Wines pairing, cognac pairing, whisky pairing dinners.
I have tried them all, some on a weekly basis, especially so for wine pairing ones. Another common affair are Guinness pairing dinners, where the ubiquitous Guinness beef/lamb stew, Guinness ice cream has now become a commonplace.
Still, being a food connoisseur, I opined that every meal; simple or luxuriant, can be a journey of discovery. Top chefs spent their lifetime experimenting and studying how the match and combination of different ingredients and produce can come together to create that coveted “taste” that both please and excite our jaded human palate. And it is this ongoing affair that keeps dining exciting.
One of my recent culinary experiences was a beer infused and beer pairing dinner with authentic Italian cocktail food.
Now, to be honest, beer with food ain’t anything new. The proliferation of pubs cum restaurants around the city can attest to that.
But beers with Italian cocktails? That’s probably not something you’ll come across everyday. Neither is Tiger Crystal, the limited edition brew from Tiger which is back again for the 2nd consecutive year, in conjunction with the year-end festive season.
I have to admit that I have not heard of Tiger Crystal prior to this, since I’m not much of a beer drinker. Sipping it over dinner for the first time just last week, I can vouch that the name suited the lager perfectly; clean, crisp and clear taste and refreshingly smooth down the throat.
Our session that night gave us the opportunity to experience how Tiger Crystal blends with unique Italian cocktails; where some were prepared infused with the Tiger Crystal and others to be enjoyed simply sipped with the beer.
Coffin Bay oyster with poached quail egg and smoked caviar. RM10.
Fresh oysters are hard to disappoint, the key being that the oysters must be absolutely fresh of course. Oysters, however, can be oh-so boring after a while.
Kudos to the Chef for offering something out of the ordinary by dressing these plump, briny babies up with creamy, perfectly poached quail eggs and topping them with luxurious caviar.
Sea bream carpaccio with tomato tartare and Tiger Crystal reduction. RM5.
Beers are commonly paired with savoury, or more specifically salty food. Tartare or carpaccio (semi raw food) are certainly less familiar.
That was most likely the primary reason I thoroughly enjoyed this session. I didn’t have to chow down greasy salty pub food with a strong bitter beer. What I had that night was elegantly prepared dishes with a light, clean tasting lager.
Smoked lamb loin in parsley crust on braised capsicum (RM8), yellow tail king fish, seasoned with Tiger Crystal (RM6), Italian veal cheek braised with Tiger Crystal on sweet potato puree (RM8).
The infused beer in the yellow tail king fish tartare (the middle dish in the platter above) was prominent enough, especially in its bed of sweet melon and onions mix.
However, the best of the trio was uncontested that night. All votes went to the exquisite melt-in-mouth veal cheek, still gently enveloped with the mellow flavour of beer, sitting in a pool of moreish smooth, sweet potato puree.
Smoked lamb loin in parsley crust on braised capsicum. This was satisfying pink and I loved the parsley crust.
I had thought pasta would be boring, as most are served with the usual cream/olive oil sauce base. Thankfully the Spaghetti with asparagus fresh tomato and broad bean topped with “Robiola Ai Tre Latti” – (RM15) was anything but that.
I couldn’t put my finger on what sauce it was exactly, but it was good enough for me to finish the bowl though I was supposedly on a low-carb diet. #DietFail and I’m blaming it on the Chef!!
Oh, by the way, the little sheet topping the pasta is “Robiola Ai Tre Latti” a mold-ripened cow, sheep and goat milk cheese from the Langhe region in Italy. It was creamy and has wonderful lactic (milky) flavors.
Finally it was dessert time! It was a case of 2 extremes here, for the Layer of Coffee Flavored and White Truffle Flavored Pannacotta was divine yet the Warm Tiger Crystal Sabayon with Apple and Pecan Nut Crambles barely left an impression.
The winning layer was the top truffle pannacotta layer of course. It provided a lovely earthy aroma to an otherwise ordinary sweet dessert. The middle layer was studded with Chocolate chips and the bottom layer was Coffee infused Pannacotta. Dip you spoon in and scope everything out or savour it layer by layer, however you wish.
Kudos again to the Chef for a savoury & sweet combination dessert that shone!
Below: Addition to dinner – Garibaldi’s pizzas to help fill us up.
Tiger Crystal is also proud to present an incredibly exciting opportunity to win a experience to stay in a hotel made entirely out of ice and snow, the iconic ICEHOTEL in Sweden.
Each room is uniquely designed and the hotel offers amazing art, nature, accommodation and gastronomy experiences for the guests.
Via the “Refreshingly Different” Tiger Crystal Facebook photo contest! All aspiring winners need to do is upload a photo of their most refreshingly different Tiger Crystal moment.
The grand prize winner will walk away with a trip for two to the fascinating Sweden’s ICEHOTEL.
Contest begins from 10 November 2011 until 10 December 2011.
To find out more about Tiger Crystal and the “Refreshingly Different” Facebook photo contest, kindly log on to www.facebook.com/tigerbeer.
Garibaldi Italian Restaurant + Lounge
Lot10 & G22, Bangsar Village I
Jalan Telawi 1,
59100 Bangsar, KL.
For Reservations: +603 – 2282 3457.