Friday, September 29, 2017

Wine Dinner Avant Premiere

Late last week I attended the preview dinner of the new collaboration project between Conrad Hong Kong and Burgundy wine powerhouse Maison Albert Bichot. One of the private rooms of the hotel's Chinese restaurant Golden Leaf was transformed into a wine-themed dining area, completed with tableware and stemware with engraved Golden Leaf and Albert Bichot logos. Special menu designed by Chef Wan will be served with wine pairing selected from Albert Bichot’s wide repertoire, from some harder-to-find village wines to ones from the premier cru and grand cru climats owned by the winery.

This evening we enjoyed this lovely 8-course dinner, with the company of Christophe Bichot, the 6th generation of the family who still owns and operates their namesake winery. We began with a couple seafood dishes, done in traditional Cantonese style but with two totally different style. The Hokkaido scallops were pan-seared to mi-cuit with garlic and served with sauteed green asparagus on the side. It was rich with a bit of wok hei from the pan-searing and the garlic bursting with flavor.

Second dish was a variation of the restaurant's signature Crab Claw, with the whole claw sauteed and served with the fluffy scrambled egg whites underneath. On top was thin shavings of black truffles. Chef took some idea from western cooking of garnishing with the seasonal black truffles which enhance the aroma and introduce some contrasting earthiness to the clean flavor of the scrambled egg whites and the meaty crab claw.

With the scallop a Chablis was poured to match, whilst for crab it's the Pommard from the 2013 vintage. Obviously one couldn't go wrong pairing seafood with Chablis with its big mineral palate, and I thought the Pommard with its subtle fruitiness and earthy characters worked well with the black truffles in the crab claw dish. Not the usual choice pairing seafood with red but I thought this worked well.

My favorite wine of the evening was the Chambolle-Musigny, which was served with the beef dish, also my favorite course. I love the wine for its elaborate nose of floral and berries and a balanced palate. The Kagoshima A5 Wagyu beef was cubed, marinated and stir-fried, with good meaty flavor and tender texture.

Everyone was stunned at the size of the abalones served, as each the size of my fist was brought to our table in individual portion. It was braised and served with the supreme abalone sauce made from the reduction of the braising liquid. I would prefer the abalone to have more of a bite – this one was slow-cooked to completely soft – but I did like the flavor well-infused into the meat, and matched well with the Gevrey-Chambertin right on its prime and ready to drink.

Dessert was probably my second favorite course of the whole menu. It’s a well-made coconut milk pudding layered with jelly made with blackcurrant juice and crème de cassis. It’s what Chef Wan came up combining the classic Cantonese sweet dimsum (as in the coconut milk pudding) with another Burgundy specialty (Crème de cassis) It was served with a glass of Crème de Cassis made by Bichot, served Kir Royale style. It has just the right sweetness and truly unique, and summed up this wine dinner menu well.

When? September 22 2017
Where? Golden Leaf, Conrad Hong Kong, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Wok-fried Kagoshima A5 Beef
Albert Bichot Cremant de Bougogne "Pure" Blanc de Blanc NV
2014 Albert Bichot Domaine Long-Depaquit Chablis Grand Cru Les Vaudesirs
2013 Albert Bichot Domaine du Pavillon Pommard Clos de Ursulines Monopole
2012 Albert Bichot Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Chaiots
2003 Albert Bichot Gevrey Chambertin AOC
Albert Bichot Creme de Cassis de Dijon

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