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.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Food Adventures January to July 2017 - June 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....

June 8th Topshelf Tasca wine dinner 
Went with the Princess and the Texan, got sat near the door so a bit warm but could hear the conversation as compared to the echo machine that I remembered from previously getting sat further inside. Squid Ink cracker felt a bit dusty, though the Tomato and Octopus Salad that followed was fresh and the crisp little sweeties got nicely spritzed up with the vinaigrette. The tomatoes were some of the best I have tasted in a long time - that wonderful slightly sharp explosive bite you get when they are just off the plant and your cheeks get sprayed and splotched with the freshest sweet juice on the planet. I had the beef cheek which was delightfully rich and bistro whilst Lenglui chose the somewhat dry and slightly stinky duck. The duck felt just a shade too long on the kitchen table and the purines had started to ferment, or whatever it is that they do - had that slight stinky "ducky" scent and taste. I know this because we swapped - Lenglui does not do ducky duck. 

The wines were Sicilian and robust though not really sticking in the memory. Fair with the food, but didn't quite seem worth the asking prices. None of us bought. 

Somehow not as good as previous visits. An indescribable something has slipped. Can't put a finger on it. Maybe was the staff - felt a bit not confident in wine pourings and dish placements. And the ducky duck was a bit of a slip. Odd.
Amuse - Squid Ink Cracker with smoked Garlic Aioli
Tasca d'Almerita Regaleail Bianoc
Tomato and Octopus Salad - Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes, Grilled Octopus, Micro Herbs and Lime Vinaigrette
Tasca d"Almerita Regaleali Nero d'Avola
Braised Angus Beef Cheek in Red Wine, Charred Endive, Potato Purre
Roasted Duck Breast, Beetroot, REd Wine Jus
Tasca d'Almerita Lamuri
Tasca d'Almerita Cygnus
Lemon Parfait with Pistachio Basil Crumb and Caramelised Granola

June 11th St Regis Astor 1
This was a birthday for one of Lenglui's in laws celebrating a joint birthday with the spouse. Needed to get there a bit early to test out the sound system - Lenglui would be doing her "My Way" and for some reason I was to do "Green Green Grass Of Home" - the theme was golden tunes for golden years and this was as near that the old fart rocker in me could think of doing. Brian is not a ballad singer - he is Rock and Blues. Yes. Excellent state of the art PA system installed in the room, which was all in white with chandeliers and panelling - actually very tasteful. Our soundcheck done, we started off with some excellent vintage Moet being paired with some amazing nuts and later moved on to a tasty Chilean White and old favourite the Le Volte Italian red (3rd wine of the super Tuscan Ornellaia house). The food presentations were very tasteful, and the food equally so. Whether they matched the expectation of the large packet this repast must have cost I cannot say - never trust a white boy's views about high end non Western cuisine. But most of the Chinese attendees seemed to enjoy well enough, though none I spoke to raved about the food. But they didn't denigrate it either, so we take that as a sign of approval - when there is no whingeing about the food, then it is pretty good. 

The evening ended up as a big party with those wanting to have a sing being invited to do so. Lenglui is good at getting people to sing and dance and with me getting the party underway with the Karaoke and getting completely raucous, everyone ended the night on a high. I am cursed with a weakness for a microphone and some backing music. Also did a jam with a Penang Guitar group with some Chinese songs - my party pieces. And the Birthday girl (at age 80 plus) was able to sing a couple of songs with her mates which went down a storm. Lovely couple and very happy to have been a part of the night. Not sure I could go back under my own tab though - not in this lifetime. 
Deep Fried Shrimp Paste Boneless Chicken
Dried Shrimp Radish Cake
Fresh Fruit Salad
Soup - Braised Bird's Nest Soup, Shredded Chicken, Bamboo Pith
Braised 6-Head Abalone with Blossom Mushroom and Vegetables
Combo of Stir-Fried Prawns with Golden Garlic and Stir Fried Kailan
Chicken Ginger Soup Mee Sua
Fragrant Red Date Tea, Snow Fungus and "Tang Yuen"

June 12th Somewhere with Birthday group
No memory, notes or photos of food or venue - total blank. Might have been Marco Polo. 

