The Vampire Stories at Slide

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Dinner and blood-thirsty vampires would ordinarily sound like a frightening mix, literally and metaphorically, but when the cuisine is a five-course degustation menu concocted by celebrated chef Marc Kuzma, and the vampire contingency is a five-part performance by professional singers and acrobats, the result is both tasteful and fantastic.

Slide in Sydney is a venue that defies everything otherwise Oxford Street. Here you won’t find a strictly gay audience, but instead a healthy blend of patrons who enjoy impressive entertainment, fine cuisine and a good cocktail or quality drop of wine. Here you won’t see walls faded by smoke machines and furnishings tattered from abuse, but rather a pristine interior with sophisticated decor. And here you won’t hear cheesy house tunes, but a nice blend of ambient tunes pre-dinner, intelligent soundtrack throughout your meal, and a decent dose of dance if want to kick on afterwards.

Your host chaperones you to a table tressled in black and topped with a glove of fresh garlic (to keep the evil away no doubt), and aside from the wonderful costuming and minimalist noiresque settings onstage, this is as aesthetically themed as the night goes. After all, you don’t want one of those dinner-and-show affairs where tacky decoration takes over the more important criteria of good food and skilful performance.

The show starts with a Black Widow played by drag perfectionist Claire de Lune following a funeral party to the coffin of her recently departed. Except that with one more bout of lust, the ex-lover comes to life to tend to unfinished business with not only his widow but a previous bride and other characters.

Each scene precedes a coinciding dish, so for example after the audience is introduced to the Black Widow, we are served an entree of a ‘Black Widow Spider’. It’s definitely more delicious than it sounds and looks like a true work of art on a plate: tempura soft shell crab with pumpkin arancini glazed with a teriyaki web. A souffle is served next of “three cheeses as light as Dracula’s touch”, followed by the ‘RIP’, a roasted quail and chicken galantine that melts in the mouth with every bite. This is washed down with an ‘Alchemy-tine’ of Red Bull sorbet, vodka and Jagermesiter, and the dinner is rounded out with a dessert that looks like a small brain surrounded by blood, but is actually tiramisu in a white chocolate crust doused with a splash of raspberry jus.

The great thing about dinners and shows at Slide, is that its organiser, Marc Kuzma, never lets the razzle dazzle get in the way of fine dining. A professional chef who once had his own television cooking show as Claire de Lune, Kuzma uses the finest in-season ingredients and turns them into true works of art. How he manages to overlook kitchen duties and put on a damn fine show as the torchsong-bearing main protragonist in ‘The Vampire Stories’ is anyone’s guess.

Other highlights of the show include performances by renowned magician with a palindrome for a name, Adam Mada (how does he levitate that table?) and a couple of female trapeze artists who wouldn’t seem out of place in a Cirque du Soleil production.

All up, ‘The Vampire Stories’ is a must-see on the Sydney social calendar. Bite into something delicious and delightful.

‘The Vampire Stories’ is on each Thursday from 7pm at Slide, 41 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. Season ends soon with lthe ast three shows on September 2nd, 23rd and 30th. Cost of dinner and show is $80. Enquiries on (02) 8915 1899 or through Ticketek at www.ticketek.com.