The Northern Hemispherean in me can’t adjust to Christmas in the middle of summer. It’s meant to be freezing cold, people. Those Christmas tree lights are supposed to be twinkling away in the bitter darkness. So when an invite came through for a Secret Foodies event last month called ‘Christmas in July’, I was super chuffed. Finally, an opportunity to celebrate the way Santa intended: in the winter. Add to that the whole ‘secret’ part of ‘Secret Foodies’ (not knowing where the dinner party is held till you’re texted two hours before), and you have yourself a winner.
I have a theory as to why secret/pop-up events are so popular. As we grow older and more jaded, the mystery of life disappears. Not knowing what to expect, be it at a dinner party or a pop-up penthouse party like the one The Plus Ones threw, adds a frisson of excitement to one’s daily life. Waiting for the text to come through turned my and my +1’s otherwise boring Thursday into one of anticipation.
Dressed festively and with our requested $5 Kris Kringle presents, we made our way to the mystery location: Lucky Penny on Chapel Street in South Yarra. Greeting us was the effusively outgoing Alex Adams (aka Ms. Darlinghurst), who ushered us into the winter wonderland that’s the private upstairs dining room.
It was an Instagrammer and Pinterest-pinner’s dream from the second we walked in. The tables: beautifully laid. The decor: falling snow projected onto the walls. The mulled wine: in jars tied with printed fabric. All we needed was a roaring fireplace with stockings and I’d have sworn I was back home.
The three course meal — from Lucky Penny’s off-duty chefs — was served family-style, which was the perfect way to meet everyone at the long tables. It was all about the wintertime comfort food: lots of slow-cooked beef, delectable mushrooms… I’ll go on, but I don’t want to make you too hungry. Add to that the free-flowing Mud Wines and you had yourself a very merry bunch. Especially once we pulled our Christmas crackers (definitely something we need to add into our North American traditions) and wore our paper crowns.
My two favourite things:
- How Alex took the time to explain to the room not only how Secret Foodies began — in 2010 in Sydney and two years ago in Melb — but also did a mini Q&A with Lucky Penny’s chefs. Seriously, someone get this lady a job as a presenter — she’s a natural!
- The kind of people who go to Secret Foodies events are fun, interesting, and all-round lovely. You know you’re at a good event when you wake up the next morning to several friend requests on Facebook. A couple of weeks later, my +1 and I were even invited to a follow-up Christmas in July party at some of our brand-new friends’.
The entire experience, from the initial text with the address, to walking out with our little Kris Kringle presents (I scored a box of choccies), was simply lovely. We’re always harping on about value for money, and the $95 all-you-can-eat-and-drink, plus make-a-ton-of-new-friends-along-the-way, is definitely worth it. I can’t wait to see what they come up with at the next Secret Foodies event.
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Northern Hemispherean Theresa hates how her July birthday now falls in the winter.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Eat Drink Play.