With glorious views of Sydney Harbour, lights shinning off the water and the hum of chatter surrounding you like the embrace of an old friend, the scene was set for the 2016 Walsh Bay Arts Table. Walsh Bay’s annual Arts Table dinner offered patrons the unique opportunity to dine al fresco on the water’s edge, with all proceeds from the dinner donated to one of Walsh Bay’s resident arts companies. This year it was The Song Company, described as Australia’s preeminent A capella ensemble, who were the co-hosts and recipients of the evenings funds.
Fittingly the theme for the evening was, ‘If Music be the Food of Love’, in celebration of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary. It was also the name of the fourth song sung by The Song Company during the evening’s performances. The group’s exquisite harmonies peppered the night as people dined on a five course degustation menu with matching wine selection. The menu was a beautiful selection from five of Walsh Bay’s finest restaurants – Pier One Sydney Harbour (The Gantry), View by Sydney, Simmer on the Bay, Walsh Bay Kitchen and Sydney Dance Lounge. Each course was matched with wines from various vineyards of the Southern Highlands Food and Wines Clusters (Wine sponsors include: Tractorless Vineyard. Bendooley Estate, Artemis, Mount Ashby Wines and Joadja Estate).
While the food was exceptional, it was the vocal talents of The Song Company that were the real stars of the evening. With new Artistic Director Antony Pitts conducting the harmonies, artists Susannah Lawergren, Anna Fraser, Richard Black, Mark Donnelly and Andrew O’Connor moved among the crowd, bringing their unique sound to diners. Over the course of the evening the group performed nine beautiful songs, which perfectly complimented the culinary samples on offer.
Not even the terrible weather could dampen proceedings, which were overseen by the fabulous MC Andrew Bukenya. An online silent auction and raffle kept people occupied, and conversation flowed as freely as the wine. I was persuaded to try my very first oyster, which I must admit, was not the best decision I made that night, but such was the festive atmosphere, it was hard to resist any of the delights on offer. Attending the event solo I was apprehensive about what the night would hold for me, but those seated at my table were such a warm, welcoming bunch and the overall vibe of the night was so light and open, it was like dining with old friends.
Walsh Bay Arts Table is a wonderful night out, in the spirit of a good cause, with The Song Company worthy recipients of the evening’s generosity. Also, check out the AU Review’s Food section for everything delish.