Friday, January 27, 2012

Frescobaldi Wine Pairing Dinner @ Villa Danieli, Sheraton KL

Mamma mia. What a combination! - Beautiful wine, food, venue and company :)....

Hi everyone... Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Just so you know - This is an invited review, ok? Please find my disclaimers as follows:
1) I've not been paid to write this, but neither have I paid a cent for my meal, and
2) I'll still be as objective as possible re. the food/wine.

I am (admittedly) very much a novice/ beginner when it comes to wine... so little did I know what a treat I was in for when I was invited for the Frescobaldi wine pairing dinner at Villa Danieli (Sheraton Imperial Hotel KL).

As I learned that night, Frescobaldi is a really established old world winery with a rich, long history - made by a noble Italian family, starting waaaaaaay back in the 1300's **, and sought after throughout, even by great artists such as Leonardo da Vinci***? WOW. Amazing.
(**1308, to be exact. That's more than 700 years of experience!)
(*** An interesting anecdote that night was on how artists used to trade their paintings for Frescobaldi's wines)
Just outside the beautiful Villa Danieli, next to the Sheraton pool....

I apologise in advance for the terrible photos of the food and wine coming up - the romantic lighting in Villa Danieli is very challenging when you have a point and shoot camera.
(Love the ambience in the restaurant though - cosy yet luxurious, with the rich colour palate, frescos and pillars evoking the feeling that you really are dining in a high class Italian villa)
Inside Villa Danieli....

- First Course: Sliced fresh tuna and scallops served with mix lettuce and lemon extra virgin olive oil...
Matched with a 2010 Albizzia Chardonnay Toscana
Beautiful slice of fish....

Delicious wine....

The fish and scallops were perfectly prepared - simple enough that you can enjoy the natural sweetness and flavours, complemented by the tart lemon dressing and sweet (fig?) compote.

As for the wine, it matched this dish very well - the flavours were interestingly subtle (as compared to the usual Chardonnays that I have tasted), complex, and relatively dry with hints of minerals.

- Second Course: Tuscany Seafood Soup with Crispy Bread...
Matched with a 2009 Pomino Bianco
Perfect rainy day comfort food....

This wonderful soup, bursting with savoury sweet seafood goodness went beautifully with the well balanced and refreshing wine which had a nice fragrance of fruit (peach?) without being overly sweet.

- Third Course: Home made "fagottini" (Italian dumpling?) with Artichoke and Ricotta Cheese in a walnut sauce...
Matched with a Remole Toscana 2010
Simple Italian food made well....

The taste of the artichokes was quite mild in the dumplings, with a nice creaminess from the cheese - I thought the Remole (a blend of cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese) would overpower it with its medium body, spicy notes and berry flavours, but it actually went pretty well together.
(If I had a choice, I would probably pair this wine with a nice tomato based pasta though - luv red wine with tomato based pasta)

- Fourth Course: Beef fillet medallions, duck liver with rucola, grilled mushroom and truffle sauce...
Matched with a Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG 2007
My steak....

Perfectly pink in the middle....

My favourite wine that night....

The main course for the night was this perfectly cooked steak topped with a mini slab of decadent, jiggly, melt in mouth foie gras. :D

Of course, the deep red wine went beautifully with it. This is one of the signature wines of Frescobaldi and I can see (or more like, taste) why - Full bodied with a long finish, slightly spicy with a robust fragrance of berries, it accentuated the taste of the steak very well.

- Fifth Course: Double chocolate mousse...
Dessert! :D....

I was stuffed by this point - still, I could not pass up on this creamy, chocolatey dessert :D

What a wonderful meal... :)

Not only was the food good and the wine really good,... we had the great company of the affable Erika Ribaldi (Regional Sales Manager for Frescobaldi), who entertained us with her life story and anecdotes, educated us with her deep knowledge and inspired us with her passion for wine.

Thank you to:
1) Erika Ribaldi for coming all the way to Malaysia to share her passion for wine with us,
2) Kurt and Evelyn from Sheraton and Chef Simone of Villa Danieli for the wonderful meal,
3) Michelle, and everyone from Sunrise Wines for the kind invitation, and
4) My fellow diners - thanks for the wonderful company!

