Just so you know - This is an invited review, ok? Please find my disclaimers, as follows:
1) I have not been paid to write this, but neither have I paid a cent for my meal, and
2) I will still be as objective as possible re. the food/wine.
Istana Hotel is (probably) one of the oldest hotels in KL....
(Well, it's been there as far back as I can remember anyway)
I admit, I hadn't been there for ages - So, I was really looking forward to checking out the new-ish addition (Urban restaurant) during a wine pairing dinner by a very established Australian winery, Thomas K Hardy:
(5 generations of wine making experience! That's a lot...)
Despite the rather traditional sounding name and facade of Istana Hotel, Urban restaurant is modern, with a nice, warm ambience inside. It can either be more casual (sit at the bar) or more intimate/formal (sit at the tables in the main area or the private area behind):
Once we got settled in, we were shown a video of the inspiration behind the wines - Australian cricket great, Jason "Dizzy" Gillespie:
I am not a cricket fan, so I had no idea who this Jason "Dizzy" Gillespie is. According to fellow diners (and the people from Hardy's), he is a legendary cricket player that amazingly, not only bowled well, but broke a lot of batting records too.
(So, I guess that's like a record breaking football goalkeeper who also a really good striker?)
- 1st Course: Chilled Pea Valute with Bacon Foam Rock Oyster and Avocado Garlic Cream and Salmon Roe.
Matched with a 2010 Dizzy Vintage Reserve Chardonnay
Delicious - the oh so fresh oyster topped with just enough sauce/ seasoning to accentuate the natural sweetness, balanced with the creamy avocado and salty (pop pop popping) sweetness from the salmon roe. :D
This went really well with the Chardonnay, which was smooth, with a light sweetness of white fruits.
- 2nd Course: Seared Diver Scallop with Cauliflower puree, Australian Red Claw Salad, Apple Curry Mayo, Mixed Cress and Truffle dressing.
Matched with a 2009 Thomas K Hardy “Imprimatur” Chardonnay
The simple flavours of the fresh seafood, and variety of sweet and savoury accompaniments went very well with this stronger Chardonnay. I found it more robust than other Chardonnays I have tasted, with delicious citrus and oak tones.
(One of my favourite wines that night)
- 3rd Course: Farmed Quail with Crusted Almond, Ernest Soulard Foie Gras Escalopes, Caramelized Red Cherry and Seafood Ginger Sauce
Matched with a 2009 Dizzy 201 ‘Vintage Reserve’ Shiraz Cabernet
A hearty course, as the quail had a lovely, sweet yet crunchy coating, and an added decadence from the foie gras.
This needed a wine with character to pair it, and it came in the form of this delightful Shiraz blend which was not too spicy (balanced by the Cabernet perhaps?), slightly mineral-y, with mild tannins.
- 4th Course: grilled Australian grain-fed beef tenderloin, served with king mushroom, glazed turnip and marjoram with olive sauce
Matched with a 2008 Thomas K Hardy ‘Family Tradition’ cabernet sauvignon
Although there was nothing to fault with the beef, it was the perfectly cooked, smoky yet moist mushroom that stood out. :)
(Not much of a surprise, I guess? - I do love mushrooms after all)
The cabernet sauvignon was easy to drink; smooth, with rich berry undertones, balanced tannins and a long finish - a very good accompaniment to red meat.
- Fifth Course: Aussie Cheese Selection, Fig Compote, Honey, and Cranberries Chutney
Matched with a 2005 Dizzy 201 Commemorative Shiraz
I thought this was a safe selection of cheeses - nothing too dribbly or smelly. :)
(Which I appreciate, since I'm not that big on cheese as a dessert course** - much prefer it melted over toast, or on a pizza)
(** I is still very Cina sometimes? Lol)
This made the signature, limited edition wine stand out more, with its relatively spicy taste and nice oak undertone, long finish and heavier body.
(I generally don't like spicy wines, but found this delightful)
- Dessert: Lemon Tart with Yuzu Sorbet, Cinnamon Ice Cream, Sweet Basil Leather, Gin & Tonic Agar Agar and Rose Bud Syrup
Matched with a Geoff Hardy ‘Full Front’ Liqueur Frontignac
A refreshing way to end the night; the desserts were sour enough and creamy (loved the yuzu sorbet especially) and when chased with a sip of the rather strong sweet liqueur - perfect. :D
Overall, it was a lovely meal - not just the food, but having the opportunity to reacquiant myself with a long lost hotel, all accentuated by a great variety of wines :D...
Thank you to:
1) Thomas Keith Hardy and the rest of his team, for coming all the way to Malaysia to share his wonderful wines with us,
2) Mr Praba Menon and Patricia of Istana Hotel for the wonderful meal, and
3) Mr Felix Darrel, and everyone from JFS Boutique Spirits for the kind invitation.
BTW: If you want more details on these wines (and where to get them), you can contact JFS Boutique Spirits at +6017 678 2038, email email@example.com or check out their website - click here.
(Also, here is the link to the Dizzy Wine's website if you want more details about these wines)
- Mimi's Dining Room
- Chasing Food Dreams
TAGS: Food, Blog, Weblog, Malaysia, Restaurant Review, Thomas Hardy, Jason "Dizzy" Gillespie, Australia, Urban Restaurant, Istana Hotel, KL, Kuala Lumpur