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, November 21, 2017

Food Adventures January to July 2017 - April 2017

Prior to the two month sojourn around Wales, France and Sicily across August through to mid October, I had been a bit taken up with a project that took me away from the food and wine writing (and the songwriting and recording) but I then got a bit of a breather to try and reflect over where the Lengui and I had eaten over the previous couple of months (well, seven actually). So I figured rather than try to document them individually, better to just load them all into a single narrative and see how it looked. So this is a full-ish listing of where, when, and with whom we ate and drank over this period. Some are barely one liners, others have a bit more detail. Whatever, it made for a more than usually long read so it got broken down into months for ease of, er, digestion. Not sure if it will prove useful, but when taken in total it does represent quite a litany of gluttony. Phoooooooo....

April 1st Private Dinner at One World Hotel
This was a private room for about ten tables and pretty good vegetarian dishes. We were told by our host that it was to be followed with a talk by a Buddhist teacher so out of respect we didn't bring any wine. As it turned out we were sat on a table of serial boozers who equally didn't bring booze. I offered to go downstairs and grab a couple of whites and reds from the supermarket but was told no need. Next time I will listen to my better instincts. We drank (admittedly very good) Chinese tea all night and listened to about an hour of the Teaching before making excuses about it being way past bedtime. Which was true, but in reality we wanted to get away - these sessions can go on into the serious small hours and the devoted hang on to every word uttered by the guru while we less devoted choke back yawns out of politeness to the host. Whatever gets you through the night…

Sidethought - in gatherings of people of Chinese descent, I have observed that no one ever seems to want to make the first move to get up and go. I seem to recall reading once that the longer the evening goes on, the greater mark it is of the table enjoying itself which gives great "face" to the host or hostess. In contrast, leaving early is the reverse. It is also the case that when one gets up to go, then this can get interpreted as a signal for everyone else to also leave. So the result is that no one wants to be seen as the bad guy to get up and signal that the party is over when it might well be the fact that this is exactly what everyone wants to do! But trying to stay awake during a talk after an evening of sobriety - no. I'll listen to the podcast. We had some passengers to transport home so I got up at 11.45pm on the excuse of needing to get them to bed. Everyone said goodbye to us and then in total contrast to all of the above all sat back down to continue listening. I didn't get a podcast. 

April 3rd Banfi Wine Dinner at Stoked
Written up separately. The wine rep remembered me from a dinner he hosted when there was an Italian restaurant in Le Meridien. Wines were not spectacular then - same with now, though there was one that shone reasonably well. See separate post here>>>

April 4th Sapore with Amanti
This was our intro to Sapore and a belter it would prove to be. Lots of wine, fantastic food from Chef and a raucous night had by all. Magnificent Roast Pig, superb Rigatoni, and the Lardo on fresh baked olive bread was spectacular. The first of many visits. See separate post here>>>

April 5th Nadodi
This was a food tasting with the IWFS KL Committee to ascertain whether the place and the food were of sufficient standard to hold an event there. We bring our own wines and blag free corkage on the promise of bringing about 40 pax there. Committee was indeed sufficiently impressed to want to have an event. For some reason, it can't quite seem to get sorted...  See separate post here>>>

April 12th Sapore with Ho Chiak gang
For some reason, there was an invite to El Manica by the Porsche Club Malaysia and Lenglui and I got pressganged into joining the party. Not that it was a hardship. Well, not at first - seemed like the PCM had pretty much ordered the chef to empty the pantry given the amounts of food coming out. Way, way too much. But it was all darn good. Especially the T-Bone - oh, so good the meat. Give the Flint up the road a run for the money. Usual wines, lots of Italian - I finished off my stock of Ciu Ciu bought two years back from a friend of the Hustler (well, I thought I did - recent search on the shelves unearthed two more - can't seem to get shot of it...). Drinking well. Sucked down a few St Clairs and a magnificent bigass heavy thick bottled Chilean Cabernet whose name escapes at the moment. I have found that the bigger the bottle then the better the wine to be a general truism when it comes to both North and South American wines. This one was belter with the steak. 

April 14th Nam Lee Cheong
Not really a food report, just to include the NLC wine store on Jalan Bukit Bintang for old times sake. Used to be a regular at the monthly tastings, but I have sworn off them for a number of years now. I get very drunk, sing a few songs, buy wines which taste great at the time but not so later, and inflate my blood sugar and pressure as a total result. I prefer wine with food rather than getting chugged in such "tastings". And truth be told I don't really enjoy getting blitzed and shitfaced on wine; the hangovers are mental and the following day is wasted. At least with food you have something to soak up the booze. This one was a Montes tasting and some lovely wines were on show. Ended up buying a 2012 Montes M, their flagship Cabernet, on quite generous discount which I have drunk with pleasure on previous occasions. Chugged it recently with a home grilled US Ribeye, power and silk with a hint of green pepper and a wonderfully rich fulfilling finish. Very nice indeed. 

