Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Whisky Pairing

Felt like there’s no better place to have a whisky pairing dinner than AMI, the restaurant/lounge in The Landmark known for its vast whisky collection. We have been here a few times and love the cozy space and the outdoor terrace for a drink or two plus some simple bites, but it’s only our first time sitting down for a more proper meal inside their dining area right next to the lounge. 

We were here at the invitation of Moet Hennessy Diageo, which owns Mortlach, a 200-year-old distillery based in Dufftown in Speyside. So naturally we did have a few glass poured from their collection to go with the tasting menu prepared by the restaurant’s new chef de cuisine Lea. Dinner went off to an impressive start with a couple seafood dishes, including the tuna tartare with salmon roes served on a tuile, followed by the lightly blanched ama-ebi served with pickled pink radishes and parnsip on top. Both were light and refreshing. 

The scallop ceviche with lobster “royale” and Oscietra caviar was easily the best dish of the evening, with the unbeatable combination of cured and diced scallop and caviar served on top of a delicate crustacean custard underneath in a small bowl. Every spoonful was bombed with rich umami flavor and different layers of richness. 

I like the creativity of the next dish, with the soft silky tofu custard served with Jerusalem artichoke crisps and onion espuma on top plus added black truffles shaved on top in front of us. The earthy, mildly aromatic truffles worked well with the onion espuma with a hint of sweetness. 

I felt there was a clear hint of Asian cooking style in the next two seafood courses. The langoustine was wrapped in a fluffy crust that reminded me of a similar Chinese dish rolled with fried rice vermicelli crust, and the chili powder and mint mayo added to the exotic flavor. The turbot was done in a more traditional French style, but there’s a touch of gingery flavor in the tarragon and salmon roe “beurre blanc”, with the addition of some pickled ginger. Afterwards, it was our main course of venison. We totally missed the game season this year but this piece of venison loin was well-cooked, and the combination of the reduced jus with Mortlach whisky and beetroot on the side was an interesting one for that contrast of flavor. 

The dessert of blood orange mousse served with a blood orange-champagne syrup brought a festive touch, and so was our second dessert of a chocolate cake with morello cherry filling, done in a shape of a Christmas tree. That plus the Christmas-themed petit fours. A whisky cocktail was served followed by a flight of Mortlach whisky served neat. The “Garden of Dufftown” with Mortlach 12 y.o, clarified tomato juice and Mancino vermouth served on a highball glass on the rocks was refreshing, combining the sweet and smooth whisky with a touch of acidity from the clarified tomato juice. The difference between the 12 years and 16 years single malt was quite evident when tasted side by side. The 12 years was the entry level bottle kept in a combination of sherry and bourbon casks, and definitely on the smoother side with some light sweetness. Meanwhile, the 16 years was a step up, stored in 100% sherry cask with a slightly complex palate of caramel notes and marzipan. Most of the time I personally prefer something peaty but thought the Mortlach would make an easy drink to start any evening. 

When? December 4 2022
Where? Ami, Shop 302, Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road, Central
Menu Highlights? Scallop, Lobster “Royale”, Superior Oscietra Caviar
Garden of Dufftown: Mortlach 12 years old, clarified tomato juice, Mancino vermouth
Mortlach 12 years old Single Malt Scotch
Mortlach 16 years old Single Malt Scotch

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