Thursday, December 15, 2011

The best day of my far

Posted by kel @ sweet treats at 8:30 AM
When my partner Chris said to me last month that I had to keep the weekend of the 10th of December free, I immediately became suspicious. All he would tell me was that we had to leave at 4.30am, and that the weekend involved going to a celebrity chef's restaurant.

I pushed the weekend out of my head (after all, thinking about where we could possibly be going was sending me slightly crazy!) until a couple of days before the event. I will admit it; I pestered Chris. A lot. Every day. "Where are we going?" I whined. He tried to convince me we were catching the boat to Tasmania for a day (err...the thriving metropolis of Devonport isn't exactly swimming with celebrity chef restaurants!) Then there was talk of Brisbane. Then I thought we were going to Melbourne (not far from us, but the 4.30am wake up call had me convinced we were hot air ballooning). All in all, I was positively stumped as to where we were headed.

On the morning of our departure I sleepily walked outside to where Chris' dad was waiting in his car. He drove us towards Melbourne (dodging roos along the way!) and it was only when we skipped the turn to Melbourne and headed towards Avalon airport that I knew for certain we were flying somewhere.

As we checked in at a kiosk I saw our destination light up on the screen: SYDNEY.

I was excited! I love going to Sydney. I go at least once a year to visit friends but I rarely spend a lot of time in the city itself, more often spending my time in the suburbs. This was going to be a fun weekend!

After leaving our bags at our hotel at World Square, we strolled down Pitt St Mall and caught a cab to Balmain. Our destination: Adriano Zumbo's patisserie. HEAVEN.

Chris was disappointed that there was no V8 cake (he's obsessed with the idea of it) but we did purchase a few of Zumbo's famous macarons. We then walked up Darling St, stopped in at a local market, and caught the ferry back across the Darling Harbour. From there we walked to Paddy's Market and rode on the monorail. By this stage we were fading fast, and not being able to check in to our hotel yet we opted to go to the movies for some air conditioning and to put our feet up (funny I know, but remember we'd been up since 4am!)

After finally being able to check into the hotel, I had a disco nap and then set about getting ready to go out for dinner. At this stage Chris was still refusing to tell me where we were going. Even when we hopped into a cab he wouldn't tell the driver the name of the restaurant! We pulled up at the end of Macquarie St in Circular Quay and I could see Chris looking around for the restaurant. I asked him which number we were looking for, and when he said "number one" I looked across the road to see Aria, Matt Moran's restaurant.

I couldn't hold my excitement in. Try as I might, I couldn't help but let out a squeal (or five). I was almost hyperventilating and dying of happiness at the same time. I have been a fan of Matt Moran for years, and I never thought I'd be lucky enough to go to his restaurant.

We were early, so we walked around Circular Quay for a little while, looking at the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was Chris' first time to Sydney so I took some pictures of him posing with the landmarks. As we walked around the restaurant precinct we came across a Chinese restaurant, and Chris (being the prankster he is) tried to convince me that that was actually where we were going for dinner. I don't think so! At this point, nothing was coming between me and Aria!

It was eventually time to head over to Aria, and we arrived for our 6.30pm - 8.30pm reservation (you reserve a block of time - Aria is booked out for months in advance so time is of the essence, it seems). We were greeted by lovely staff (one who saw me about to put my Prada bag on the floor and quickly instructed me that it should sit on the spare chair next to me) and were waited on hand and foot for the time we were there.

So I'm sure you want to know about the food...

When we sat down we were given a 25 page wine list, and the sommelier was happy to assist us in selecting our drinks. I chose the 2010 Chateau Pierre-Bise Cabernet d'Anjou Rose from the Loire Valley in France, and Chris chose Trumer Pils, a pilsener from Austria.

We were presented with glasses of cold tomato soup topped with yoghurt. An interesting flavour, but delicious all the same.

Due to the time we were there we were given the pre theatre menu to peruse (the menu changes after 7.30pm). For entree I chose the peking duck consomme with duck dumplings, shaved abalone and mushrooms.

Chris had the Kurobuta pork belly with pork croquette and caramelised apple. I don't eat pigs (no pork, no ham, no bacon...not for any reason except I don't like it!) but Chris offered me some of his pork and I devoured it. It was amazing.

For main, I chose the beef, a scotch fillet served with lyonnaise potatoes and green asparagus with a bone marrow and cornichon sauce.

Chris opted for the roasted lamb rump with ricotta gnocchi, pumpkin and mustard fruit puree and a sage and balsamic sauce.

We shared a big bowl of truffled potato mash, simply because I always hear everyone banging on about how amazing truffle is, and I was desperate to find out what all the fuss was about (oh, yes, there's a good reason for the fuss...yum!)

Chris knew I was desperate to check out Adriano Zumbo's new shop at the Star, so we declined the dessert menu. Minutes later, a little tray of mini sweets appeared on our table, laden with coconut macaroons, raspberry jellies and chocolate truffles. Heaven. It's the little touches like this that made our dining experience at Aria exceptional.

Regrettfully we left the restaurant and I stopped off at the bathroom on the way out. Chris went ahead and I told him I'd meet him outside.

As I descended the stairs Chris stopped me for a kiss. As we broke away Chris looked into my eyes and said...

"Will you marry me?"

I stood there, unable to process the question. Was he really asking me to marry him? All I could utter was "are you serious?" until he waved an exquisite white gold diamond ring under my nose.