The tasty chest whacking Gavilan
June 14th Spanish Wine Vina Pedrosa dinner at Stoked
Enjoyed this one. Tasty food, tasty wines, great company. Particular shout out for adding the honeycomb to the Iberico Collar - sweet and spicy and lovely piece of meat - home run with this one. Matching a prune with the beef was also cute - a sweet hit to the firmish meat. Not sure about dessert, but the table oo-ed and ah-ed so I guess it was well received. Bought six of the cheaper Gavilan Crianza - the others felt in need of bottle time and were more austere than the fruity and juicier sibling. The Gavilan also has enough oomph to whack the chest and make you feel more of a bullfighter than, er, you might otherwise ever want to experience. 
Trio of Canapes
Raventos I Blanc de Blanc 2014
Duo of Tuna - Akami & Nouten, Radish, Ponzu Sauce
Vina Pedrosa Cepa Gavilan Crianza
Iberico Collar - Hungary Honey Comb, Button Mushroom, Lettuce
Vina Pedrosa Crianza
Beef Tajine - Prune, Tomato, Roasted Green Capsicum
Vina Pedrosa La Navila 2009
Vina Pedrosa La Navila 2012
Chocolate Version of Yeung Ji Gum Lo
Pomelo, Praline & Vanilla Ice Cream
Coffee Tea Petits Fours

Canapes Trio
Duo of Tuna
Iberico Collar and honeycomb - wicked good
Beef Tajine and Prune - well tasty
June 21st IWFS at Dewakan
Our IWFS for June 2017 was at Dewakan. Madness traffic thanks to being in the middle of Puasa month made me miss a turn with the result that the four in my car were a bit frazzled on arrival at the restaurant. Perhaps it was this that made me pretty much forget the whole meal. I remember the Cremant being wonderful, and the Duck being its usual magnificent self. But the rest of the dishes and wines are lost in mist. Traffic will do that to you. I remember talking to Chef Darren who seemed to suggest that Dewakan might be on the move to premises closer to the city. Which would make me a lot happier and more able to introduce the place to friends. I might also remember my next time there with a little more clarity. 
Aperitif - Cremant, Extra Brut, Albert Mann, Alsace 2014
Viré-Clessé, Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon, Macon 2013 
Marcel Chapoutier, St Deschant Blanc, Saint Josephs, Rhone 2009
BIDOR DUCK BREAST WITH BLOOD SAUCESmoked Pike Conger, Custard, Fermented Long 
Bouchard Pere et Fils, Clos de la Mousse, Beaune 2005 
Chateau Bellefont-Belcier, Grand Cru classe, St Emilion 2005  

June 23rd Sapore with Texas
Reserved a table with the gang for Texas to check whether Sapore would be a candidate for an upcoming birthday dinner. Had the usual cold cuts with lardo on bread followed by pasta, pig and steak. Finished off about eight bottles between the ten of us. Yes. 

June 27th Soo Kee with House of Pork
Ten of us parked around a table crowded with glasses and plates and dishes that all came at about the same time. Can't remember what we ate, but there was pig and Soon Hock fish in there somewhere. The signature Prawn and fried Taufoo and meat in their thick goo with steamed rice is as near to simple perfection as you can get. I remember pulling someone about the need to say "Please" when requesting a dish to be passed to her; the phrase "Eh, that one you pass to me ah," might be acceptable in Jinjang but not in company of the House of Pork. Ah.

June 28th Robson Heights Guys Night
Bit subdued with only six guys, but superb Pai Kuat ribs and Tilapia Steamed Fish got the evening moving. Six bottles finished, some Oyster Bay whites and some various reds. Soul food. 

June 30th Sapore with Rubber Baron
This was just the four of us with the Baron come to sample the Lardo, the Roast Pig and the Steak. Which we did in the company of his magnificent 2000 Bordeaux paired against my 2007 Armand Rousseau - the last of the legendary Vinum Malaysia sale. The pig was its usual magnificent self, as was the lardo on Chef's oven baked bread, and the steak we had was stellar. Service was straightforward even though the place was quite full - Sapore seems to have made it in spades in its short time of existence. It is an easy place to relax into - not too many frills, quite homely with a few wall paintings for effect and soft lights. Haven't seen the Baron as relaxed as he was that night  - good food and wine will do that to you. 

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