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.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Spanish Rioja Wine Dinner at Ribs Damansara

12th June 2014

Got in a bit late to this one so only snaffled a swift glass of the welcome Monopole Viura 2011 as we made the rounds to friends assembled. Can't remember much about the wine. Pleasant, but not much in character terms. Also missed the Trio of Canapes, though a quick bite of the Jamon on the rock melon felt a bit thin in salty texture on the tongue. The melon also felt a bit thin in taste terms. Our locally grown Rock Melons from the supermarket don't quite have the sweetness of the overseas. I am indeed getting picky. Which is part of the reason I blog - picky keeps these places honest, no? Only if they read it…  which is perhaps why I didn't take many notes or photos for this one. Getting a bit despondent, plus the fact that there seem to be so many wine dinners at the moment that it seems a bit overkill. No point to write if the mood is not there - not fair to the reader or the restaurant. So treat this one as more a record than a report, eh?

Whole Grilled Squid - belter
Some of the Porkies had booked independently and were all looking forward to sampling Ribs' best. Which came in quick order in the form of a charming Whole Grilled Squid in Chimichurri sauce. Having the whole squid was a new experience and a tasty one at that. The contrasts in texture between body and tentacles was clear, and the grilling lent some char which offset the slight rubbery feel of the squid very nicely. The texture was excellent, not chewy as I usually find this sea mollusc to be. It was so refreshing not to have to work hard at eating squid. Chewy and chili but not overpoweringly so. Didn't know the Ribs could do seafood. Good start.

Wine Man Mr Bruno entertaining
It got paired with the Vina Real Barrel Fermented Viura 2011, which I can't remember a great deal about. Bit more of a full body than the starter, got half a memory of a nutty taste to it not unlike a fino sherry. But it all got finished so it couldn't have been bad. As they say, life's too short to drink bad wine. All got polished off on our table. But then it probably would - we seemed to have aggregated as a gathering of guzzlers. Birds of a feather, eh?

Winemaker for the CVNE range Mr Bruno got up to share some stories for a while and explain the wine and its history. Probably also to help let the kitchen get the next dish ready. I didn't take notes, but he was entertaining.

Next out were the Grilled Chorizo and Pork Skewers which were hot and spicy and very filling. Sadly the Capsicum did its repeating work very quickly and left me tasting the thing all night and the day after. Don't understand it - it is the only food ingredient that does this to me. And I'm pretty careful not to touch it. But even if it slightly taints the meat, I get hit. Notwithstanding, the pork and chorizo were excellent and paired with the Cvne Reserve 2009 of which I have no memory whatsoever. Perhaps a bit on the thin side for fruit. But better don't trust memory when the capsicum is working its dark gastric magic. Bad form me.

Baked Basil Iberico Ribs - bone sucking good
The Baked Basil Iberico Pork Ribs was the star of the night. Served with balsamic glazed walnuts and grilled pumpkin, they were simple, tasty and wonderful. Paired with two wines, the Contino Reserve 2006 and the Imperial Reserve 2007 which had substantially more body and taste than the preceding wines. More belt was clearly needed for the more robust food and these delivered. There was a great silky feel to the Imperial over the Contino - a velvet touch that oozed that bit of class. Close the eyes and you'd be transported to some palace on the Spanish Main surrounded by noblemen all cursing in fluent Espanol. Especially after the showing of the National Team in the World Cup. Damn sad. Maybe the new King will restore a bit of morale and direction. Hope so. I like the Iberian people. Know how to enjoy themselves. 

Someone stole my dessert as I was guzzling the remains of the wines being poured out. David paid for dinner. 

A most pleasant evening at the Ribs. They do their pork there very nicely. Well worth the admission price.

As postcript, happened to walk past the Vintry outlet in Ampang at about 8pm one Friday. We were on the way to perform at La Risata with our Six2Eight accapella group for a new friend who wanted us to help him propose to his girlfriend. It was looking decidedly sad - one couple there with a bottle and bordering on the dingy. Neighbour La Maison French restaurant was closed and didn't look like it would be reopening any time soon. Not looking good, though La Risata was full and buzzing. Good food too. In contrast, the La Risata just up from the Ribs in Damansara looks like it is struggling. Maybe they should just straight swap premises and expand?

Ribs by Vintry
Address: 120-122, Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur
Phone: +(603) 2096 1645


Trio of Canapes
Tortilla Wedges, Duo of Cherry Tomatoes and San Simon cheese, Rock Melon wrapped with Jamon Slices
Monopole Viura 2011

Whole Grilled Squid
Served with a piquant chimichurri sauce
Vina Real Barrel Fermented Viura 2011

Grilled Chorizo and Pork Skewers
Served with capsicums and aubergines
Cvne Reserve 2009

Bakde Basil Iberico Pork Ribs
Served with balsamic glazed walnuts, grilled pumpkin, rocket and water chestnut salad
Contino Reserve 2006
Imperial Reserve 2007

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