Monday, November 15, 2010

De Bortoli Gulf Station Wine Pairing Dinner @ twentyone, Changkat BB, KL

Moldy grapes = bliss?? ...

ANOTHER invited review?? I know it seems like a lot lately - I promise that I'm not "selling out" or anything like that :)
(Sorry - In this case, I'd never been for a wine pairing dinner before so I just couldn't resist....)

Anyway, here are my usual disclaimers:
1) I have not been paid to write this, but neither have I paid a cent for my meal,
2) I will still be as objective as possible re. the food/ restaurant, and
3) If I go back to the restaurant incognito and find that the food/service is horribly different from this experience, I will amend my ratings here...

Ok? Set! :)
Wine after wine (glass)...

I never imagined that twentyone kitchen+bar in Changkat Bukit Bintang would be a place to go for a wine pairing dinner.

Sure, it's famous enough (a mainstead on that popular but ever changing street even)... but all this time, my impression was that it was more of a bar/ club than anything else:
Just outside twentyone...

The wine pairing dinner was actually an outcome of their cooperation with the gorgeous people at Albert Wines, where they painstakingly paired a selection from the De Bortoli Gulf Station range (from the Yarra Valley region in Australia) with the chef's creations:
(Or was it the other way around?)
Modern but classy dining section downstairs...

- We started off the night with a dose of Silverfish:
(A mix of Gordons' gin, vanilla syrup, lemon juice, grapefruit juice and Windy Peak sparkling brut)
Fizzy cocktail...

Bubbly, fruity and just a tad too sweet, but overall it was nice way to start the night. :D
(I don't know why they would name it after a yucky book worm though. Lol)

- First course:
Air dried beef, tomato bruschetta with truffle hollandaise
(Paired with the Gulf Station Sauvignon Blanc)
Carbs are so yummy...

Simple, but there was nothing I didn't like about the combination of the salty beef slices, tart tomatoes and earthy truffle sauce atop the crusty bread...

All this was complemented by the light Sauv Blanc with its crisp and slightly acidic taste:
(I wish I could better describe it but I'm not an expert on wine.. I did like it though, even if I'm more of a red wine person)
The Sauv Blanc...

- Second course:
Blue cheese risotto with celery, walnuts and parmesan wafer
(Paired with the Gulf Station Chardonnay)
Nasi Italiano...

Initially, I was kinda afraid of this course, as blue cheese can be overpowering.

Thankfully, the chef had balanced the ingredients very well - the taste of the cheese was evident but delicate, with the celery and walnut adding a crisp and light texture to what is usually a heavy dish.

Again, the wine had been matched well, with the slight citrus-y undertones of the chardonnay going well with the risotto:

- Third course:
Pan fried black cod with caramelised foie gras, soy, enoki jelly and dashi broth
(Paired with the Gulf Station pinot noir)
Delicious fish dish...

Overall, the mix of flavours and textures was really nice (rich foie and umami-ness of the sauce against the tender fish)....

Some may say that the foie gras had been mercilessly overcooked (it was firm instead of the usual melt in your mouth consistency) but I think this works well for those who may usually find foie gras too rich, as you still get the flavour without the potential jelak-ness.

Interestingly, they had paired a red wine with the fish. :)
... and I may be biased (as I LOVE pinot noirs in general) but the beautiful purplish, medium bodied pinot noir matched fairly well with the fish:
Beautiful! Look at that glistening purplish hue...

- Fourth course:
Smoked lamb rack with celery root puree and apple mint foam
(Paired with the Gulf Station Shiraz Viognier)
Pretty substantial lamb course...

Overall, a good effort - the lamb was fairly tender and tasty. LOVED the super smooth celery root puree.

The wine? It was heavier than the pinot and much more complex, balancing well with the lamb:
(Sorry if the descriptions are too simple - Told you already. I am not a wine expert)
Deeper, darker wine...

- Last but not least, DESSERT:
Dark chocolate parfait with mascarpone cream and dark chocolate curd
(Paired with the Noble One Botrytis Semillon)
Cold, creamy, crispy, chocolatey = divine...

(And not just because it's chocolate.... :P)

Tasting the Noble One wine though, at first I thought, "Eeyer. So sweet!"
(Note: I don't like sweet/ dessert wines)

Cautiously, I took another sip and was surprised - somehow it tasted better! Fast forward another few sips, I was totally sold on its complex and lingering bouquet of flavours that reminded me of fruits and sunshine and honey and happiness:

Who ever would have thought that rotting, mold infested grapes could produce such a glorious palate pleasing flavour?

