Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hospice de Beaune Wine Dinner

A couple of weeks ago we were at the table for Hospice de Beaune wine dinner co-organized by Hip Cellar, owned by one of our friends EY. Other than the state-of-the-art wine storage facilities and event space at this industry building location in Tin Hau (I wasn't paid to say this, just to make it clear), under the same roof is Ta Pantry, a speakeasy/private kitchen by Chef Esther, where the wine dinner was held.

I have been to Ta Pantry a couple of times this year already (the thoughts after the first visit are here), and quite impressed with the innovative cooking style and its food, so I don't mind coming for a third time, especially the menu and the wines for the evening sound very enticing.

We arrived a little bit early in the evening to enjoy a glass of champagne and the marvelous harbor view at the library before moving to the dining room. The place has three long, interconnecting dining rooms each with different themes and tonight it's turned into one room with a super long table sitting 42 people. We sat in the front room with the direct view of the kitchen.

Chef Esther drew much of the inspiration from Asian cuisine and came up with unique dishes based on her own interpretation. Tonight's menu was no difference but it's specifically created to match the wines served. We started off with an easy-going, crisp white wine from AOC Saint-Romain for the first two courses plus the amuse bouche. I found the second course particularly delectable - crabmeat was wrapped with shiso leave and deep-fried in tempura batter, which was served on top of sweet potato dices and shellfish emulsion. It's light in texture, and rich in flavors. (The amuse bouche was a cold dish of clam and cucumber in salsa verde and the first course was green salad in black truffle vinaigrette - both were decent but nothing to write home about)

I quite enjoyed the third course of steamed morel mushroom tamago custard with Asian mushrooms. I saw a few people at the table scratching their heads wondering what tamago was and so we explained to them about this egg-based, chawanmushi-inspired course and how that was made. Eggs were beaten, mixed with mushroom-infused broth and steamed slowly in a short glass dish. It was then topped with mushroom foam, morel mushroom bits, rice krispies and chives as garnish. It's a little overcooked, but I do like the overall execution, especially the rice krispies on top which contrasted well with the soft and creamy egg custard. It's matched with a light red, a Beaune Premier Cru from the 2010 Vintage, but I would have been equally happy if I continued with the white wine served earlier for this dish.

The pasta course of the evening was spaghetti tossed in miso and prawn sauce, served with a tiger prawn and nori (dried seaweed) strips. The sauce was just spot-on with the right subtle flavor and the prawn was cooked just right as well. I also loved the matching wine of a Meursault, which has the right mineral hint to go well with the prawn, followed by the distinct buttery note which matches the sauce. A absolutely glorious wine with good complexity and long after taste.

The main course was probably the most conventional dish of the evening but my favorite. It's grilled Australian Wagyu beef served with its jus, legumes, potatoes and asparagus. The meat's tender and juicy, and everything else was just cooked right to reveal their own true tastes. The two wines served along with the main course were probably the stars of the evening - the Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru Cuvee Madeleine Collignon 2009 and a Corton Grand Cru Cuvee Charlotte Dumay 2005. I loved both, but reckon the Mazis-Chambertin, despite being the younger of the two, was more ready to drink at this time than the Corton, which probably need a few more years to soften up. 

I have heard of the Hospice de Beaune and its famous annual wine auction before, but we learned so much more tonight of its history and what it is about, especially from the winemaker Monsieur Roland Masse who sat right next to us. We finished our evening with him leading (and teaching) us to raise our hands and sing joyously at the table, a traditional ritual of any Burgundian winemaker gathering. Yeah, it's that kind of a cheerful (and tipsy) evening.

More pictures on flickr:

When? October 24 2013
Where? Ta Pantry at Hip Cellars, 5th Floor, Block C, Sea View Estate, 8 Watson Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Menu highlights? Grilled M6 Wagyu Beef served with rich beef jus and legumes
Champagne Pol Roger Brut NV
Domaine des Hospice de Beaune Saint Romain Cuvee Joseph Menault 2011
Domaine des Hospice de Beaune Beaune 1er Cru Cuvee Dames Hospitalieres 2010
Domaine des Hospice de Beaune Meursault-Chames 1er Cru Cuvee De Bahezre de Lanlay 2010
Domaine des Hospice de Beaune Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru Cuvee Madeleine Collignon 2009
Domaine des Hospice de Beaune Corton Grand Cru Cuvee Charlotte Dumay 2005
Hospice de Beaune -
Hip Cellar -


Peech said...

OH NO!!!! You did the "la la la la, la la la la laaaa…"

Who made each of the wines? Usually the winner of the barrels would ask different domaines to take care of aging and bottling… Am especially curious about the Mazis

gary s said...

I think the bottles we had that night came from their own cellar.