Gourmet Cinema is an outdoor food and film experience at the Caulfield Race Course. There’s an impressive line up of Melbourne’s trendiest restaurants catering this event, and I can vouch for the summer picnic atmosphere being something novel to do this March.
My hubby JJ, booked tickets online as a late birthday celebration and it was a real treat! It’s definitely a good date night / hang out with friends that makes the most of what’s left of Melbourne’s gorgeous summer nights (we’re technically in Autumn but it still feels like summer!)
The food stands at Gourmet Cinema would be familiar destinations for most Melbourne foodies. There are your favourite fancy eateries with a few new ones you’ve likely not tried before, so there’s no better opportunity to sample a bit of everything. Some of the restaurants you can look forward to feasting on include: Epocha, Le Bon Ton, Mamasita, The European, Baby, St Ali, and Luxe Bite. They also have a Kandy Bar with your classic cinema treats like popcorn, cookies and lollies.
When you arrive, everyone’s spread out on picnic blankets in an open grassy field by the race course. You kind of pick your own spot, or whatever spot is available and watch all the beautiful colours of the sky’s sunset as you wait for the film to show. There’s a large and easy to see movie screen which was no disappointment, so there isn’t really a bad seat in the house (technically outside!) You can BYO rug to sit on, cushions for comfort and throws to cover up for when it gets chillier. There are also onsite hire options for these items, along with low-lying chairs for a price. If you don’t like sitting on the ground, there’s also a section up back with proper lawn chairs that you can pay extra for. I do highly recommend bringing a warm blanket (like the sleeping bags I saw people with) and a good jacket. For me, even though the day was over 30 degrees Celsius, it was still a little cooler than I would like once the sun set. Although having said that, I loved watching my favourite film – The Grand Budapest Hotel – so much that I didn’t mind!
What’s also really cool about this event is that it’s sponsored by Deliveroo, and any food that you order can be “delivered” right to you at your picnic blanket in front of the screen!
Food is also much much much better than you would typically expect at a film event, and I can say that it’s not called Gourmet Cinema for nothing! I ordered a Croque Monsieur for $12 from The European, and it was the crispiest most satisfying toasted sandwich I’d ever had! Definitely something simple made extraordinary. JJ also ordered The Walter smoked pork burger with Chilli Cheese Fries for $32 from Le Bon Ton, and it was excellent as well! The Walter was a bit on the spicy side but still delicious. It was of course too much food for two people to eat all of the above, so you can get away with spending less on food for a decent feed. For dessert, we tried Epocha’s one-night only special, Courtesan au Chocolate, which was a replicate of the Grand Hotel Budapest’s Mendl’s dessert made so famous in the film. It was so cute AND delicious!!!
My tips for arriving is that you show up at 7PM before the 8PM screening with enough time to order and eat your food. Gates open at 6PM, and some people arrive earlier to get a better spot on the grass for viewing, but I got a perfectly good space in the front row and happily watched the screen without any qualms. Gourmet Cinema is also conveniently located right by the Caulfield train station, as well as tram and bus lines by Monash University Caulfield, so making your way there after work is reasonably easy.
There are still opportunities to attend this event over the next 3 days, so I highly recommend you get to buying some tickets online!