However, chef Greg Sproule, assisted by Nick Reynolds, rose to the occasion, as did our man of wine, A goodly crowd of about 48 members and guests were on hand, many of whom had not booked. Paul Ferman.

Greg started proceedings with a nicely moist chicken liver pate on thin toasts, topped with a dab of onion jam, and a tangy prawn ceviche served in part on pasta oricchiette (or ears) which were a bit stodgy for the topping, and in part on the same thin toasts. They were washed down with a variety of aperitifs, including the omnipresent Lustau amontillado sherry, a pleasant but not remarkable sparkling  from NZ and assorted whites, the 2002 Wine Society Tas Riesling among them, still showing well.

The main course featured some quality veal cutlets from Vic’s Meats, marinated in herbs (notably borage flowers), pepper, oil and plenty of garlic, seared on the hotplate and finished in the oven. After a bit of loaves and fishes division due to the increase in numbers, they came to the table pink and tender, some pinker than others as was to be expected, and topped with a flavoursome reduction with added pancetta for extra salt tang. Also on the plate was a whole whitlof poached in orange juice and chicken stock, with balancing bitter notes under a cheese-based coating, and sliced asparagus spears. Terrific meaty crust on the veal and the whole well balanced but with plenty of flavours. Contrasting flavours, too, in the accompanying wines, a 2011 Valpolicella from Italy and a 2001 Tatachilla Partners cabernet shiraz from McLaren Vale in good ol’ Oz. The Italian was light and simple, but with a savoury meatiness which went well with the food, better so in many minds that the Tatachilla, which was bigger but a bit hard and tired.

The cheese continued the Italian theme in spades, with the King, Reggiano Parmesan. In fine condition and about 2 years old, it had a wonderful hard but not too crumbly texture with all the nutty caramel flavour one expects from this cheese. It was quietly matched with some sliced pear and fuji fruit sprinkled with gem-like pomegranate seeds, and by a 2008 Salomon FinnissRiver cabernet, and  1998 Mildara Coonawarra cabernet. The Mildara was soft and dry, but with fruit dropping out and past its best, whilst the Salomon, from the Fleurieu Peninsular south of Adelaide, had big hot fruit but balanced by some smooth tannins and a lick of acid. Special mention should be made of the bread, Portuguese sourdough hand baked by Greg’s brother and delightfully fresh but not doughy and slightly crumbly in texture.

Coffee came to us from Mexico, a medium roast with good bitter characters on the palate but finishing short. An (allegedly) botrytis riesling from SA was a pleasant sweet accompaniment.

Thanks to our guests, especially the lady who contacted Steve Liebeskind to enquire about joining the Society and still came when informed of our male insecurities towards women.