad about your dessert. Wishing your BIL all the very best.

  16. Your poor Sister. Going through life looking like a 6 year-old. 😉
    Sounds like this was a successful fund-raiser, Charlie. I’ve been to a few where the food was almost an after-thought and every penny seemingly went into the candidate’s coffers. Here, you were served a fantastic meal and you were privileged to meet your country’s former Prime Minister. Sounds like a great night, to me.

  17. Charlie you bought a dress, took in the clothes and threw on some makeup on in 20 minutes? You are the little 5 minute wonder. Looks like a lovely event.

  18. Laughter: never ever thought we would be voting for the same side 😉 !

  19. Sounds like a real glam event and I’m sure you looked great, despite the ignorant comment you received.

  20. The lady with turquoise pantsuit…how could she so rude. Obviously she wasn’t sure which is why she asked, then she should know it’s better to say “sister” than “mother”. She must have been drunk! Looks like it was a fabulous event (minus the lady)!

  21. Just love breasola, your entree was certainly the pick of the dishes for me. Very exiting meeting the charismatic Mr H, the evening looked very glamorous, a good night to remember.

  22. What great food. Shame you couldn’t buy that painting from the underwhelmed art lady. Interested to see if you get an invite to dinner.

  23. That woman in the turquoise suit is clearly delusional. It looks like it was a nice event. The food certainly looks good and that looks like one heck of a dessert that Carl had.

  24. Didn’t pantsuits go out in the 80s? You should have told her JAne Fonda wanted her outfit back.

  25. Ugh. What a stupid thing for that woman to say. Ridiculous! How interesting if you BIL wins the seat – you’ll get a birds eye view into the mechanics of politics. It’s a very, very interesting world – not quite what most expect!!

  26. Oh good grief. That woman wasn’t just rude.. she’s stupid too. Pay no attention. You are beautiful inside and out.

    Remember last time you went out and I said you should swap plates with Carl? Do that next time. He always gets a great plate of food. 🙂

    I’m eager to see pics of the new dress!

  27. What? How could anyone think you were your sister’s mother? What a crazy woman!

  28. What an eventful night! I am very impressed with your speedy getting ready, and new found friendship with Mr Hawke. And I think anyone in a turquoise pantsuit can be dismissed as having no capacity to judge or comment on others’ appearance or age!

  29. Wow, that’s so cool how you got to meet Bob Hawke!

    I can get ready for work in 10 mins, but doesn’t include doing stuff to my hair besides tying it up in a ponytail (that is, once I’m on the bus and settled), so getting ready for an evening event in 20 minutes is most impressive!

  30. I want to see a photo of you in your dress!!

  31. Me too, I want to see a picture from you in that lovely sounding dress! What a post!

  32. Beware women in turquoise trouser suits. How rude! Looking forward to seeing your new outfit. GG

  33. LOL…thanks for enlightening me about ladies in turquoise pantsuits…I will beware from now on 🙂 I’m certain you looked smashing. Good luck to your BIL!!!

  34. Aww gosh that’s so rude of that person you noway LOOK in anyway like your sister’s Mother! But oh wells 🙁 some people can be so insensitive!

    A shame about your dessert because it looks quite good ~ It’s unfair the men always hit the jackpot!

  35. What an awesome event and a lovely dinner.
    The dishes are so well presented, absolutely tempting.
    Hope your mother gets well soon!

  36. a wonderful place to dine and enjoy the event.

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