Punctuality. That is something I try to practice and something I don’t like when people don’t. Especially when it is they who asked me out. However, I’ve learnt that in my line of work, timing isn’t something I can control easily. When Ling invited me for a wine dinner at O Gourmet recently, I was 45 minutes late. Dinner started at 7pm.
Not because I was deliberate, but because I was assigned to work until 7.30pm that day. That said, I didn’t get away unpunished. I sat right in front of the long table with Sebastian (O Gourmet’s wine sommelier) and missed two courses. The guests were halfway through the dancing fish when I arrived, so I got to eat the bones, literally.
After 15 minutes, I caught up to momentum and was soon enjoying myself. Sitting in front turned out to be a good thing. I got first dibs on the wine and refills. The Dancing Fish was paired with the Stanley Estate Pinot Gris. To be honest, I liked the wine on its own. It was medium-bodied with a clean finish. This to me is a kickback and relax kind of wine. The tangy asam gravy didn’t do the wine justice, and vice versa.
The Udang Sambal with Shinas Estate Innocent Viognier pairing was better, because this wine had a bolder mouthfeel and a slightly spicy finish. The fiery sambal goreng sauce gave the succulent prawns a slow but strong kick. By now, I began to realize the big difference when dining with food bloggers and dining with regular people.
Food bloggers are so used to taking 5-10 minutes photographing each dish, that by the time they eat, the food is cold. With regular people (like the crowd that night), they NEVER leave the food waiting for more than 1 minute. That was the amount of time I had to snap pictures of each dish.
For a French man, Sebastian has an appreciative palate for Asian-style duck. He really enjoyed the Bebek Goreng Bali (crispy duck), which he likened was a better version of the French duck confit. rife and I both disagreed. Anyway, the duck was paired with the Shinas Estate Guilty Shiraz.
“This wine has quite a bit of legs”, I remarked to Sebastian. See, a good friend taught me about wines…and about how the more legs a wine has, the higher the alcohol content. I liked this wine. And I liked Sebastian’s choice of dish for this. Full-bodied and peppery with a good nose, it accentuated the flavour of the duck. I didn’t care much for the belimbing (starfruit) ikan masin though.
If there was one dish that made me swoon, it was the Buntut Belado (charcoal barbecued oxtail). Paired with the Shinas Estate Verdict Cabernet Sauvignon, this was heart-stopping delicious. Fatty and meltingly tender, I relished every bite. A pity there was only one piece per person.
This time, the wine took a backseat and allowed the oxtail to shine. But it was good wine — a beautiful deep red with a voluptuous, fruity flavour. I got a couple of refills because I was sitting next to the sommelier. *grins*
Dessert wasn’t part of the menu, but the guests were greedy. We got some Blue Stilton and Camembert from the cheese room, and some lemongrass jelly with asam balls courtesy of Dancing Fish. The lemongrass jelly didn’t go with any of the wines (unplanned by the sommelier) but the cheeses were lovely. The Guilty Shiraz went well with this.
To cap off the dinner, we all opened a bottle of Gewurztraminer which tasted really good. Such a beautiful dessert wine, but a bit pricey. One of the guests that night picked up the tab for this bottle. Thanks for the treat!
Now…anyone wants to get me a bottle?