Caulfield ups the ante on food, fashion and fun for spring racing (The Weekly Review)

It’s not officially the first group 1 race of the Spring Racing Carnival (that honour goes to the   Memsie Stakes) but for the food, fun and fashion-conscious racegoer, the BMW Caulfield Cup (October 15 this year) is when the party really gets started.

This year it promises to be bigger, better and more fun then ever, thanks to a host of new fine-food choices from Melbourne’s top restaurateurs, a great music line-up and a swish new $500,000 fashion precinct, The David Jones Fashion Stable – not to mention some of the best group 1 races of the season.


The star of Caulfield’s new food line-up is the Estelle by Scott Pickettmarquee, hosting 450 guests on the Heath enclosure with a $575 per head premium four-course menu for the Caulfield Cup.

Guests will be treated to Saskia Beer chicken with foie gras and black truffle, John Dory with macadamia and pickled shallot, and Flinders Island lamb with zucchini flowers and spring peas.

Scott has also created The Caulfield Dessert, a signature dish featuring macerated strawberries, lemon verbena meringue and pastry cream.

Chef scott pickett. Photo: supplied

He says the marquee’s design has been inspired by the colours and textures inside his fine dining restaurant ESP, in Northcote. “It will be dark, moody and sexy, with water and stone features,” he says.

Caulfield has boosted its food offerings with the arrival of The European’s Ian Curley as executive chef at its Black Caviar restaurant in 2013, and last year adding hotel professional Julian Robertshaw as executive chef of Promenade, also in the grandstand.

Julian has sourced winning ingredients, including premium Glacier 51 toothfish and Fraser island spanner crab for the Caulfield Cup menu. “The toothfish will be served with red miso, oyster mushrooms, braised daikon and lobster,” he says.

Chef Ian Curley. Photo: Michael Rayner

The fine food extends beyond the VIP areas this season, thanks to an array of top restaurants catering in pop-up form to general admission punters across the track.

“We believe that everyone deserves a premium experience when they come to Caulfield,” says the Melbourne Racing Club’s chief commercial officer, Peta Webster.

“We are trying to open up the idea of racing to a wider audience. You shouldn’t have to choose between watching the races and enjoying great food, entertainment or fashion. So we have brought all of these elements together, trackside.”

mr miyagi Nori Tacos. Photo: supplied

The line-up includes Mistress Estelle, Mamasita, Red Door Yum Cha, and Mr Miyagi, which will be serving its famous Nori Tacos.

As for drinks, MRC beverage manager Dan Schwarze is creating cocktails in the Moet & Chandon marquee, and at Black Caviar, Promenade and in the Little Melbourne Bar in the grandstand area.

General admission guests can enjoy premium drinks in the Chandon Rose Bar and the Golden Ale Bar.


Fashion gets a revamp at Caulfield this year, with plenty of style action both trackside and digitally.

Roving fashion illustrators on hand to capture your racewear look are just one of the highlights at the premium 1000-square-metre David Jones Fashion Stable, which aims to bring an all-inclusive party atmosphere to the occasion.

Situated just five metres from the track and open to all racegoers, the marquee will include a Chandon Rose Bar, a premium wine bar – and a chance to mingle with the likes of BMW Caulfield Cup Carnival style ambassador Nadia Bartel.

On BMW Caulfield Cup Day, two runway shows will feature cutting-edge labels such as Romance Was Born, Manning Cartell,Carla Zampatti, Camilla & Marc and Ellery.

But the star attraction will be the Westfield Style Stakes – Fashions on the Field transformed for the modern-day fashionista and propelled onto an exciting digital platform.

Romance Was Born \ Spring Summer 2016. Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Racegoers aged 18 or over can enjoy a professional photo shoot experience, complete with a Glam Squad of hair and make-up artists and photographers.

They can then use the editing suite to select three favourite images to enter into the Style Stakes digitally – and upload the images into their own social media. There’s even a new category for the shy: squads (groups of two to eight).

“We wanted to bring the fashion and racing concept into the 21st century,” says Peta Webster.

“Fashion these days is a two-way conversation. People want to participate and share, and so much of that is done via social media so we knew we needed to enhance our approach to fashions this year.”


Music and entertainment take centre stage at Caulfield’s new precinct this year, with a great line-up of live entertainment delivered all day by NOVA Entertainment in a partnership with the MRC and Carlton United Brewery.

At the heart of the entertainment is the Crown Golden Ale Bar and Crown Lager Live stage, where bands (including The Preatures and British India) and hot music mixes will provide an ideal music backdrop for guests chilling out with a beer while watching the racing action.

DJs Timmy Trumpet and DJ Minx will entertain racegoers during BMW Caulfield Cup Day this Saturday.

Isabella Manfredi of The Preatures. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images