Attending to an appetite at any one of Australia’s thoroughbred racecourses is not a difficult proposition, other than if making a decision is something you consider difficult. Choices abound, so if you head off for the track to take in a meeting and plan to take advantage of your bookmaker’s free bet promotions, we thought we would give you a little sampling of what you can expect along dining lines. In order that you not starve whilst reading about the lot, horse racing courses on-track for foodie wins on the big stages of Flemington, Caulfield and Randwick.
The Victoria Race Club Dining & Hospitality Guide lists no fewer than 25 spots where you can have a bite. They span the gamut, so we will mention just a few in order to whet your appetite. All the dining options are divided according to members of the club and non-members.
Additionally, each venue offers packages based on different events. An annual package will cover every meeting held at Flemington. Another focuses on the Melbourne Cup Carnival, and there are two more, the Racing Rewards Raceday and the Sofitel Girls’ Day Out.
If money is no object, look into booking a suite in the Hill Stand Corporate Suites. This is a private venue that offers trackside views and can accommodate different numbers of guests. In addition to other benefits, there is an option of either a cocktail or a buffet menu. There is an extensive menu of beverages available separately. A large suite will hold 18 to 24 people and the small suite is for groups of six to 10.
A bit down the scale in terms of price, The Terrace Restaurant is a tiered restaurant that provides a perfect view of the finishing post. On Melbourne Cup Day, you can have morning tea service. Afternoon tea is available on other. The food service is a three-course a’ la carte lunch served at your table. A well-rounded wine and beverage list will assure that you or your guests will not experience the threat of dehydration. Best of all, there is a bookmaker within the premises, so you might want to have a plunge with one or more of those free bets from bookies that you have been hoarding for a special occasion.
For the budget conscious, who want to take full advantage of the social aspects of a day at the races, The Precinct might possibly be the best choice. Dining here is from various vendors, with everything from takeaway to gourmet offerings and beverages offering a little bit of everything to be found at Flemington.
There are not quite as many dining venues at Caulfield as there are at Headquarters, but what they lack in quantity, them make up in quality.
The Promenade is a tiered restaurant where you can enjoy a gourmet lunch. Dining packages typically offer a main course selected from a menu with a set dessert offering that varies from meeting to meeting. A three-course offering is served on Caulfield Family Day and on the day of the Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes. Tables at this venue accommodate six guests, but fewer can be booked with the understanding that tables will be shared with other parties. Guests here will be treated to clear views of the winning post, the mounting yard and the home straight, so this is by far the most popular dining venue at Caulfield.
There are two dining choices named in honour of Australia’s most famous sprinter. The Black Caviar Restaurant (Gold) features the culinary masterpieces of Ian Curley of the celebrated European in the central business district. Fine gourmet dining with exceptional service is what to expect. The Black Caviar (Silver) features the same great food and service. Getting your own private table will require a booking for 10 guests. The main difference is that the location does not offer the uninterrupted track views available in the gold section.
For those interested in a less formal setting, the Bernborough Restaurant a carvery buffet, a full bar and grandstand seating. It is located on the Mezzanine Level of the Rupert Clarke Grandstand. Beverages of all types are available.
Located on the first level of the Royal Randwick Queen Elizabeth II Grandstand, the Grandview Restaurant serves a three-course alternate luncheon, beverages and great views of the track. All-inclusive packages assemble by the Australian Turf Club offer six dates from which to choose. Parking is included, as is access to private betting and bookmaking services.
A simpler option exists up on the third level of the grandstand in the Centennial Reserve. Packages here get you into the course, where a reserved seat in the grandstand and a table in the dining facility await. The food is a less formal, bistro style and there is also a cash bar.
The new grandstand at Randwick offers Private Suites with superb menu options, great views of the track, grandstand seating and more. A catered grazing luncheon will be brought to the suite and the price includes a five hour ATC beverage package.
A totally appreciable experience of a Deluxe Picnic Hamper might suit many preferences. This option includes some delectable treats, including king prawns, smoke lamb, a tempting char grilled vegetable antipasto and plenty more, including desserts. This is an ideal way to make it a day on the pristine Randwick lawns during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
These are simply a few of the options for dining at three of Australia’s premier racecourses. There are also hundreds of options located in the neighbourhoods just outside the tracks. For example, within easy walking distance of Flemington, The Quiet Man Irish Pub is a traditional Irish pub with surprisingly good food, a drink menu that only the Irish could concoct, and lively entertainment.
Australia’s other tracks, including Moonee Valley, Rosehill, Morphettville and others all around, all have plenty of options to explore, and if you play your free bet promotions right, you might just discover that your meal on race day is free, courtesy of your friendly online bookmaker.