Saturday, September 5, 2009

My life and Marriot function food review

I have been away from my home computer for a couple of days. Wednesday, we celebrated M's birthday again. Thursday, I was in Sydney for work. Last night, I went to a function for work.

Wednesday was M's actual birthday. She was very happy with her new pushbike and spent the afternoon after school riding it. She desperately wanted to go to Sizzler's for dinner, so we did. (Yeah: $20 lettuce for the vegan - yum, yum.) I think for the kids Sizzler's is really an excuse to have all-you-can-eat icecream, which M amply demonstrated.

After dinner, Mr Brisvegan and the children dropped me at the airport. I caught a 9.00pm flight to Sydney, while the children went home to bed. Why was I in Sydney? As I've mentioned in previous posts, I work as a practical legal training lecturer for a Brisbane university. We train several Eastern seaboard branches of a large international law firm. I went to Sydney to do training for the Sydney and Canberra offices. Thursday was a good training day. I grabbed sushi at the airport for dinner on the way home.

Last night (Friday), I went to a Women Lawyers Association of Queensland awards function at the Marriot hotel in Brisbane. It was a very successful, well attended function with excellent speakers. The three award recipients were amazing women who combined full time work with significant legal and non-legal community work.

So, how well did the Marriot do vegan food? It was well executed, but pedestrian, even a little boring. I was sitting next to a vegetarian. My meal was the same as hers less dairy. The "less dairy" was what made my meals a bit lack-lustre. It showed that the chef was relying on the goat's cheese and parmesan to flavour the dishes.

The entree was a vegetable stack. It was pretty to look at, being a neat little tower of grilled vegetables about 4cm round and 6cm high, with a drizzle of balsamic reduction around it. The vegetarian version was topped with a quenelle of herbed goat's cheese on top. However, mine was simply the vegetables. The veges were simply lightly grilled and not really seasoned or even showing something like a good olive oil flavour. They were fresh and good, but nothing awesome.

The main was a mixed vegetable risotto. Mine came out first, then 5 minutes later the vegetarians were served a version which had had parmesan added and curled on top. Again, mine was competent, but rather bland. The vegetables were things like zucchini, which can be delicious, but don't have the flavour punch of something like asparagus. The vegetarians all liked the dish, I suspect because their version relied on parmesan for a savoury lift that mine lacked.

The desert was a fruit plate, the average chef's response to vegan sweets. I liked it, because I love fruit, but again, it did not show much inspiration.

Overall, I enjoyed the function, but thought that when someone paid over $100 per head, the food could have been great rather than merely competent. (As a side note, the omnis were all very happy with their meals, so the chef is obviously of the school that requires flesh foods to shine.)

I have had better twists on all of these options at other restaurants and function. For example, Mr Brisvegan and I went to 2 Small Rooms for our anniversary last year. They made me an amazing 3 course meal, with a vegetable and beetroot salsa stack, (which was lifted by excellent flavouring, including the earthiness of the beetroot and hints of sweetness and horseradish), a sublime pea risotto (with the merest ghosting of mint offsetting the sweet peas and savoury risotto) and a fruit salad with an amazing spiced pear granita. Once you see how these basics can be made truly excellent, it is hard to be anything but critical of the bland offerings so often presented at other venues.

So, my summary is that a vegan will be fed at a Marriott Brisbane function, but it may not be anything special. I would not book a function there myself.


  1. That's good to know - I have to go to a legal function at the Marriott in a few weeks myself. It's breakfast, so who knows what I'll be served!

  2. What a disappointment. It's such a shame that most people think that vegans have no taste buds!

  3. It was a bit disappointing. However, I always assume that in this case, the chef actually has very little imagination. It is so easy to make amazing vegan food, so they clearly have no clue.

  4. It's a shame when they don't bother to really think about the amazing meal they could have served up to you