The sport of kings is in her blood to the same extent as are a love of good food, wine and good times. So who better than Julie-anne Sprague to give us the run down on Melbourne Cup action?

THEY’RE off and racing. Well, not the horses just yet, but venues across Perth have their functions and menus for this year’s Melbourne Cup up and running. Prices vary like race day hats but there’s something to suit everyone come the first Tuesday of November. Here’s a quick look at what’s on around town.

Burswood ($85pp):

Burswood Showroom. The Art of Fashion Melbourne Cup Luncheon. Frangelico and champagne will be served on arrival, followed by a three-course meal with wines, beer, and soft drinks. There will be a large screen for all the race action, TAB facilities, and an art and fashion show.

Windows Melbourne Cup Luncheon ($115pp): Fashion parade, entertainment by harp and flute duo Tres Classique, and a special sweepstakes draw. The race will be shown on TV monitors in the restaurant.

C Restaurant ($100pp): There will be a best hat and best dressed competition, sweepstakes and, of course, the race on the big screen. Sparkling on arrival and a four-course meal for a grand lunch. The lounge bar will be open for the after party.

Court Wine Bar: $38.50pp with Deutz Marlborough Cuvee or $50pp with a glass of Champagne Deutz. Entree, mains, coffee and Belgian chocolates will be served.

Cocos Restaurant ($66pp): Sweepstakes, prizes and giveaways, plus a three-course menu. A DJ will keep the after party moving from around 2.30pm.

Frasers ($65pp): Set menu and big screen TV for live race coverage. There’ll be a fashion parade as well as other Melbourne Cup entertainment.

Indiana Tea House ($145pp): They’re serving up an entree, a selection of four main courses, and dessert. There will also be Peel Estate wine tastings with Will Nairn, sweepstakes, and we’re told there’ll be some AFL players for the girls and Crown lager girls for the boys. There also will be fashion and swimwear parades. This event on the sea will be popular so full payment is required prior to the function to secure your seat.

Jetty’s Restaurant ($32.95pp): Glass of champagne on arrival, live broadcast, sweeps competitions giveaways, fashion parade and a full smorgasbord for lunch.

Oceanus ($100pp): Two menus to choose from. Melbourne Cup: Tapas selection, Indian spiced sweet potato soup or Oceanus seafood plate, midori and lemon sorbet or; The Race: Pink snapper, leek risotto, asparagus, citrus beurre blanc or prime fillet of beef with accompaniment, vanilla bean creme brulee, double chocolate parfait, fresh strawberries, tea and coffee.

Matilda Bay ($65pp): Enjoy a three-course meal and Sandalford Elements wines. There is a selection of four main courses – fish, steak, baby beef, and manicotti. Sweepstakes, fantasies and fetishes fashion parade, prizes and giveaways.

Meads at Mosman Bay ($55pp): Three-course luncheon with a range of choices and the option to order side dishes.

Moonlight Lady Chartered Yacht ($150pp): From 5.30pm-10pm you can celebrate your win in style. Cap off this glamour day with a champagne river cruise. You’ll be served scrumptious eats as well as beverages aboard this fine yacht.

Parmelia Hilton ($49pp): At The Globe Wine Bar and Restaurant. Three-course menu. Live race coverage, sweepstakes, prizes and an Aherns/David Jones gift bag. Don your best hat as the winner of the best hat competition will receive a $200 Aherns/David Jones voucher.

Rendezvous Observation City ($49pp): At the Pines Grand Buffet and Carvery Buffet luncheon. A complimentary glass of champagne on arrival, live television coverage, sweepstakes, prizes and giveaways, and fashion parade. Best hat, best elegantly dressed lady and gentlemen, and most outlandish hat awards.

Star Bistro ($49.50): Last year’s table decorations doubling as hat garments should provide the impetus to wear your best hat to Claremont’s Star Bistro for its Melbourne Cup Luncheon. A three-course menu is available plus coffee/tea and nougat, as well as sweeps and prizes.

The Hyatt Cafe ($35pp): Three large television screen monitors to catch all the race action. Wear your best hat or tie and be part of the Cup Hat and Tie competition. A full buffet as well as champagne cocktails on arrival.

The Red Herring ($65pp) Visit the 2001 gold plate winner and receive a glass of Chandon on arrival. Hors d’oeuvres of Nigiri sushi, entree, mains of sugar-seared swordfish and sirloin of beef, dessert, tea and coffee.

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Oktoberfest. So what if it happens in September in its country of origin? From tomorrow the Hyatt celebrates authentic German cuisine at the cafe with lunch at $22 and dinner $35.

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Large numbers of people headed down to last Saturday’s Taste of the Nation Food and Wine Festival. With exceptional weather for tasting food and wine it was a successful day, with proceeds going to Oxfam Community Aid Abroad. The judges, after enduring an afternoon of tasting all the produce available, announced that Bacco had won the Best Presentation Award for its gorgonzola panna cotta with parmesan biscuits. The Holiday Inn won the Best Innovative Dish Award.

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We asked Nick Skinner about the rumour that Subiaco Wine Room’s Andrew Charleson was partnering Nick’s new West Perth venture, Picnicks. Nick tells us that they are the best of mates, however Andrew is not part of this picnic, even though his stay at the Wine Room is coming to an end shortly. He tells us the owners of the Subiaco Hotel, the Monaghans, are awaiting approval of their bid for the Wine Room.

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Management has gone full circle at ALH. Grapeskin manager Bruce Stewart has moved to Queens, replacing Grapeskin’s first manager David Schomberg, who has taken a position at the Sail and Anchor. Managing Grapeskin is Anthony Davis, who has been promoted after spending a year in training. He was previously the assistant sales manager at Voyager Estate.

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