SET THE SCENE
“Life is too short to be monochromatic,” says Tatlow, who relishes layering multiple prints when entertaining. “I like textural combinations, print-on-print, and blending linen and cotton.” McKinnon likes to ornament the table with multiple small-scale floral arrangements, as opposed to one large sculptural one, and petite candles to foster conversation.
“We were inspired by the earthy flavours of flora, vegetables that resemble flowers, and the shapes of petals,” says McKinnon, whose verdant menu includes a chilled broccoli and sunflower seed soup, stuffed zucchini flowers and a pavlova-like meringue crowned with edible flowers. “I couldn’t stop eating the baked cauliflower – Hetty can make vegetables sing,” adds Tatlow.
When it comes to a soundtrack, both women are drawn to jazz. “Classic artists like Chet Baker, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock and Astrud Gilberto,” says Tatlow. “Mellow beats which are conducive to guests chatting,” adds McKinnon, who cites Swedish-Argentinian folk singer José González.
Partygoers enjoyed a hibiscus-infused rosé, but McKinnon often enlists local sommelier Adrienne Voboril of Summit Street to create custom cocktails that mirror her motif. For a recent tomato-themed dinner, Voboril concocted an Endless Summer, a mixture of gin, fennel-infused vermouth, rhubarb puree and lemon juice. Tatlow, meanwhile, is partial to serving gin and tonics, preferably with Poor Toms or Archie Rose gins.