The Birdcage. Synonymous with fashion, beauty and celebrities during Melbourne Cup Carnival, the various marquees in this sanctuary play host to not only those that are best dressed, but feature the best food and drink that you can find this side of Melbourne.  We take a look at what’s happening in the Birdcage this Melbourne Cup Carnival.


In its 11th year as Principal Partner of the Emirates Melbourne Cup, Emirates will take its marquee to a whole new level of luxury, with a German themed marquee taking guests through a journey across Deutcheland.

The fairy-tale façade of Germany’s most famous architectural icon – Neuschwanstein Castle, complete with turrets, flags and towers – will greet race-goers as the largest and most impressive marquee of the Birdcage, with a prime view over the racecourse.

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The exclusive Emirates guest list will be treated to an impressive menu of German-inspired delicacies, including a modern twist on the classics such as veal schnitzel, sauerkraut and apple strudel, and a dedicated mobile pretzel bar. The menu will also include delicate poached ocean trout, honey glazed ham, roasted beef and Black Forest dessert.

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The Emirates marquee will host the Birdcage’s only fully serviced, sit-down restaurant, with 10 qualified chefs working over the four days to cater to guests, while the process is managed and overseen by the trained eye of Head Chef, Tony Cimmino.

The drinks menu also features a German twist with a special Spice rum with house-made plum shrub charged with ginger ale.

Bar Schweppes

For the 2014 Bar Schweppes Marquee, the theme is inspired by one of the hottest trends in food and cocktails, the American Deep South. The Deep South-style bar will be home to a host of Melbourne’s hottest restaurants and bars, serving up some of the Birdcages tastiest American delights.

The menu will feature dishes from newly opened Bluebonnet Barbecue, Meatmaiden, Le Bon Ton and Meat Mother. Some of the delicious dishes on offer include pulled pork with apple kohlrabi slaw in a miso bun from Bluebonnet Barbecue, Lobster Mac’n’Cheese from Meat Maiden, Texas Chilli Cheese Fries from Le Bon Ton.

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The best cocktails menu has to be at Bar Schweppes with a range of bespoke cocktails from Black Pearl, Le Bon Ton and Seamstress. Partnering with Diageo and its premium spirits range, Bar Schweppes will be serving these Deep South-inspired cocktails, such as the Kansas City Shuffle, with some of Melbourne’s best bartenders manning the bar. The menu also features the famous Schweppes Flemington Fling, the signature cocktail of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.


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Lavazza is again boasting some of Australia’s finest Italian chefs during Melbourne Cup Carnival who will be serving up some signature dishes at Caffe Lavazza. In its 12th year involved with Melbourne Cup, Lavazza have secured Paolo Masciopinto from Sarti (Melbourne), Giovanni Pilu of Pilu at Freshwater (Sydney), Alessandro Pavoni of Jake Nicolson of Black Bird Bar & Grill (Brisbane) who are  all on board to tantalise the taste-buds of Lavazza’s VIP guests over Carnival.

Guests on Derby Day will be lucky to sample the beetroot- infused cavatelli with homemade quail sausage, parmesan fondue and pine nuts by Sarti’s Masciopinto, whilst on Cup day, guests will be delighted with Pilu’s decadent risotto featuring a specially created champagne foam, dried mullet roe bottarga and fennel puree, layered over a freshly shucked Sydney rock oyster. Also showcasing his modern techniques on Cup day, Pavoni will be serving a modern take on an Italian classic with an ‘egg yolk carbonara’ served with croutons, pecorino foam and crispy pancetta to satisfy hungry race-goers.


For those visiting on Oaks, Jake Nicolson will serve Lavazza guests a delectable Cumin roasted pulled lamb slider with smokey eggplant and pickled green tomatoes, whilst on Stakes, The Royal Brothers will be serving guests signature hamburgers along with Huxtable who are creating a delicious ‘Locale Espresso Foam Cup’. Huxtable’s scrumptious dessert will complement the new Locale brand, which was recently launched by Lavazza.

Naturally, like all good Italian gatherings, the hospitality extends to the beverage menu with a continuous flow of sparkling, red and white wine, special Lavazza coffee cocktail creations and Lavazza coffee. Patrons will be able to visit the Lavazza Coffee window for their caffeine hit.


Swisse are opting for a boat shed meets garden conservatory in their aptly named Swisse Garden. The marquee will feature white painted timber lined walls, a functioning herb farm, local Australian plants, timber floors, rustic black steel windows and a glass encased garden pergola that will form the centerpiece of the Swisse marquee for the 2014 Melbourne Cup Carnival.

The Swisse Garden will host 120 guests each day, and has been designed by Melbourne Designer and Artist, interior designer and former “The Block” contestant Matt Martino. Epicure has been appointed caterer and Swisse Ambassador and My Kitchen Rules judge Karen Martini has helped oversee the menu. “I think the menu is fresh, full of vitality and the first health focussed marquee menu I’ve ever seen,” said Ms. Martini.


The food is paleo-inspired and more than three quarters of all dishes are also gluten free. Most of the fresh produce is being sourced locally from across Victoria. Each dish will feature a key ingredient from a Swisse product such as beetroot, tomato, celery, lemon, blood orange and a variety of fruits. Some of the appetizing dishes served across the four days include Individual Tasmanian salmon, leek & black pepper frittata, a raw Blackberry & Lime ‘cheesecake’ and Rare Hopkins River Beef and asparagus roll.

Johnnie Walker

The luxurious House of Walker has a sought after location in the Birdcage that will feature a raised and outwardly facing balcony. The decor will feature the colours of the Johnnie Walker range with smooth silver and grey surfaces complemented by accents of gold and brass furnishings.
Johnnie Walker Brand Ambassador and Masterchef Australia alumni, Sean Baxter, has created a custom food and beverage menu alongside Epicure Catering that demonstrates new and exciting ways to pair whisky with food. Guests will be treated to the finest organic produce across the four race days in a menu that includes canapés, small entrée style dishes, sweet things and cheeses. Highlights include the Whisky Cured Tasmanian Salmon, and The Earl of Flemington cocktail made with Johnnie Walker Black Label.
A highlight of the food offering, the House of Walker will feature a theatrical and unique foodstation each day with artisans who will demonstrate food preparation techniques such as in-house smoking of meats and how to masterfully prepare raw seafoods and meats.

About The Author

Katherine Ng

Katherine is not your typical Beauty Editor. Finance consultant by day and beauty and fashion addict at all other times, Katherine spends her hard-earned money helping the Australian and international economy with her never ending pursuit of everything pretty. A keen traveller, Katherine still holds dear her Melbourne roots with an overflowing wardrobe filled with black clothes, shoes and handbags. Katherine also has a deep love of food and wine, and you can find those adventures on instagram at @thegreedykat Email: Twitter: @kath_couturing Instagram: @kath_ng

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