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Kaminstube, Hotel Zur Tenne, Kitzbühel, Austria
The Kitzbühel Band's spirited rendition of Mozart's violin concertos added to the quaint romanticism of the evening as we feasted on spinach Käse, pumpkin ravioli in butter cheese sauce and a 2008 Grüner Veltliner ‘Das Beste' white wine by Weingut Malat Höhlgraben from Kremstal. Then came the Tafelspitz (prime boiled beef). Served with roasted potatoes, creamy spinach, apple horseradish and cheese sauce, it did gourmet justice to our palates. This was paired with the award-winning 2007 Erich Scheiblhofer ‘Legend' Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend from Burgenland.
The hotel's chocolate pastry specialities, apple strudels and Kaiserschmarrn (pancake slices with plum compote) melded perfectly with a 2006 Ewald Diem Blauberger Exklusiv from Niederösterreich.
Atelier, Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Munich, Germany
At this new and earthy-design five-star dining destination in vibrant Munich, fine vintages complemented exemplary cuisine. It all began with a fine 1999 Taittinger Rose Brut vintage champagne that added to the gourmet delights of spring leek, garden almonds and peacress prepared by chef Steffen Mezger.
Our sweet-and-sour cabbage in butter and Bavarian-style wheat beer matched perfectly with Baldauf Winery's 2008 Spätlese fine wine. Limited edition Bavarian-Franconian wine varietals kept pouring in as we savoured freshwater crayfish with tripes and white summer cabbage. The splendid companion was an Apriles 2009 vintage Trocken red wine from Castell's Schlossberg vineyards.
Stella, The Leela Kempinski, Mumbai, India
The opulent décor and kosher Italian fine dining at Stella won us over completely. Diffused glows and raw silk drapes wooed us to a Prosecco Colmei extra dry sparkling white wine, which was paired with a refreshing tuna tartare and fresh avocado with sweet-and-sour pumpkin, celery and balsamic vinegar.
The fine dining romance continued with pan-roasted sea bass, eggplant parmigiana and carrot mash. Complementing the Italian delicacies, perfected by chef Marco Priolo, were a Prosecco white wine sauce and a fruity Pinot Grigio Lis Neris from Friuli. The asparagus barley risotto with Taleggio cheese and roasted pine nuts harmonised with a fine Ceretto Barolo Zonchera red wine.
With Vivaldi's The Four Seasons summing up the sojourn for us, chef Priolo's unique yogurt-peach mousse, passion fruit meringue, pistachio sauce synergised with an Umberto Cesari Tauleto Sangiovese Rubicone from Emilia-Romagna.
|CHEERS TO LIFE: Stella at The Leela Kempinski, Mumbai, boasts a world-class wine cellar (Leela Kempinski)|
Tetsuya's Restaurant, Sydney, Australia
Paired with handpicked world wines, star chef Tetsuya Wakuda's signature nuggets were meticulously attuned to a leisurely 14-course menu that blended Japanese precision with French flair.
While we feasted on signature delights such as marinated crystal bay prawns with soy caramel and a fine 2006 Home Hill Tasmanian, Tetsuya's terrine of Queensland spanner crab with avocado came aptly paired with a white 2005 Pooles Rock Semillon. His award-winning confit of petuna Tasmanian ocean trout with konbu, apple, daikon and wasabi green salad was accompanied by a light 2006 Ocean Eight Pinot Noir from Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. Fine wines such as the South African 2007 Nederburg Winemaster's Sauvignon Blanc blend seamlessly with Tetsuya's fine dining magic.
Moo, Hotel Omm, Barcelona, Spain
A vintage 2000 Pere Ventura Cava champagne introduced us to a classy wine-tinged menu at this Michelin Star outlet.
Toasting a fine 2001 chardonnay from Rioja to a crisp amuse bouche of marble melons tossed with seaweed and grated manchego cheese topping, we relished red mullet with tomato confit and white pepper broth prepared by chef Felip Llufriu.
Our jamon Iberico (Iberian pork) in stewed fresh chestnuts and Jerusalem artichokes with white wine jus was a smashing encore to a choice 2006 red blend from the Uteil Requena wine region. Lamb with mint and vegetable couscous paired with a 2005 Capellania Marques de Murrieta was the coda to this pleasant course.
|SPANISH DELIGHT: Moo is a Michelin Star restaurant at Hotel Omm, Barcelona (BW Pic By Kishore Iyengar)|
The Cinnamon Club, London, UK
The elitist Cinnamon Club introduced us to Bombay spiced vegetables with cumin pao, which went perfectly with a 2003 vintage Pomerol Burgundy Pinot Noir. This was followed by grilled wild African prawn with tomato lemon sauce and coconut rice, and an award-winning 2001 Amisfield Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
While Norwegian king crab claw with coconut mace and cardamom washed delightfully with a vintage 2000 Robert Mondavi Oakville Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, we also toasted with a grand 1999 Gigi Rosso Barolo Arione from Piedmont, Italy to tandoori broccoli, baby cauliflower and paneer. The grand finale of smooth saffron-pistachio firni with pomegranate and strawberries was paired with a 1999 O'Reilly's Canungra valley tawny port.
Segreto, The Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE
Our soiree fizzed up with champagne as we relaxed at this exclusive Italian fine dining landmark amidst lagoons and palm rows. A splendid cod salad with mozzarella cheese got us warmed to a delectable pan-seared sea bass in garlic and roast onion polenta dressing. The wine? A classy 2005 Vignamaggio Chianti red.
With a 2007 Zonin Montepulciano D'Abruzzo red in tow, we relished a Mille-feuille with Portobello mushrooms and sage gnocchi. As Luciano Pavarotti's soulful renditions stirred up passions, we dug into roasted eggplant with zucchini pesto sauce and washed down with a 2007 Brancaia Super Tuscan red. Wonders such as amaretto cakes with coffee macaroons blended perfectly with a 2001 Ceretto Langhe Monsordo Rosso.
Beau Champ, Four Seasons, Anahita, Mauritius
Innovated by chef Julio O. Sanz Frappier, the signature fare included chickpeas and mint milkshake souffle for amuse bouche and an intriguing mushroom carpaccio red porto reduction. The delicacies were accompanied by a fine 2009 Iona Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa and a 2007 Rosemount Pinot Noir from Australia. To top it all, in sync with chef Julio's basil ravioli, tomato and creamy asparagus was a 2008 South African Glen Carlou chardonnay, while a fine 2007 Libera Bava Barbera D'Asti Rosso from Piedmont aptly complemented an innovative risotto venere, vegetable pearls and lime juice.
The authors are high-end luxury travel, lifestyle and hospitality writers, and wine-awareness consultants
(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 13-06-2011)