(Interesting fact: Botrytis is a kind of fungus, romantically referred to as the Noble Rot in the wine industry. Read more on Wikipedia, I shan't go into detail here...)

If you hadn't already guessed, by the end of the night I was pretty much completely DRUNK:

What a night!

Not only was the food and wines delicious, but there was the added bonus of the charming Jonathan (from Albert Wines) imparting some interesting facts on wines in general and specifics on the ones we tried that night.

Here's the (sort of) bad news though: This wine pairing menu was a one night only special.

However, you can pre-book something similar (food only, no wine) with the restaurant if you have 6 people and above, for a reasonable price of RM 108++ per person.
(Don't raise your eyebrows at me - its 5 courses leh... and in a nice restaurant too! So, 108++ is considered reasonable lah)

Thank you to:
- the beautiful nomadGourmand for referring me (You rock!),
- Janet (and everyone else from twentyone) for making every calorie worth it, and
- Jonathan (and Winnie and everyone) from Albert Wines for making it even better!

If you want more details on Albert Wines (they export, wholesale and retail a wide range of spirit and alcohol brands), do check out their official website: Click here.

Summary Information:
twentyone kitchen+bar @ Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL

Opening Hours: 12noon - late
Phone: +603-2142 0021
Address: 20-1, Changkat Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Map: (Below)
Website: Click here



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  1. 108++ sounds alright for a 5 course..cant expect anything less can you nowadays? but no melt in your mouth foie gras? hmmm.

  2. yeah sounds like a respectable price!

  3. Yay! So happy u enjoyed yrself!
    Not bad, so much wine & they served foie gras! Whee!

  4. second course blue cheeze and wine haa.. tempting tempting

  5. ooh, pan-fried cod with foie gras. that's actually not a very common pairing. i don't think i've had it before. sounds yummy! :D
    and apologies for the stereotyping, but it's refreshing to hear a gal talk about how she enjoys red wine. most of my female friends are strictly loyal to white. i like both, but there's nothing quite like a complex red to really satisfy, heheh. i love pinot noirs too; we can go share a bottle someday! :D
    nasi italiano. heheheheh...

  6. Thank you for your deliciously, down-to-earth- no-nonsense report about the wine dinner. It was a real pleasure actually sharing wine info with people who actually care about it.

  7. to "joe" who is constantly craving:
    Well, it's quite ingenious if it was on purpose - can have the taste of foie gras without the jelakness. :)

    to Ciki:
    Yup yup. :)
    Espescially since it's in that prime area of KL.

    to thenomadGourmand:
    I really really REALLY enjoyed myself. :)
    (Thanks so much, babe! *hugs*)

    to taufulou:
    Go and try it lah! - its such a yummy combination....

    to Sean:
    Cool, right? :) Turns out the chef there is pretty innovative.
    (I tot the risotto with blue cheese + celery + walnuts was pretty unusual too...)

    Share some pinot noir? Anytime! ;)
    (Yay! I broke a stereotype today! So

    to Wine Zen:
    I was worried that you would find my review a tad too simplistic! :)
    (There are only so many ways I know how to describe a wine, no matter how much I like it...)

    ... and btw, the pleasure was mine, Wine Sifu - Your passion for vino is infectious.
    (The Force is strong with you! :P)

  8. Nasi Italiano. Tee hee. That the farnie. :D

  9. To life for beginners:
    I try! :) But still kenot compare to witty mr FBB.

    To a lil fat monkey:
    Maybe I was just a biiiiiiit tipsy :) :)
    (haha. If I insist that I was completely sober then that would definitely be a complete lie! :p)

  10. Hi J. Did you get my message to your BB? Would love for you to continue your wine education with the event on Monday 21st March, 2011.

  11. To wine zen: Erm. No I didn't because I don't have a BB leh. What event is this?

  12. To wine zen: Have dropped u an email. Hope we can sort this out.

  13. Oh Dear! I must have sent that to another J. See that's why profile photos are so important. It's a Chinoz on the Park at 7pm Monday night 21st March 2011. I know, last minute due to BB mishap. The dinner will be paired almost entirely with Rosé wine and it will be conducted by the winery owner himself who has flown all the way from France to do this. If you have my e-mail, just send me a quick note to let me know if you are available.

  14. To the wine zen: Ah well I realise that would be easier but a profile picture here would work against the anonymity that I treasure dearly. :) Anyway, yeah. May not be able
    to make it down to KL at that time. Let me check something n I'll drop u an email first thing tomorrow morning. Thanks.

  15. to Wine Zen:
    Done! Already emailed you (Rsvp = yes). Do tell me if you don't receive it or if it's too late to slot me in. Thanks. :)


Appreciate your thoughts, opinions and feedback. :)