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Mice Net : June 2009
melbourne cultural meetIngS if it’s culture you’re After, take to the yarra for the real deal. STOry By Graeme Kemlo A short row upstream of the convention precinct in a yarra ‘racing eight’ you would directly pass more than 2500 fourand-a-half to five-star hotel rooms and find yourself at the Arts Centre, cultural hub of Melbourne and also on offer for PCOs and corporate meetings planners looking for a different venue. Epicure Catering manages the numerous meetings spaces for 10 to 2600 underneath the gleaming white spire that has featured in many a Melbourne advertising blitz. Epicure’s event sales manager at the Arts Centre, Julie Hastings, says no room at the centre is the same as any other, so a range of unique experiences are on offer, from a boardroom for ten to cocktails for 2600 and a concert. But sometimes they turn the tables…”rather than sit in the audience as a typical delegate, we have arranged corporate dinners on stage at Hamer Hall, then conducted backstage tours – something quite different for guests,” Julie says. She said one recent trend she has noticed is that many meeting planners are holding off confirmation of events due to the global financial crisis. “As a result we are seeing a lot of short lead bookings – sometimes we get only 24 hours – but the flexibility of Epicure means that we have an extensive range of menus and can respond to short lead times and provide a range of events and venue options. “Our food philosophy is to use sustainable practices and local Victorian produce wherever possible.” Off-site dinners are an obvious target for Epicure and Julie says a popular option is the circular pillar-free AnZ Pavilion, which comfortably holds a dinner for 300 under a domed ceiling richly finished in gold leaf. Floor to ceiling glass and a private balcony offer magnificent views of the city skyline, gardens and Federation Square. Smaller dinners can be held in Amcor Lounge (60) or Commonwealth Bank Lounge (40) while the foyer areas are renowned for their iconic Australian artworks and ideal for cocktails and canapés. william Angliss 110 mice.net