George's man about town Shae Courtney hits Bondi Beach for a decadent and stylish fest to celebrate the first day of summer;

On Sunday, some 3,000 diners descended upon Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach in a whitewash of culinary enjoyment. Diner en Blanc, imported from France, lured guests to an undisclosed location and set up shop for the evening.

Guests haul the food, table, chairs, cutlery and anything else, the organisers bring the atmosphere. Accompanied by music throughout the evening, the experience is an opportunity for Australians to prove they can rough it with the best (arguably French) in the kitchen.

Highlights of the evening included parma ham, pear and blue cheese entrées, potato dauphinoise and sticky date pudding. It was the kind of affair where trifle would have been at home and not the subject of mockery for its ‘70s middle class connotations. Stodgy finger food, however, had no place here. Everything, for one night only, was embalmed with a touch of elegance, especially the evening’s attire.

Prizes went to the best dressed, there was no shortage of fine fabrics and well-pressed Oxford shirts. George would be proud. A strict code commanded the smartest whites and ensured all, more or less, blended. There were a few specks in the otherwise pristine palette, but none serious enough to get in a tissy. One diner, Jeremy Sinclair, commented, “It’s a marvellous opportunity to dress up, cook signature dishes and family favourites, and deal with the mess later.” “I’m certain I’ll be footing a sizeable dry cleaning bill by the end of this,” he continued. Despite an abundant spring of mystery alcohol (booze was controlled by the organisers, orders for house wine having to be placed in advance), revellers, for no longer were they innocent diners, were in friendly spirits.

For those who paid for the privilege, an after party was held. We were not so privileged. Its second year in Australia’s largest city, Diner en Blanc mimics bygone banquets of the royal court. The ‘flash mob’ picnics have also set up shop at the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees and Chateau de Versailles. Last year, it was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Tickets sold out within two weeks and dining partners paid $70 for the privilege of having a four-by-four patch of Bondi’s sand upon which to eat. Diner en Blanc involves about 15,000 people around the world.

Our menu:

Cheese selection of Shropshire, Shevre, Stilton, Brie, Camembert and Danish blue with Carr’s water biscuits and rustic French baguettes.

Roast potatoes with chives and anchovies, Marinated organic chicken breast and salade nicoise.

Raspberry slices with a rich chocolate centre

02 December 2013
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