The gorgeous table sets the mood for the evening.
Mellow lights, white flowers, subdued conversation; as guests of the New Zealand Cloudy Bay wine pairing dinner mingle & sipped the famed Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.
All guests with a glass in hand.
The Hill at Damansara hosted the event, and the beautiful Cloudy Bay wines were paired with some exquisite specially crafted dishes by the chef that night.
One of our mains: Pan Fried Duck Breast With a Honey Mango Reduction.
Dinner commenced with the smooth, floral & elegant Sauvignon Blanc 2010. It was melodiously sweet. And so easy to drink. One may say this is a ladies’ drink, such was its pleasing delicateness. Perfect to set the tone for the evening ahead.
Our entrée was an Oyster Kaiseki in Half Shell. Bursting with the flavours of the sea, with absolutely top-notch freshness, the oyster was lightly dressed with a dash of Japanese soy sauce & a flurry of spring onions. Scoop the whole oyster into the mouth; & savour the delightful briny flavours. Follow up with a sip of Sauvignon Blanc; and be amazed with the sweet, savoury pairing of taste on your tongue.
I sipped into the mood of complacency, lured with good food & good wines. How could I not?
Here with Dex, owner of The Hill.
The next dish was intriguing, especially so when explained of how it’s paired with the Sauvignon Blanc.
Sake, Maguro & Aburo Pozu Sashimi With Garlic Shallot Dressing.
A trio of 3 very well prepared sashimi fish; to be savoured slice by slice in the order of fattiness. So we were advised to sample the Salmon first, followed by the Tuna and finish off with the Butterfish. Strictly in that order, mind you, and to take a sip of Cloudy Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc with each slice.
Each slice is supposed to bring out the flavours of the fish differently, and the flavours of each teamed with Sauvignon Blanc imparted subtle difference on the palate. The salmon, the least fattiest of all, took the stage 1st. I chewed slowly, and by God, the salmon was good. Then I sipped the wine & its flavours changed dimensions; fruity teaming with soft savoury fishy salmon. While its hard to imagine how it could have worked using words, somehow it did. The tuna was meaty, seared but pink in the middle. Again the Sauvignon Blanc imparted subtle flavours, and with the tuna, I experienced the crisp notes of the wine more, & the flavours seem sharper. Saving the best for last, the creamy Butterfish melted in my mouth & the Sauvignon Blanc became silky, soft & delicate, blanketing the smooth butterfish.
I was totally impressed at this stage, & was ready to declare Cloudy Bay my favourite white. And yes, so does half of the wine connoisseurs in the world. New Zealand’s Cloudy Bay, especially for their Sauvignon Blanc, has staked a solid reputation for being one of the best for white vinos.
Happy guests around the table..
Next was the best chicken dish I have ever tasted. The Chef had totally nailed the art of cooking chicken breast. What was served was an absolutely tender wonder of Chicken Breast Rolled With Spinach and Mushrooms, served with a Red Bell Pepper Puree; & where the sweet smoky puree ( I bet the bell peppers were grilled or roasted prior to being pureed) was just perfect to mop up with the cuts of chicken roulade. Unfortunately this marvellous dish was missing from our camera, no thanks to an untrained photographer for a food review. A food photographer would have never let a dish goes unphotographed.
Here glasses were switched & we welcomed the Cloudy Bay Chardonnay. 2007 to the table. An elegant light gold in colour, it was heady at the first whiff. Stronger on the palate as well, & earthy. Not as sweet as the Sauvignon Blanc, the Chardonnay worked better with meats, and the chicken was so good anyways so there was very little room for misses.
Just as I thought the dinner was proceeding excellently, the next course of Pan Fried Duck Breast With a Honey Mango Reduction failed to meet my expectations. Well, perhaps that was a bit harsh, after all the duck was beautifully pan-fried, it wasn’t too gamey, it was tender enough… but…just but ..the honey mango reduction was a tad too sweet for comfort.
But then the Cloudy Bay 2008 very good vintage Pinot Noir was poured, and sipped with each bites of the duck..and the game changed.
A dry rose, with a lovely burgundy hue.
As with red wines, it isn’t as light & floaty as how I like my whites, with more of the tannin & acidic taste meant for heavier flavour. But it’s duck meat, and the Pinot Noir did a good job of neutralising the overly honeyed reduction; leaving a more pleasant & manageable, sensible sweetness on the palate.
Dessert was Cream Cheese Cake On Flambe dark Cherries. Seriously, the night couldn’t get any better, even the dessert is alcoholic! And of course I polished off all the flambe-d cherries.
I could only hope the Chicken Breast Rolled With Spinach and Mushrooms, served with a Red Bell Pepper Puree is made permanent feature on the menu, but while it’s not, I could still console myself that the Cloudy Bay is definitely available any day at The Hill, Damansara.
23, Lorong Dungun,