Scotch College has a huge valedictory dinner for its year 12 students every year to celebrate (almost) completing VCE and wrap up the year’s hard work. This year, the event was held at Sofitel Hotel at 25 Collins St, Melbourne CBD. The enormous Grand Ballroom, which can seat up to 838 people, was booked out for the night and eager red striped boys and their equally keen parents arrived early to take photos and pat each other on the back. The students were meant to invite their ‘parents’ along but as ours were busy, I had to act as my brother Jeff’s guardian. Due to this, I was painfully mistaken by two of Jeff’s schoolmates as his MOTHER….what awful eyesight boys! >:( Obviously studied too hard during the year HMMF.
Putting that aside, it was actually quite a refreshing and nostalgic experience for me, since high school seemed like a century ago. My main role for the night was lugging my huge DSLR around to take photos for Jeff and his friends, and on the odd occasion, photos of food. The photos didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped because the room was quite dark for most of the time (and unfortunately at the time, I didn’t have a proper flash).
The tables were arranged in a functionly fashion (I think I just made up a word) where there were flowers, wine glasses and spotless napkins on the table. I did expect slightly brighter and larger flowers though since in that darkness, I couldn’t even tell that they were flowers.
The menu consisted of mash, entree, main, dessert and tea/coffee and of course, bread with butter. There were many types of bread in the basket so I couldn’t remember exactly which one I ate. The only thing I could remember was how hungry I was and how quickly I chowed it down. I hope the parents next to me didn’t notice my rudeness :S.
The turnip, potato and pumpkin mash was splendid and I liked all of them. So much so that I had seconds…and thirds….and fourths..…until I realised there were none left for other people. Oops.
Scotch College is full of history and tradition, being one of the oldest schools in Australia, so it was no wonder that their speeches and performances were nothing short of extraordinary. Before the entree was served, a hearty performance-like speech in a cute Scottish accent was given about, yes you guessed it, haggis. The beautiful minced sheep innards served with onion, oatmeal and spices wrapped in sheep intestine to represent a huge sausage was a big hit with everyone. Yes, it actually tasted wonderful, a lot better than it looks or sounds. This was the first time I’ve ever seen let alone eat haggis in my life and boy was it an eye opener. It was richly flavoured with the onions and spices and texture was a bit rough from the oatmeals but definitely didn’t taste like heart, liver and lungs. Feel like trying some anyone? I especially like how it looked depleted as if Jeff sat on it with his big ass. Classy.
There were two mains – roasted chicken breast filled with goats cheese and basil, spinach, tagliatelle and forest mushroom cream sauce and the toasted Riverina lamb rump on onion and thyme roesti, minted carrots and zucchini with grain mustard jus. As these were placed in alternating order, Jeff and I got one each (which we shared). Both meats were overcooked (as expected though because not everyone can be pleased). I did like the flavour of the chicken as it was full of thick flavourful sauce with lots of veggies and pasta to go with it. The mushrooms were great as well.
The lamb didn’t go down as well because I believe overcooked chicken is better than overcooked red meats which gets tough and tasteless. The effort spent trying to chew it makes it worse. The veggies and potato on the plate were good though, although slightly plain.
Dessert was a slight disappointment. Warm chocolate pudding with honey ice cream and vanilla anglaise really sounded better than it tasted. The centre wasn’t that runny and it was way too sweet that I noticed many people couldn’t finish all of it (or even touched it on some tables). I give some credit for the beautiful vanilla anglaise though, which is a thick custard cream whipped together using egg yolk, sugar and hot milk. Yummo!
Lastly we were served with tea and coffee and chocolates to end the lovely night. I had the coffee which was average because I never really liked frothless coffees. I had wanted to take more than one chocolate but seeing there were 12 people on the table, I had to restraint myself…it’s always a difficult thing to do for me.
Overall it was a fantastic night full of energy, laughter and reminiscing. Although not the best meal, I did think Sofitel did a great job because it’s always very difficult to serve perfect dishes for hundreds of people all with differing tastes. Well done to the chefs as well as the waiters who efficiently and patiently served us during the night.
If you’re ever in the situation where you need to book a function room for your company, Sofitel is a good place to start. Not sure about the fees though but I do remember we paid over $100 per person . Sofitel also offers hotel rooms (duh) so if that’s what you’re looking for, give them a call as well, although I’m not sure what the rooms and services are like.
The VCE results are due to come out in a few hours (when you read this, it’s probably already out) and we’re all anxiously waiting. Good luck to those waiting for the results, whether it be your own or someone you know.
So tell me reader, what were your experiences when you graduated from high school? Was it tears of joy that the most tormenting days of your life is over or were you saddened by the prospect of never seeing some of your classmates/teachers again? I know I was happy that I got to have 3 months holiday . Not sure if I’d go through VCE again just to have another one now though.
Phone: (03) 9653 0000
25 Collins St, Melbourne CBD 3000