BTW: If you want more details on these wines (and where to get them), you can contact Sunrise Wines & Spirits, at +6012-215 4811 (mobile) or +603-6272 8288 (fax).
(Also, here is the link to the Marchesi de' Frescobaldi website)

Contact details

Villa Danieli @ Sheraton Imperial Hotel, KL

129, Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur.

Telephone No.: 03-2717 9922
Opening Hours: 12noon till 2.30pm, 6.30pm till 10.30pm
(Closed on Sundays and public holidays)


- Chuck's Blog

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gong Xi Fa Cai

YAY! Ang pow time!....

Hi y'all.
Hope you are all having an awesome Water Dragon year so far....

Here's a small announcement:
Cute lil' doggie says:
"Please don't be angry with J the Chocoholic for no updates (again!) - she has been working very hard* and was comatose for most of the long weekend**, in between family commitments***."

* Worked till 11pm on Friday before the long weekend
** Dunno why but was very out of it, was feeling feverish and sluggish and slept almost the whole weekend away.
*** ARGH ARGH ARGH. Family gatherings. Fun yet, not fun. =_=

Harrrow. Look into my cute puppy dog eyes and follow my commands....

OK? :)

Hugs from a fatter, not fitter Chocoholic,

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

db Bistro Moderne @ Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Heartbreak is hard to swallow...

I LOVE watching Asian Food Channel aka. AFC (and also the some food related shows on TLC).

Not all the shows, mind you, but some of them do heavily influence my choice on whether to go out or stay in so that I can watch my favourite chefs do their thing on TV... :)

Other than the exciting competition style Iron Chef and Top Chef, I like anything hosted by Anthony Bourdain (So wonderfully sarcastic! And he loves pork!) and Daniel Boulud (So charming and seemingly down to earth)... so knowing that Monsieur Boulud had opened a branch of his signature db Bistro in nearby Singapore?

Well, you could definitely say that I was REALLY looking forward to going there:
(Yay! I get to "save" an airplane flight ticket to New York and spend more on food, right?)
The facade of the db Bistro...

Located in the high end Marina Bay Sands (next to the also famous Pizzeria Mozza by Chef Mario Batali), the ambience in db Bistro was nice - warm, vibrant, modern reds contrasting well against the traditional wood and leather finishings:
Nice environment and friendly service...

We were sharing, so we asked to have to burgers evenly divided. That day we sampled the Yankee burger (beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato and onion on a sesame button) (SGD 26++) and their signature Original db Burger (Sirloin burger filled with braised short ribs and foie gras on a parmesan bun) (SGD 38++):
To each his own (quarter)...

Each quarter looked promising - plump and juicy, nestled between fluffy buns:
My share...

There was also enough (though not a lot) of the famed foie gras filling in the middle of the db burger:
Oozing rich foie gras...

With much anticipation, I bit into the burger thinking "Finally! I get to try Daniel Boulud's famous burger! YAY!" and then...

Look, don't get me wrong: It wasn't bad lah. Both burger patties were tender and pretty tasty, just that it wasn't all that I thought it would be. I guess there is a danger in expecting too much? Since it did not completely knock my socks off, I found it underwhelming....
(Anyway, that aside, I think the high prices would have set similarly high expectations if I had walked in without knowing who Daniel Boulud is...)

The highlight of the meal for me was dessert - we shared the delicious French Toast with caramelized apples and fromage blanc (SGD 15++):
Simple but so delicious...

The french toast was fluffy yet crispy (yummy!) and went very well with the slightly tart apples and creamy cheese.

I really thank my dear, darling Sg friends for taking me there for lunch even when they knew the burgers were just ok, considering the hefty price tag....
(They said that the dinner menu there is a lot better. For lunch, they pretty much just serve the burgers, some salads and desserts... and despite having tried the burgers before, they knew how much I wanted to try it so took me there anyway...)

So, it's: Nice environment, famous chef's restaurant, famous burger BUT so expensive, and to be fair, although I found the food only ok, I only went there once so it could have been an "off" day - please take note of other reviews (mostly positive) or go there yourself to make up your mind....

Summary Information:
db Bistro Moderne @ Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Opening Hours: 11am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm
Phone: +65 6688 8528
Address: 10 Bayfront Avenue, #B1-48 The Shoppes, Marina Bay Sands
Map: (Below)



- Only Slightly Pretentious Food
- Hungry Go Where
- chamorro chica
- the Hungry Epicurean
- Sparkling or Still

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