Nam Lee Cheong owner Tony Leong with Wine Girls
April 20th Soleil with IWFS
I have gotten into the habit of not taking notes at wine dinners of late. Partly is because for many places I have written on the food before and the wines and tastes all seem to roll into one set of standard adjectives and descriptors. The result feels that repetition seems to be creeping in. Also it does get in the way of enjoying the company and the booze due to frequent visits to the notepad. I originally thought this was one of them since I couldn't find a note anywhere. Then they showed up. Will look to write up soonest.

Short version is that Chef was well on form and the paired wines from magnum were well good. I have memories of remaining sat with Mossie and The Jag and scouring the bottles for the vinous remains of the day. Vaguely remember getting lucky. No prisoners taken. 

Small Appetiser - Snapper Carpaccio, Calamansi Sorbet
Tribaut Brut NV, Champagne
Irish Oyster and Duck Liver Snow - Brined Tomato Jelly, Avocado Foam, Cucumber Broth
Grand Bateau Blanc 2015, Bordeaux
Hors D'Oeuvre
Seafood Risotto - Grilled Fremantle Octopus, turkey Chorizo, Piquillo Pepper
Fibbiano Casalini Chianti Superiore 2013 Tuscany
Grilled Northsea Cod, Soft Sheel Crab Crumble, Miso Bearnaise, Green Pea Coulis
Veal Tenderloin, Roasted Sunchoke Puree, Baby Vegetables, Bali Long Pepper Sauce
La Fleur Du Bouard 2011 St Emilion
Fleur Cardinale 2011 St Emilion
Poached Peach, Vanilla Panna Cotta, Belini Sorbet, Raspberry- Tomato Coulis
Chateau D'Anna 2010 Sauteurnes

April 23rd G8 Lunch
This is one of Doc Wine's foodie groups that has been going for a number of years, all having met at a Wine and Spirit training course. The Doc's squeeze was cooking Nyonya and he roped me and Lenglui in to join the fun. Each G8 member brings a covered bottle and the assembled seek to ascertain on a blind tasting what it is. Some lovelies get brought by the members. I brought my remaining Weinbach Capuchin Pinot Gris brought back from the Alsace trip which was well received - lean, sweet and crisp with a chewy honey apple that has yet to finish - can still taste it now. Amazingly tasty food, full of spice fire and texture, and which showcased the thoughtfully selected wines to some excellent degrees. Spice and serious light to mid textured wines make for some wonderfully perfect matches. Brilliant, brilliant lunch and all the more so for being wonderfully convivial and vinously serious but not overly so. 
Egg and Prawn Salad with spicy Thousand Island style sauce 
Kangkung leaf - crisp and chewy
Brilliant Pineapple Salad with cucumber, nuts and spice
Wicked Chicken
Roll of Honour
April 27th Dewakan with Leeuwin Estate wines
Organised by Michelle from AsiaEuro wines to showcase the new vintage of this winery of legend. We got a heads up at a previous dinner and on arrival found ourselves on a table with IWFS chums. 

Located in Margaret River in WA, the Leeuwin Estate wines are praised high to the heavens by the Wine world and probably rightly so. The pretty and well laid out marketing card we got on the table listed all the big names and all the nice things they said. The Chardonnay has ranked in the high 90s by WS, Halliday and Vintage since the 2007 vintage. Indeed, I now recall a magnificent Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chard I had with Lenglui at a specially paired Gourmet Wine Dinner on board the Crystal Serenity. Can't remember the vintage, but the Cruise was May 2015 and moored off Monaco. The dinner was a bit ordinary but this was a standout wine. The winery is also to be lauded for commissioning art works to grace the annual labels (like Mouton Rothschild). Absolutely in full agreement. Which is why I was a bit miffed that this evening didn't quite cut it for me. Probably it was that the wines were all new vintages and all in clear need of bottle time before being paired with food. The early whites were racy, inside cheek rippers and not quite in balance on this palate. I found the first Sem/SB blend a bit on the sweetly light side and pretty non descript, though our table seemed to guzzle quite a lot of it. The Riesling felt it had some potential, and drew the accolades from the Kiwi, but the higher acidity seemed to need time to even out. The Chardonnay….  I didn't get it. Perhaps in need of a different location and a different dish.  And notwithstanding some lovely offers on the lovelies for the night, on this showing they were a bit of a long shot punt for me for adding to the wine cellar - I prefer a bit of lightness on the palate than these bold chest whackers seemed to be presenting. The Dewakan food was its usual stellar standard, though the wines looked like they had been shoehorned into the menu and didn't really pair well. I would have omitted the Cabernet and doubled the Chard with the Duck and put the Shiraz for the Quail. I might also have brought some earlier vintages to compare and contrast. But that's me. There you go.

2016 Siblings Semillon/Saugignon Blanc
Prawn Umai and Green Sambal
Art Series Riesling
Puding Jagung
Art Series Sauvignon Blanc
Slow Cooked Red Snapper
Art Series Chardonnay
Roast Duck Breast with "Blood " Sauce
Art Series Shiraz
Roast Quail with Century Egg Puree
Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon
Gula Melaka Marquise and Pulut Ice Cream


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