Monday, October 18, 2010

'Simply Black' Saturdays

Firstly, I do apologise for the lack of blog entries lately. I have been busy with training my new Shetland Sheepdog puppy. However, I managed to find time last Saturday to check out the new 'Simply Black on Saturdays' at Les Amis. The first of its kind in Asia, Les Amis launched this blind tasting wine luncheon on 2nd October 2010. It will be a weekly affair with the menus and wines changing each time.

Why is it called Simply Black? Well, black is the standard colour for stemware being used for blind tasting purposes. In this way, you let your palette do the tasting without distraction from the sight. Les Amis upped the notch by using top-of-the-line Zwiesel 1872 crystal stemware. Zwiesel 1872 is the handmade range from Zwiesel Kristallglas, a German crystal stemware with over 130 years of history.

With 'Simply Black', there is now another good reason to dine at Les Amis. At $120++ for a 4-course set lunch paired with 4 glasses of wines, your bank account will definitely be in the black and not in the red. Every week, Les Amis Group's sommeliers will pick the wines according to the theme, which can range from grape varietals to vinous regions. After which Chef de Cuisine Armin Leitgeb will design a menu to pair with the wines. That means you can go there every Saturday and won't get bored with the food and wines.

For the lunch last Saturday, the theme was Spanish wines. I am so used to drinking the popular varietals such as Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, that the wines I tasted at Simply Black lunch was like a whole new world to me. I learnt about Godello, Propiedad, Crianza and Pedro Ximenez.

Amuse Bouche - Vietnamese Clam
On the left with ebiko and micro herbs, on the right with olive oil emulsion.

I love the sweetness of the clam. Simple and a good welcome change from the usual ham amuse bouche that I get at Les Amis.

First Course - Obsiblue Prawn "Mi Cuit"
Served with marinated saffron fennel, tomatoes and agrumes

"Mi cuit" means half cooked. For any seafood to be done this way, the ingredients must be really fresh to begin with. I could really taste the sweetness of the prawn. As for obsiblue prawn, it is an indigenous species of New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific. The obsiblue prawn has a blue shell with pale gray flesh.

Second Course - Roasted US Squab
Served with forest mushroom ragout and spring onions

Third Course - Char Grilled "Calotte de Boeuf"
Served with spinach, sweet corn and truffled mash potatoes

The beef was so tender and delicious. I can definitely eat a second serving of this dish. The mash potatoes were given a touch of luxe with black truffles.

Dessert - Chocolate, Figs and Portwine

Not the prettiest sight but it sure tasted yummy.

Of the wines I had, I really liked wine #2, which was Propiedad 2003 by Palacios Remondo. #1 Louro do Bolo Godello is alright but I prefer a sweeter and more floral type of white wine. #3 Pedrosa Crianza is also not too bad. However, I think my lack of familiarity with the taste somewhat didn't make this my favourite. As must as I like dessert wines, #4 El Candado Pedro Ximenez is way too sweet for my palette and liking.

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