Lewis Carroll wrote: “There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one for birthday presents, you know.”

What to get a BFF for a significant birthday that has personal meaning? I eventually came upon Australian author Bernadette O’Shea’s book “Champagne & Chandeliers: Grand Dining Celebrations”. The book with 35 stories, 220 champagnes and 30 champagne house profiles are accompanied by rare and privileged photographs of royal menus, salons within private châteaux and palaces, crown jewels, aged cellar treasures still resting on the lees, priceless artifacts and fine art. Perfect for a good friend who enjoys good food, champagne and wine, travels constantly and stays in boutique and luxury hotels! I also added a silver photo frame of four best friends enjoying a glass of Tattinger!

I had packed for Melbourne weather; four seasons in a day! Arriving at The Lyall Hotel and Spa in South Yarra, a boutique hotel 40 suites of contemporary oriental design, the open-fire was blazing, making the lobby intimate and friendly in all weather types! Wow and I had been upgraded to a one-bedroom suite with kitchen. On arrival at the room the fruit basket had lemons, a first for me, and I was impressed! I do a warm lemon juice upon getting out of bed each day!

Saturday was the birthday lunch at Donovans located on St Kilda beach. The sun was shining on arrival and we were shown to the private room set up for 20 guests. By the time we left, quite late, it was pouring with rain, a typical Melbourne day!!

The menu choice, and food and wine delivery, was exceptional. Firstly we did not have to choose our courses, the food just arrived and arrived!

The Menu


Each guest receives a taste of all the dishes listed below

A Crystal Cup of Ceviche of Tasmanian Salmon with Capers and Preserved Lemon

Shaved Bresaola with Semi Dried Olives, Roasted Pepper, Bocconcini and Dressed Rocket

Green Asparagus with Marinated Mushrooms, Shaved Parmesan and Petite Herbs

Cavatelli with Chilli, Pesto, Broccolini and Toasted Almonds

Donovons Crusty Bread with Fave Bean Puree

Grosset ‘Springvale’ Riesling 2012 – Clare Valley, SA

Cape Mentelle Savignon Blanc Semillon 2012 – Margaret River, WA

Main Course

Each guest receives a portion of the dishes listed below, which are silver served by your waiter. Accompaniments are served in the center of the table for everyone to share and enjoy

Barbeque Swordfish Medallions with Romesco Sauce and shaved Fennel

Roast Pork with ‘Crackling’

Cherry Tomato Tart with Red Onion Jam, Boatshed Persian Feta and Basil

Roast Potatoes with a Mustard Crust

Tossed Salad of Leafy Greens

Crittenden Estate Pinot Noir 2012 – Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Galli Estate ‘Artigiano Block Two’ Shiraz 2009 – Heathcote, Vic


Offered and served by your Waiter

Freshly Churned Mango, Orange and Campari Sorbet with Coconut Meringue Kisses

Blend Coffee, Teas by Tea Corporation


A weekend with good friends is always one of life’s highlights.

Jan Knox 


Lyall Hotel and Spa
16 Murphy St
South Yarra
Melbourne, Victoria? 3141
Tel: ? 03 9868 8222
Free call: ?1 800 338 234

40 Jacka Boulevard,
St Kilda VIC
Tel: 03 9534 8221

Champagne & Chandeliers