Sunday, November 24, 2013

Polo in the City featuring Kirin Lounge and a zebra

A 'zebra' at Paspaley Polo in the City, 16 November 2013, Centennial Park, Sydney
I had to look three times. There was a zebra prancing around the middle of a polo field in Sydney's Centennial Park.

It seemed about the same size as the polo horses and galloped about the same way, but those black and white stripes were strikingly unmissable (it was actually a pony painted in stripes by The Classic Safari Company).

Kirin Lounge at Polo in the City
I was at the Paspaley Polo in the City event in Sydney - my very first polo match - thanks to the Kirin Lounge.

As part of this year's annual event, the cloud-threatened day in Sydney featured the Kirin Lounge - an area for the general public - in addition to corporate and VIP sponsor marquees; another step in making the sport of media tycoons more accessible and approachable.

While the day's weather forecast wreaked havoc with planned wardrobes, the dress style was a leisurely, understated, ultra-classy smart-casual with footwear appropriate for grass, and soggy grass at that.

Polo match in play
Admittedly, the game of polo takes a bit of getting one's head around, with horses thundering towards a small ball flying up and down the field, with mallets whacking it into the air - hopefully between two posts.

And like the races, there were inordinate amounts of time spent drinking, socialising and posing for photos, and somewhat less time spent on watching the game of men on horseback with white pants, helmets and long mallets.

Kirin Lounge
In its first year of event sponsorship, Kirin hosted the largest space, open to public admission with a popular cash bar and food by Fresh Catering.

A little classier than General Admission at the races, there were plenty of tables and chairs beneath large umbrellas, with the front row, prime viewing seats gone in a hurry and the umbrellas proving useful for both sun exposure and varying levels of rain.

Kirin Cider
The recently-launched range of Kirin Ciders was made available at the Kirin Lounge. The range of ciders is made under licence in Australia and exclusively available in Australia, going some way to demonstrate our market for cider.

Based on Fuji apples - one of my favourite varieties due to their crispness and tartness - there are four flavours of Kirin Cider: Fuji apple, Fuji apple and mikan mandarin, Fuji apple and ume Japanese apricot/ plum, and Fuji apple and ginger.

Kirin Cider range
(Image courtesy of Lion)
What I like most about the Kirin Cider range, aside from the gorgeous hand-illustrated label imagery, is that they are not overly sweet. The Fuji apple has a nice dry finish with a tart kick; while the Fuji apple and mikan has a citrus bitterness - in a good, not too artificial way.

The Fuji apple and ginger has quite a strong flavour of the spicy rhizome so it's closer to an alcoholic ginger beer than a fruity cider, while the Fuji apple and ume was my favourite with a well-rounded sweetness.

Quinoa salad by Fresh Catering at the Kirin Lounge
Food in the Kirin Lounge was done by specialty event caterers Fresh Catering, with great cold options like a hearty quinoa salad, brimming with colourful tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot, chickpeas and sauces of pesto and perhaps Greek yoghurt.

Antipasto platter by Fresh Catering at the Kirin Lounge
I was all over the antipasti plate before remembering to take a photo (cured meats have that effect on me).

With crackers and breadsticks packed separately, this generous and varied platter featured salami and prosciutto alongside roasted capsicum strips, marinated artichoke, mixed olives, cornichons, roasted almonds, a little tub of hummus and a handful of rocket leaves - perfect daytime grazing food, if you ask me.

Beef burger sliders by Fresh Catering at the Kirin Lounge
The pack of sliders was perfect for sharing, being four cute little buns sandwiching a particularly chunky beef pattie. The super coarse mince was a nice testural surprise within the slider, with melted cheese and pickles making it a very satisfying few mouthfuls.

Chroizo roll by Fresh Catering at the Kirin Lounge
The chorizo roll was undoubtedly my favourite of the lot, served on a white bread roll with rocket and aioli of sorts. The red-hued sausage was perfection; perhaps not the most graceful for eating but so tasty with spices and a great coarse texture but no kick of heat.

The first divot stomp
I'm sure all the ladies had Pretty Woman in mind when the first divot stomp was announced; a polo tradition where the audience are asked to help return clumps of the torn up turf to its rightful position.

There's a graceful art to it, especially in damp weather conditions, stilettos, and differentiating between what is turf and what isn't.

Women's dash 
With two polo matches on for the day, there was plenty of time for activities in between, including of course, a divot stomp or two.

Most amusing would have been the dash for prizes, on the polo field for both ladies and gentlemen. Best achieved bare foot, the dash was essentially a sprint on the grass field with sponsor prizes up for grabs for the speediest.

Women's dash  - go!
There was no mercy in the dash, and perhaps just the tiniest lack of grace, all building a case for bringing polo to the people - or at least the ladies who weren't wearing pantyhose.

Men's dash  - ready, set, go!
The men's dash was just as entertaining, with a few pairs of light-coloured pants ruined for the afternoon.

Men's dash

Guests at Paspaley Polo in the City
The day's intermittent rain didn't spoil too much: with my first day at the polo under my belt, being thoroughly introduced to the Kirin Cider range and a near zebra sighting, I'd call that a pretty decent chukka.

See more photos of Paspaley Polo in the City, Sydney, on 16 November 2013 on my Facebook page.

Food, booze and shoes attended Polo in the City as a guest of Kirin Cider and Lion.


Shanshan Lam said...

wow what an experience! i've never been to a polo before, it looks quite fun! it was also great to see you again at the picnic :)

chocolatesuze said...

hehe as soon as your wrote "what is turf and what isn't" i automatically said avoid the steeeeeaming divot haha <3 pretty woman!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe I'd totally do a triple take and probably rub my eyes if I saw a zebra on a polo field! :P

Tina said...

Hi Shan - Nice to see you too!

Hi suze - Yep, so many Pretty Woman references :)

Hi Lorraine - I had to, a few times!


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