The much anticipated Melbourne follow up to last September’s sell-out Sydney promotion is proving just as popular, with 500 tickets selling within 25 minutes of being released. Pre-sale tickets sold out last week, but limited walk in spots are available nightly, says Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) general manager marketing Sarah Meikle.
“We’ll also be leveraging the hype with travel offers to woo both those who attend and those who miss out across the ditch to try the real deal.”
The opening has been well received by Melbourne’s food bloggers, who aren’t exactly short of epicurean delights in their city. In a post reviewing Monday’s test night, Sophia Levin of Poppet’s Window describes WLG as a “brilliant showcase of all things delicious from Wellington”.
“They know their product, they know their menu, and they sure know how to tempt you over to Wellington.”
Michele, of IronChefShellie.com, describes the food as “fantastic” in her opening night review.
“My favourite was the entrees, although mains and desserts were still delicious….Our waiter was brilliant, he knew which wines to recommend and had the best moustache in town.”
Just over 100 guests were served at last night’s opening, and some 2000 customers are expected to enjoy WLG’s $35 three course meal through the promotion. Already the project has generated 44 pieces of media coverage reaching a total circulation/unique browsers of over 2.8 million.
The transformation of the Rue de Fleurus Salon & Bar in Fitzroy into a pop up showcase of the capital of cool by Wellington interior designer Kerryn Dunshea is attracting a lot of attention, Ms Meikle says.
“The design is drawing heaps of interest from passersby who can’t believe how quickly the place has been transformed – the team flew over last Thursday so they had just over four days for fit out.”
Some 25 hospitality and tourism staff are flying across the Tasman over the course of the two weeks to serve the regionally-focused dishes designed especially for WLG by Shaun Clouston (Logan Brown), Jacob Brown (The Larder), Rex Morgan (Boulcott Street Bistro), Tom Hutchison (Capitol) and Terry Lowe (Black Barn Restaurant & Vineyard), who are each taking shifts as head chef in residence. Meals will be washed down by beer from Tuatara and Moa, wines from some 20 vineyards from throughout Marlborough, Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay, and a Capital Collins cocktail designed by Justin McKenzie of Hawthorn Lounge.
“We’re delighted to have so many local products on board. WLG is designed to literally give Melbourne a taste of Wellington through the flavours, the design and the experience. It’s about building awareness of the urban experience the city offers and its proximity to New Zealand’s finest wine regions so Australians choose Wllington as their next stop for a short break,” says Meikle.
The WLG set menu includes a ‘Tastes of Wellington’ shared tasting plate to start, a selection of five mains (one designed by each of the five chefs in residence) and a choice of two desserts. Local products are a major feature both in the kitchen and the bar.
Named after Wellington’s airport code, WLG promotes the Wellington region by transporting Australians to the city through taste, personality and experience. The Melbourne course follows the extension of the There’s No Place Like Wellington campaign to Australia’s culinary capital earlier this year. WLG is a Positively Wellington Tourism initiative designed to build buzz and increase the city’s profile as an urban short-break destination. The inaugural WLG in Sydney in September 2010 saw almost 1,500 tickets snapped up within five hours of the restaurant’s announcement. It served an estimated 3000 Sydneysiders, broke timeoutsydney.com.au booking records and helped see visitor arrivals into Wellington from New South Wales increase ten percent in the six months following the initiative, when compared to the same period the year before. It was also nominated for a SABRE Asia-Pacific PR award alongside tourism heavyweights such as Disneyland, Madame Tussauds and Expedia.
WLG runs from 15-27 November at 153 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne (Formerly Rue de Fleurus Salon & Bar) and will be open for dinner from 6pm till late, but closed on Mondays.