A quartet of murals – by Lisa King, Minna Leunig, Prudence Caroline and Justine McAllister – add vibrancy to Pullman Melbourne on Swanston. To toast the occasion, the hotel’s Head Chef Ashlee Chapman has designed a one-time-only Gin High Tea menu inspired by the artworks. Each of the four courses have, in turn, inspired bespoke cocktails to be served at the tea. Chef Ashlee elaborates, “When creating this menu, I was inspired of course by the artwork itself from a visual perspective, but also from the feeling the artwork evoked.”
Freshly blooming columns “were inspired by the blossoms depicted in the works of the Dutch and Flemish Masters and combine elements of traditional floral motifs found in paintings similar to Jan van Huysum and Jan Davidsz de Heem. Taking a moment to pay homage to the history of the greats and the path it gave me to start painting,” says artist Lisa King. “The rich colour, movement and romance of this work are a feast for the eyes and have been painted to inspire a sense of pleasure, exuberance and exploration of the frivolity of the night amongst the neon of the city”.
Prudence Caroline was tasked with enlivening an al fresco wall on the Pullmans’ rooftop. She has splashed a striking check pattern, a giant love heart and scrawled words across the canvas which the artist describes as “above all, love and sparkles”. The piece is represented at the high tea by an entree of rock oysters with a variety of vividly coloured gin foams.
In keeping with Minna Leunig’s focus on the local landscape, she has splashed silhouettes of native flora and fauna – including red-tailed cockatoos and roos – at the hotel’s entrance laneway. Chef Ashlee notes that “Minna’s work had me draw from local Australian inspirations resulting in dishes that celebrate the freshest local ingredients such as bush tomato sausage rolls, lemon myrtle prawns and Tasmanian salmon.”
Justine McAllister put an Antipodean twist on a classic fox-hunting motif, painting galloping brumbies and Kelpies in a bushland setting. “Drawing inspiration from upholstery in [the hotel’s] club lounge, this is my Australian rendition of a vintage ‘Tally-ho design”. Chef Ashlee expands on the theme, “Justine’s equine-inspired mural made me think of American classics like Waldorf and smoked trout.”
The nearby Little Lon Distillery has crafted an exclusive cocktail to pair with each dish – many infused with tea. High tea guests will also gain rare access to the Pullman’s members-only Elevate Club lounge and its panoramic, 15th-floor, city views.
/ The Gin High Tea is on this Saturday 11th November at 12 noon. RSVP here.