Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Amante Dinner Garibaldi Bangsar Village Juy 7th 2011

NOTE - Garibaldi is no longer there and hasn't been for years. Apols for not updating earlier. Was a great place.

Our nearly legal society had a gathering for which only twelve of us had signed up. Not sure why the numbers were so low, but it made for a close convivial and hearty gathering. A Four course with coffee and two glasses of wine for RM150 was a great deal and we'd been wanting to try the Garibaldi for a while. Well, what a delightful evening. One of the members treated us to a very welcome glass of Roederer champagne, with beautiful bubbles, rich oatmeal biscuit on the nose and yeast on the tongue. A great reminder of how great champagne can taste. Following a charming Amuse Bouche of walnut on some kind of puree, the starter of Beef Carpaccio with Shaved Parmegiano and Rucola which was…. quite forgettable, actually. Maybe should have asked for pepper to spruce up the beef or more pungency in the cheese. But the Primi Fettucine with Spring Veg Ragout and Truffle Sauce was brilliant. And most generous with two clips of shaved truffle added to the dish! The accompanying wine was the Albizza Chardonnay Toscana 2009 from Frescobaldi. Lean, slightly oily and fairly unassuming on its own, it bloomed with fruit and flower on connecting with the Fettucine. All trace of oil disappeared leaving a clean fresh full bodied wine that stood up to the truffle and really brought out the freshness of the pasta. A real winner.

Next was a choice of King Prawn or Veal. Dearest went for Prawn while I did the Veal. We also swapped wine, she taking the remains of my white for the prawn and I nabbed her red for the Veal. The mushroom and truffle sauce was delightful, and paired with lean veal pan fried made for a rich mouthful of earthy textures. The paired Danzante Merlot 2009 was….. okay, I guess. Bit light for Merlot, lot of cherry for some reason. Certainly not a large wine, which was just as well as it would have killed the meat. But at RM40 a glass, I don't see me buying it off the menu.

Garibaldi's Apple Pie with Vanilla Gelato looked scrummy, but I passed. Way too much sugar and fat. Diabetes is a bastard. I love desserts. Just can't eat them any more.

One of the members had most generously brought two bottles of Frescobaldi Brunello di Montalcino 2004 and 2005 for a vertical taste for the assembled. Both were full and beautiful, though the leaner 2004 had the edge on structure while the 2005 had better fruit. But lovely wine. The Brunello has lovely texture, bit velvet and slightly lean, with cheek tickling blackcurrant and damson. Finish was crisp and sleek, with wild fruit on the nose. Wonderful treat.

Most of the conversation was about air travel and a scary story about one SQ118 that had to return to base after an engine caught fire. Other talk was on obedient wives club and the upcoming marches. Most would be staying at home. Us too. Got DVD in case they decide to shut down the TV. Damn stupid if they do, but international opinion doesn't always seem to rank high on the list of priorities here.

Given the present selection of bottles, the imposition of RM80 for corkage seemed a bit of a whack. Here, though, the staff said that Garibaldi was taking delivery of 300 cases of Italian best the following week so hopefully the choice and price will be fair and reasonable. Whilst the individual dishes on the menu looked a bit stiff, the degustation of six courses at RM150 looks worth a try. Like Arnie Schwarz, we'll be back.

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