Saturday, September 24, 2011

Marriage is crucial - Carmen Wine Dinner by Sinolink

Don’t get me wrong, I am relating this to food marriage with wine, in most of the times are more essential than the wine itself, especially here when I am referring to the wine dinner. Preparation before wine dinner is important.

Carmen is almost the daily drinking in my family, trying the reserve this time is pretty sensible thing to do, try scaling up. $400 for the menu below sounds totally worth it.

Given all the dishes are very adorable and indicating chef’s skilfulness, we should be delightful in the dinner, however that is not the desirable outcome.

Apperitif: Carmen Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2009
WSA Wine Challenge 2010: Bronze Medal
Clear palate, bright choice. Mum’s preference as she has been the super fan of sauvignon blanc for long.

Appertizer: Carmen Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2009
IWC 2011: Bronze Medal
Caviar, Scallop, Carpaccio with Avocado Paste

Caviar, scallop and avocado itself initiates the harmony within itself. The massive structure of avocado balances with the freshness of scallop. Hint of caviar is highlighting the spice of the dish. If that is the case, chardonnay should not be a light wine anymore, as avocado and caviar are strong enough to turn the wine to steel. This is the consequence of blindly following the rule of white light wine with seafood. Chardonnay is heavier than chardonnay and creates slight acidity to the dish. Failed.

Carmen Gran Reservca Merlot 2009
IWC 2011L Bronze Medal
Pan-fried Goose Liver with Honey Apple

Over-pan-fried fois gras (it’s more like deep-fry fois gras) would not create the melting texture when pairing with merlot. Merlot itself is of a 3-star quality, drinking it alone or with apple still taste mid-long length. Balanced tannin and truffle smell. Rate it 2nd best of the night. If fois gras is nicely done, it must be one of the best marriage for the night.

White Asparagus Cream Soup with Salmon Role

Soup is gorgeous, smooth cream with essence of asparagus. Salmon Role is the key, it serves both decoration and highlights to the dish. It also provides the elegance to the soup. Better serve hot. The only weird thought is that the waiters/ waitresses should not serve the red wine of main dish earlier, which have created confusion to customers that the wine goes with the soup (that happens).

Carmen Wine Makers Reserve Red 2007
Baked Lamb Chop with Garlic and Pestro
Grilled AUstalian M6 Sirloin Steak with mushroom sauce

My most impressive one is the Carmen Wine Makers Reserve Red 2007. The complicity of reserve red, licorice, cigar and slight red fruit flavour melt the lamb and beer further. This creates another tender texture and unique flavour to your mouth than its own. Don’t consider this can be done by mixing my lemon tea with my sandwich, which only creates the muddiness.

I have to say both lamb chop and sirloin steak are skilfully managed, especially on the % of readiness. It is always “unforgivable” whenever they ask well done or medium and the outcome never matches. Here, it is well controlled and of high quality meat. Only sad thing is the lamb chop came 20 mins later than the steak so we can’t enjoy the meal at the same time. (yes, absurd customer like me pinpoint on this as I want to share steak with my dad).

Carmen Gold Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Cheese Platter (Camembert, Blue Cheese, Garlic Cheese)
Pear soaked in merlot.
High quality of pear and berries, I assume baby pears and huge raspberries are of high cost than common desserts. Very thoughtful.

Cheese could be better in terms of marriage choice. Garlic cheese dominates the whole palate that red wine cannot be tasted well at the end.

Tea & Coffee

Arha, nobody emphasize on the coffee/ tea session, mostly because they are wasted (lol), while my family treasure the most as coffee is often the way to end a good meal. We were surprised by the steamed cream as no single restaurants in Hong Kong apart from those Michelin or starred hotels are willing to use cream, even steamed cream for coffee. It add a bit points to the dinner. Just be fair, that’s to the restaurant, not the wine dinner organizer.

I appreciate the effort of the chef than the wine dinner organizer. The organizer only has talked about the background of first wine and the mic was shut for the night. He even got drunk himself in the middle of it. If the pairing has been done better, I believe we will have consume some cases.

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