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The Spring Racing Carnival is a three month-long world class festival showcasing the very best of racing, fashion and entertainment. From Ballarat to Cranbourne, Caulfield to Swan Hill, and Geelong to Moonee Valley, there's plenty of excitement to be had at both city and country tracks. But what if you can't make it to the track? How else do you enjoy Australia's most celebrated carnival?
From mid-September to mid-November, Australia is gripped by racing fever. Restaurant after restaurant opens its doors to fancy frocks and horse racing lovers, celebrating with elegant luncheons, fabulous fashion shows and great wine. No matter where you live in Australia, there's somewhere close by to join in the fun and we're pleased to say that many of the Good Food Gift Card partners are in on the action.
To get you started, here's a few of our favourite Melbourne Cup events. Why traipse to the race track when you can enjoy the comforts of Australia's best restaurants?
And if you're looking for a great corporate gift or a way to reward your employees, a Good Food Gift Card will allow them to have a meal and some drinks on you during this year's racing season.
Located in Sydney's King St Wharf, Meat District Co. have created an enticing blend of contemporary style in an open yet rustic space, evoking a comfortable and inviting atmosphere where guests are encouraged to spend a leisurely afternoon.
This year they're hosting a Melbourne Cup luncheon featuring a 3-course meal and lucky door prizes, for just $75. Plus, with internal sweeps and a TAB nearby, you'll be able to get in on the action while you enjoy your meal.
Superbly located adjacent to the famous Botanic Gardens and in one of Melbourne's most revered hotels, The Botanical has something for everyone. The venue features a formal restaurant, an informal wine store and cafe, a bar and lounge and a delightful alfresco-inspired 'Archer Room'. The food is a celebration of everything French and Mediterranean and the focus is on quality, sustainable produce.
They're running events all through Spring Racing Week, including a la carte lunches and dinners on Derby Day (4th November), a champagne breakfast and 4-course set menu on Melbourne Cup Day (7th November) and a champagne breakfast on Oaks Day (9th November). Each event will also offer full coverage of the races on their plasma screens.
Enjoy Melbourne Cup from one of the most enviable locations in the country, inside the Sydney Opera House. Overlook the Harbour Bridge while you enjoy an exquisite menu designed by Executive Chef Peter Gilmore and Head Chef Rob Cockerill.
For $220 per person, guests will be treated to a glass of Charles Heidsieck Champagne on arrival, followed up with a three-course lunch menu which harnesses the best of local produce. There will be sweeps, lucky door prizes and "fashions off the field" to add to the excitement as the races play out live on plasma screens.
Cataract on Paterson promises a dining experience like no other, in a stunning industrial space right on the edge of the CBD in Launceston. Their contemporary cuisine emphasises Tasmanian food products, cooked on a 400ºC volcanic stone at your table, enhancing the full flavours and tenderness of your meal.
Their Melbourne Cup function is $80 per person and raises money for the Launceston General Hospital. It promises a day of fun, with a prize for the best hat and other opportunities to win prizes and place your bets.
Looking for somewhere to enjoy the Melbourne Cup on Sydney's Northern Beaches? Sotto Sopra (meaning down/up in Italian), is a contemporary venue in Newport, where the bar and kitchen overlooks the dining area full of stunning feasting tables. Run by Chef and Restaurateur Alessandro Pavoni along with his partners from the Two Hat restaurant Ormeggio at The Spit, the kitchen focuses on mouthwatering wood-fired Italian dishes inspired by quality, seasonal produce.
Their elegant dining room is the perfect place to watch the race, while enjoying a special chefs sharing feast menu for $79 per person. They'll also be hosting sweepstakes and offering prizes for the best dressed. Get some friends together because if you book a table for 6 or more guests, you'll also receive a complimentary round of Prosecco on arrival.
Experience Melbourne Cup in a contemporary and classy location at Noosa Waterfront Restaurant and Bar, overlooking parklands and tranquil waters.
With a glass of bubbles on arrival, live music, sweeps and prizes and three courses designed for sharing, this is an event you'll want to start gathering your favourite troupes for – and at a reasonable $85 a head, you'll have some leftover for a few extra bets if that tickles your fancy. Want to make the day even more special? You could choose to arrive by boat along the beautiful Noosa River.
With Executive Chef Nathan Sasi at the helm, this Sydney restaurant uses traditional cooking practices like pickling, cheese making, whole beast butchery, and charcuterie – not to mention making their own bread from scratch. The menu changes daily and features Spanish-inspired dishes with ingredients highlighted by the rotisserie and wood-oven.
For Melbourne Cup you can be treated to a bespoke menu for $149 per head, with several exciting stars including Coffin bay oysters, Moroccan pie filled with spinach, dandelion & ricotta, and Spit roasted lamb shoulder with all the trimmings. With best dressed prizes, sweepstakes and spot prizes, there promises to be much more entertainment if you're able to draw your attention away from the food.
In the heart of the CBD overlooking the Brisbane River and iconic Story Bridge, OTTO Brisbane celebrates great Australian ingredients in a modern Italian style. On Melbourne Cup Day, enjoy a signature OTTO three-course menu in a beautiful outdoor location with sweeping views. The three-course menu is $98, with beverage package options at $40 or $65.
If you wish to continue into the evening, Bar OTTO offers classic Italian hospitality with wood-fired pizzas, bubbles, cocktails and tap beer, plus live Italian jazz from 3pm.
Firedoor offers Australia's first fire-powered menu, where convenience and efficiency are forgone in honour of the beauty of wood-fired cooking. Situated in the back streets of Surry Hills, within a 1911 heritage building, the urban space features an open kitchen that centres around two custom-made wood-fired ovens, four grills and an Australian-made Aga.
On Melbourne Cup day you can sit fireside and watch the action unfold both on the field and in the kitchen. For $150 per person, enjoy champagne on arrival, five-course menu cooked over fire by Head Chef Lennox Hastie, sweeps, and prizes for best dressed.