Since officially getting engaged, K and I have been engrossed in wedding planning. Choosing a venue was the first task on our list with a menu tasting as one of our priorities, given our interest in food. At the same time, we were very conscious about our budget as well – it’s so easy for the costs of a wedding to spiral out of control and we have so many other financial goals that spending a significant amount on a single night of celebration (however special!) just doesn’t make sense.
One function venue that was firmly within our price range was the WatervieW in Bicentennial Park – somewhat less convenient to get to than an inner-city venue, but situated in lovely grounds which made us think of romantic outdoor ceremonies and exchanging our vows lakeside. Before we signed on the dotted line of the contract though, we wanted to ensure that the catering would be up to our standards…and I’m glad we did!
We started with two large share platters – one antipasto and one mezze. There were elements on these platters that were very good – the cold meats were excellent, and the labneh dip was excellent. Other parts were less impressive – the carrot and celery sticks were old (definitely not fresh produce!), the eggplant dip was overly oily, and some of the antipasto elements looked like they had been poured out of a jar directly onto the platter (the dolmades, sun dried tomatoes, etc).
We chose to sample two entrees that we thought would be crowd-pleasers. Unfortunately, they didn’t please us that much…my choice of the lamb in particular was definitely what I expected. The ‘seasonal salad’ was strangely presented, not to mention the fact that a bare sliver of cucumber, two cherry tomatoes, and a sprig of lettuce doesn’t exactly a salad make. The filling of K’s goat’s cheese tart was acceptable, though the pastry was chewy and not crisp the way it really should have been.
We split our chances with the mains, ordering one beef and one fish – just as you would find at many functions. The presentation of K’s dish was quite good, with the potato gratin as a standout when paired with the superb garlic butter. My salmon was definitely overcooked, though the chilli jam and salsa verde was an excellent accompaniment.
The desserts were the best parts of our meal. My date and pecan pudding was soft, sweet and full of melt-in-your-mouth goodness. The warm butterscotch sauce was the perfect accompaniment, but the whipped cream was simply unnecessary. K was also a big fan of his passionfruit creme brulee, which was caramelised to perfection. The only disappointing part was the wafer stick, as it was stale and not crisp the way it should be.
Overall, our opinion of the meal was that it was inoffensive. Nothing stood out, and the meal wasn’t so terrible that it ruined our experience. At best, the meal was forgettable and inoffensive – which is sometimes all you can expect of meals at a function venue.
This menu tasting cost us $50 per person for three courses, unlimited wine, and two platters at the beginning. Most others in the room went with a group of family or friends, so that they paid around $500 for ten people to try all the different options on the banquet menu, rather than just one each the way K and I did.
My advice to couples? If you’re not concerned about the quality of the food at your wedding and whether it’s too “function-y”, the WatervieW is a lovely venue. The Bel Parco room in particular overlooks the park grounds and has a lovely view. The wedding packages are very reasonable as well, with a lot of inclusions that will save you money in the long run (e.g. including a DJ for the night, and wedding night accommodation at a nearby hotel). However, if you’re picky about your food, it might be better to look elsewhere to hold your wedding celebrations.
Needless to say, K and I have chosen not to go with the WatervieW as our venue. We’re moving our wedding inner-city for convenience’s sake, especially for the half of our wedding guests (my half!) who will be flying in from interstate for the celebrations. We’ve chosen and booked venues for both the ceremony and the reception – bring on November 22nd, our wedding day!