In the kitchen, Robert Rae, assisted by (the longer standing member ) John Edwards no less, came up with comfort food to match a mixed barrel of wines. To start, canapes from John were a superior chicken liver pate on bread rounds, topped with, variously, quince paste, cornichons and olive halves; and a blend of blue vein cheese and mascarpone, also on rounds and similarly topped. The accompanying wine was a 1999 Tyrrells Stevens/ De Beyers blend of semillon, bottled under cork and showing variation, but with the best still lively and lemony, a Tyrrells straight Stevens from 1998, also under cork but generally a better wine; and the usual Lustau fino sherry for those who appreciate it.

The main course is best described as a southern French beef daube, with some good quality gravy beef slow cooked in wine, tomato, herbs and garlic and the added touch of cinnamon and orange zest, finished off with capers and olives for a Mediterranean feel. Lots of flavour, served on top of a potato and gruyere mash, although maybe a touch of verjuice or other acid may have lifted it. The wines were also French, a 2009 Les Courtilles Cotes du Rhone and a 2008 Cave de Claremont Crozes-Hermitage. Both from the Rhone, the younger was initially more attractive on both the nose and palate, but the Crozes-Hermitage showed its superior breeding after an initial stink vanished, and will undoubtedly improve with age.

The cheese fooled nearly everyone: a quite hard , sweet and nutty cows' milk cheese which most sourced in France but which turned out to be a 2-year old from Victoria, a personal discovery by Ross MacDonald in a large wheel, showing how good some of our local makers are becoming. A well dressed green leaf salad with pine nuts offered on the side accompanied it, along with a 2001 Seppelts Chalambar shiraz, reliably well made, rich but elegant; and a 1999 Alkoomi Frankland River cabernet, distinctive fruit on the nose and palate, but falling a bit short and probably slightly past its best.

Not so with a Lindemans 1980 Vintage port served with the coffee, sweet and luscious but with spirit to balance. The coffee itself was from Tanzania, with a good firm structure and lighter citrus notes on the finish