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A week after having spent a few days in Melbourne, I found myself there again for the Melbourne Watchband’s end of year dinner last month, having been talked into the overnight visit by a watch friend in Perth who would also be there for the occasion.
They’d booked the private room at the top of Scopri, an Italian restaurant in Carlton which, happily, is BYO, allowing the wine buffs to bring a bottle or two. Despite being a group of 15 in the private room (or floor, rather), there was no requirement to abide by a set group menu, so apart from some shared starters, we chose from the a la carte menu.
First up were some shared primi piatti:
Simple sweet flavours of good tomatoes, plenty of basil, good buffalo mozzarella.
Unfortunately, because I was so distracted by trying talking and watches, I only managed to get one slice of the bresaola. Suffice to say that I wish that there’d been more of this smooth, rich charcuterie.
The mains :
The ragu was my choice. The pappardelle was nicely cooked but the ragu was probably less of a ragu than I had expected i.e. the duck meat didn’t break up easily as meat does from an extended cooking period.
Gnudi di Ricotta e Spinaci al Burro e Salvia
Ricotta and spinach dumplings with butter, sage and fresh parmesan $24
Costoletta di vitello alla Milanese
Crumbed veal cutlet with eggplant parmigiana and ‘crema di burrata’ $37
Ravioli al Nero di San Pietro
Squid ink ravioli filled with John Dory & zucchini in potato and crayfish bisque $27
Flourless chocolate cake with orange reduction, creme anglaise $13.50
Of course we cannot forget the watches; what an amazing group of them I was privileged to see.
Part of Tom’s watchmaking project
The Ref. 2526 was introduced in 1952 and was Patek Philippe’s first self-winding watch. Containing Patek’s calibre 12-600 AT, this iconic enamel dialled rarity was produced in only 580 pieces, in yellow, pink, white gold and platinum. With a dial that truly has become a classic, it is seen by many to be ‘the’ Patek, or the ‘perfect wristwatch’.
The Ref. 6000 proved to be one of my surprises for the night. A watch that I’ve never much liked in photos, this was the first time I’d seen one in the metal. I did a complete turnaround, and really took this watch. It’s surprisingly sporty yet elegant, and sits very comfortably on the wrist. It also confirmed my view of how important it is to be able to see and handle a watch before buying it.
Seriously – what’s not to like about this trio? It was an honour to see them.
Simplicity indeed. It was a privilege to see a Dufour for the first time.
Independents tableshot : Peter Speake-Marin, F.P. Journe, Vianney Halter Goldpfeil, F.P.Journe, Philippe Dufour
Not a bad subset of watches for an end of year GTG, is it? My heart was captured, as I’d expect it would be, by the VH Goldpfeil. I told its owner that if it went missing, I would probably be the culprit. Here it is on my wrist :
And a final tableshot, including the edible interloper, a pocket watch from flour and stone.
Embarassingly, I was so distracted by the horological overload that there were watches that I didn’t get to photograph individually, but you can see some of them at this link.
After a great evening of food, wine, watches and conversation, Sopri’s owner finally managed to get rid of The Persistent Four at just after 1am, but not before one of us explained how similar food and watches can be – you have your mass produced items, you have your boutique items, you have your artisans…You would be surprised at the similarities.
Many thanks to the Melbourne ‘watchband’ for inviting me along and for being so welcoming. It was a wonderful night, aptly capped off by an amusing trip afterwards with my fellow interestate visitor, during which we found ourselves being motored through Melbourne by a Patek Nautilus wielding taxi driver.