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.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Capel Vale Wine Dinner at D’Empire Restaurant - surprisingly okay...

October 10th 2019

Been a while since I posted - last one was in April  wow...   looking back, figure was a combination of factors revolving around getting depressed over massively intermittent Broadband access causing feelings of non productive uselessness. Could not get the head together to put finger to keyboard. Sometimes I think we men are much like dogs - only happy when we feel useful. Should me more like cats - wtf so long as there is food, milk and tickles...

Anyhow....   I must say I didn't really want to go to this one, but our friend said she had booked a table of ten and could we please help fill the gaps. How to say no?

Reason for the recalcitrance was two fold: first was that we had just landed the day before from a seven day tour around Croatia with a group of foodie friends and we expected to be a bit knackered from the flight; and second was that my memory of a previous Wine Dinner with Capel Vale wines from about fifteen years ago was that the wines were not particularly memorable. Though memorable enough for me to remember the evening...  And Margaret River is on the Bucket List for a visit and a roam around the vineyards sipping the Cabernets. Oh, and three and four fold was that previous food at the D’Empire had proven pleasant but not stunning and it was going to cost about RM300 for the experience. I seem to be getting to be a miserable grumpy old scrooge in my early dotage. Bah.

And Five fold was the screamingly slow traffic that needed forty minutes of negotiation to get to the Pavilion. It is really not pleasant trying to get into KL town of an evening. Most of the time the traffic moves very slowly and sometimes it is dead stop; digression to share a recent experience trying to get to the Hakka Restaurant - the Kia Peng Road was impenetrable and I had to drive up the wrong side and barge my way in. Not the normal way I like to drive but increasingly needs must in the city. You have to be very aggressive in KL these days. 

The Foie Gras and untouched salad
So... we got into D’Empire pretty much on the Eight O'Clock dot to find our table already seated and with glasses of something fizzy being poured. After the usual hellos and how were your holidays, we got stuck in. Seating was what I call Taliban style, with all the ladies at one end of the table and all the men at the other. Think the thinking is that all the men can talk among themselves. As can all the ladies. Seems to work, of a fashion. 

The fizz was a quite pleasant Prosecco, all flighty bubbles and lightly sweet apples and lemon both on the nose and on the tongue. Nice bead which held for quite long and a clean refreshing finish. Nice way to get things going.

The brilliantly seared Salmon
First thoughts - food was good, though steak was absolutely memorable, medium rare and all oozing juice and very good meat. Would happily go back for this. The Foie gras was full taste and excellent with the home baked bread, though I left the salad - never quite trust salad from anywhere; who has washed it and in what kind of water are my usual OCD issues. Is also my first usual suspect of bad belly, so I rarely take it (I also don't really like it, but there you go...). Soup was meaty and full and lush with a dab of cream but ultimately a bit ordinary (what can you do with pureed mushroom?). Salmon was a perfect pan fry and sear, all juicy flakes and perfect cook and the crunchy ratatouille made a useful plate partner. As said, the ribeye was excellent though I can't remember the added risotto and asparagus. Dessert looked pretty though I avoided, preferring to chug on the very drinkable Cabernet Sauvignon that our friend with the bottle seemed happy to pour for the table. 

The excellent Black Angus Ribeye
Winewise, the prosecco was eminently drinkable, the Riesling a bit industrial though with sufficient mouth grip and fruit to compensate, the Chardonnay a bit overoaked and woody, the Shiraz was perky and chewy and the Cabernet the star of the night - good silk in the mouth, full fruit and nicely balanced. Drinking nicely now but should have an extra couple of years in it. The Verdelho was tasty enough if you like dessert wines - they don't drive me though I will still drink them.

The staff seemed a fun bunch, with Chef de Cuisine Dallan Tan leading them all out to dance to the keyboard and singer that had been hired to entertain the assembled (about 25 in total). I was called upon to sing a couple of songs to close the evening and we all made our ways home. Despite my misgivings, I ended up enjoying the evening, with both wine and food surprising on the upside. And making new friends around the table is always fun. And finding old friends is also fun - discovered an IWFS Member Peter operates the wine distribution for the Capel Vale wines in KL. Sounds like I might be bending his ear to get some of the Cabs...  hopefully at a generous discount - we are IWFS after all  ;D

Chef Dallan Tan with new friends
The Pavilion is a bugger after 10pm because they shut down most of the escalators which makes it a double bugger to try and retrace to where you parked the car. As it was, the Lenglui displayed an unusual level of sensory awareness and figured out which lift to take to the parking level and where the car was parked. She never ceases to amaze...

Welcome Drink
Masottina Prosecco Extra Dry DOCG
First Course
Foie Gras De Canard, baby greens, caramelised grapes
Masottina Prosecco Extra Dry DOCG
Second Course
Wild Button Mushroom Soup
Capel Vale Mt Barker Riesling
Third Course
Norwegian Salmon, ratatouille, lemon cream sauce
Capel Vale Margaret River Chardonnay
Fourth Course
Australian Angus Black Ribeye Dry Aged 21 days
Red wine rosotto, sauteed button mushroom, aspaaragus
Capel Vale Mt Barker Shiraz
Capel Vale Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon
Fift Course
French Garnache with Truffle Chocolate, Vanilla Ice Cream
Roustabout Late Harvest Verdelho

1 comment:

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