I was in shock. I was finally able to say "of course I will!" and Chris slipped the ring on to my finger. By this stage passers-by had realised what they had just witnessed and were slowing down and smiling at us. I caught the eye of one girl and exclaimed "I'm engaged!" and her and her friends congratulated us. One of the waiters from Aria saw us through the window and came out to invite us back inside. He told us we had to toast the occasion properly, and returned with champagne and canapes 'on the house'. It was in the lounge area that I set about calling mine and Chris' families, letting them know we were engaged. My brother is currently in the US, and not even considering the time difference I called him. Thankfully he's a very social person and he was still up partying despite the fact it was the middle of the night/very early morning over there.

After we eventually left Aria we walked around to the ferry terminal and caught a ferry headed for the Star. Chris struck up a conversation with a couple of guys (shout out to Clarkey!) and we told them about our engagement. Pretty soon half the ferry knew about it and we were congratulated as everyone began disembarking the vessel. Clarkey's mate even rang his wife and told her about our engagement, and he took photos of us with the Sydney Harbour Bridge. He'll never know how much those photos mean to us. Thanks, nameless friend of Clarkey :)

We went over to the casino and made a beeline for Adriano Zumbo's patisserie. His new shop is bigger than its cousins and the macaron displays are much more visually enticing. There is also a 'dessert train' (think sushi train but desserts!) Unfortunately there is no V8 cake left, so Chris leaves mildly disappointed. I leave with an abundance of assorted macaron flavours, Santa Hats and Zumbo's TV series on DVD.

We walked to the nearest monorail station, caught it back to World Square and went back to the hotel.

So there you have it...the best day of my life. I can't wait to marry my best friend :)

Some amusing facts about our engagement:

- Chris thought he'd been dropping hints about where we were going. One of these hints was that he baked macarons two nights before we went to Sydney. While these were most welcome, I had no idea this was actually in reference to Adriano Zumbo.

- Chris was going to propose at Zumbo's patisserie in Balmain; however there was a slight problem. We had a running joke that he couldn't propose to me until he had tasted V8 cake (this was a ploy to try and get me to make it for him - no matter how much I wanted him to propose I couldn't bring myself to attempt that cake!) As the Balmain store had no V8 cake he decided to propose at Aria.

- Chris proposed on the steps outside Aria as he was concerned I would squeal too much inside. Hahahaha. My sister got engaged to her wonderful man three weeks ago and he knows how much I squealed and cried to her on the phone, so he was 'just taking precautions'. Too funny!

- We first started looking at rings on my birthday when we were in Melbourne. Little did I know that the following day he bought the ring. He still took me ring shopping to throw me off the scent. Cheeky bugger! I had actually found a ring I loved and couldn't understand why he wouldn't buy it (it was on sale and heavily reduced). Turns out there already was a ring!

- Chris asked my dad's permission five weeks ago, before my sister's partner asked him the same thing. Daniel almost postponed his proposal to my sister as he didn't know when Chris was going to ask me. When I called dad to tell him we were engaged he said "all these men kept coming to my door asking if they could marry my daughters!" Hahaha. It was pure coincidence that we were engaged within three weeks of each other.

- When I called Chris' mum (who was in on the whole thing!) to tell her the good news I didn't even say who I was. Thankfully through the 'oh my gods' and nonsense she was able to deduce who she was speaking to.

- The Adriano Zumbo Santa Hats caused a bit of a stir at Sydney Airport on the way home. The baggage security staff oohed and ahhed over them so much that they temporarily halted other passengers going through. Hilarious!

Thank you so much to all the love and support from our families and friends. We have been blown away by the cards, phone calls and messages we have received since the weekend. Thank you all for being such an important part of our lives.

Love Kel & Chris xxx

9 comments on "The best day of my far"

AshMac on Thursday, 15 December, 2011 said...

CONGRATULATIONS! You must be sooo high on life right now! :D What an amazing proposal. You definitely have a keeper there! So sweet and romantic.

Lanzchop on Thursday, 15 December, 2011 said...

What a lovely story Kel!!! I really enjoyed reading it

Tab on Thursday, 15 December, 2011 said...

Awww. I read this lovely story with tears. How lovely was all that?!! I love the bit about proposing on the steps so you weren't too loud inside!!! A great storry to tell mini-Chris and mini-Kel one day :)

Kel on Thursday, 15 December, 2011 said...

Congrats beautiful girl :) Absolutely over the moon for you. Love the fun facts :P

weenie_elise on Thursday, 15 December, 2011 said...

He baked Macarons? That man is a keeper! Congratulations, lovely!

A on Tuesday, 20 December, 2011 said...

Congrats! :)
I've been stalking your blog for ages and you deserve every happiness :)

Kelly on Tuesday, 27 December, 2011 said...

Kelly, I have been an avid reader of your blog since you first started it. You are inspirational and have been through a lot in recent years, I wish you and Chris many years of happiness. Now, the important question must be asked, who will make your wedding cake? Lots of virtual love flying your way from Qld.

kel @ sweet treats on Wednesday, 28 December, 2011 said...

Aww Kelly you got me all emotional!

I am crazy enough to be making my engagement and wedding cakes! I am undecided on my engagement cake's design at this stage but I know what my wedding cake is going to look like. I'm mental, clearly.\

Now I just need to convince my future husband we don't need fruit cake or seven (yes, SEVEN!) tiers.


Shopping For Diamond Engagement Ring on Wednesday, 04 January, 2012 said...

beautyful jewellery for nice couple
This is very good style`s wedding ring


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