It’s been a while since I’ve been to a function at the Canberra National Convention Centre. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Aboriginal Hostels Limited NAIDOC Week luncheon. I was invited to go through the work organised tickets and went along with 5 other people from work.
It was a terrible, cold winter day outside, and it was definitely no fun walking in the wind and rain over to the Convention Centre from my work.
Once we were there we realised that this was quite a big luncheon. There were fifty tables of 10 – yep that’s right – 500 people were at this function. The funny thing was that the Grand Hall that we were in wasn’t even full!
It felt like forever before we were served our meals. There was the starter bread, but of course I couldn’t eat it.
A waiter came over and asked me if anyone had any dietary requirements. I told him that I am gluten intolerant and one of the girls is a vegetarian. I assume he forgot about this entirely, or didn’t tell anyone – when the mains came out they tried to give the vegetarian a steak, not just once, but twice!
Speaking of the timing for mains, it was very haphazard. One main was placed down at our table, then another one came five minutes later and ten minutes after the first dish was placed down was when they finally brought out the remaining dishes. I guess they probably shouldn’t have brought those dishes to our table as there were a few surrounding tables that seemed to have the same thing happen.
Good thing the food was good! The steak was juicy, moist and tender. It looked fairly pink – probably rare. The mash was creamy and smooth, but there was only about a tablespoon of it. I wish there was more! The mushroom sauce was also delicious, but it was very thin and watery.
It wasn’t until we were eating our mains that someone finally came to our table and asked us if we wanted any drinks. Well, he actually asked if we wanted any more drinks, but we hadn’t even been asked for our first round of drinks! Oh well…
When the desserts came out I tried to tell them that I’m gluten intolerant but the wait staff seemed to ignore this. Both desserts were not gluten free, but the Poached Pear at least had the least amount of gluten than the Chocolate Cake Mousse, so I chose to eat the pear. There were some kind of crumbs scattered all over the bottom of the plate, so I picked up my pear and scrapped the crumbs off to the side.
The pear itself was perfectly poached. It also had a tangy taste to it – like a mixture of cider and lemonade. I couldn’t quite out my finger on it, but I definitely enjoyed it. It was even more delicious when it was dunked in the sweet creamy angliase sauce on the side. I could eat this desert all day!
Overall, I enjoyed the experience at the National Convention Centre. But if I was having a wedding or another large important event, I probably wouldn’t pick this place because of the lack of organisation and attention to detail by waitstaff.