'Christmas in July' Lunch at

  Sing's Bala Da Dhaba Indian Restaurant   

1455 Malvern Rd, Glen Iris

11 July 2021

Review by Carmel O'Connor

The Contemporary Art Society’s Christmas in July lunch 2021 event was an absolute delight for all who attended.

The Melbourne winter Sunday was bright, sunny whilst cool. In contrast, on entry the Bala Da Dhaba restaurant’s exclusive CAS Booking established the setting for the elegant, dimly lit interior with spot lighting on the delicious entrée course of brightly coloured tantalising platters of very tender chicken tikka and vegetable pakoras; the best of Indian cuisine was the perfect stimulus for a good appetite.

The group of thirty guests included Melbourne avant-garde artists and their friends; socially distancing, mingled with a glass of sparkling wine and enjoyed each others’ company. The main course at the banquet table followed at 1.00pm, then the swapping of gifts as is the Christmas tradition.

The Society events in general have been hampered by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Unable to present this event in 2020 due to the severe Melbourne Lockdown restrictions of over one hundred days during last winter made the 2021 Christmas in July luncheon extra special. Planning of events is still an issue for the committee and members as we have learned to accept lockdown at short notice.

However, with unfailing enthusiasm of the CAS committee members to enhance the table decorations, they placed red and white name cards in the Christmas theme of red and white to match the cloth and napkins. The name tags enabled an orderly process for guests to manoeuvre from Buffet to Dining Table in a relaxed manner whilst carrying their choice of delicious laden plates with the Indian fare of Butter Chicken, Lamb Rogan Josh, Vegetable Korma, Saag Paneer, Naan, lentils and rice dishes, salad plus non-alcoholic beverages included.

It was wonderful to see this group of old and new friends enjoying this convivial atmosphere as Robert gave out the Kris Kringle gifts of various items including art materials, artist made cards, crockery, costume jewellery, a sun hat to name just a few items.

After lunch, a highlight performance by the famous Yarra Yarra New Orleans Band, Jazz Singer Antoinette de Morton, with three songs, a cappella: “I get the blues when it rains”, “My baby caught a train”, and “you always hurt the one you love”. Antoinette sings at The Clyde, Carlton with The New Orleans - Louisiana Shake Group each month. This lady jazz singer is the best!

The Contemporary Art Society of Victoria formed in 1938 has continued to grow, develop and strengthen. Inspired by the words of Leonardo de Vinci’s “Rules of Painting - An unconventional approach to modern art” by James Beck, published 1979, page 31, de Vinci recommends that it is advantageous for artists to get together at times because their art work improves.

Please visit the website to learn more about the society, exhibitions and members’ art works:


Above and below: guests mingling and enjoying entrées over drinks.



Two heads are better than one. CAS President and Treasurer enjoying CAS Christmas in July Lunch at Singh's Bala Da Dhaba Indian Restaurant, Glen Iris.


The banquet buffet table, made ready for the guests.


Guests enjoying the banquet buffet.


Happy guests enjoying lunch and conversations.

The Kris Kringle table.

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