Dinner this past Thursday, the 30th August 2012, was at Kashmir Indian, Malaysian, & Middle Eastern Restaurant for the Indian Event of l'Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs ("OMGD"), which I think of as the SWAT (Special Wines & Alcohol Team) unit of La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Bailliage de Manille.
|L-R: Sanju Gopaldas, J-Lab, Cutie Gopaldas, & Catha.|
|Alicia, Alex, & Cyrene during a rare pensive (read: hungry and thirsty) moment.|
|Arnie delivers the opening statements, and then discussed the Chaîne's history.|
2009 Le Clos du Caillou Les Quartz Côtes du Rhône - Actually, neither Catha nor I have ever been particularly fond of the wines of the Rhône region (save, in my case, for a handful such as those of Château de Beaucastel for Châteaneuf du Pape, Domaine J-L Chave for Côte Rôtie, etc.), but we both liked this one, as did the rest of our little group.
What struck me the most about this youngster were its poise and balance - no over-ripeness, over-bearing alcohol, over-sweetness of fruit here - everything seemed properly in place, well-rounded, nothing jutting out. Its ripe, smooth, precisely concentrated, nicely ripe, spicy red cherries, dark wild berries, slight pepper and dark mineralty, garrigue, suggestion of cedar and underlying worn leather, were harmoniously presented on a body halfway from medium to full. Very nice. I should get me some of this.
Most of us quickly finished our shares (Cutie, in the photo above, preferring her wine over Arnie's spiel), and regretted not having saved some for the mutton course. Cyrene and Catha, the only two who exercised restraint, got to have some with the mutton and they both said the pairing was spot on.
Arnie then turned over the floor to Sanju who explained that, for the night's menu, he had selected Punjabi dishes, particularly from the Sindh province, wherefrom most of the Philippine-Indian families have their roots. The dishes themselves were old, traditional ones, such as those his grandmother used to cook for his family. All courses came in dishes of three, three being, as Sanju informed us, an auspicious number in the Indian culture - a very nice touch indeed.
|The Menu, which included India's well-known Kingfisher Beer.|
|J-Lab then made additional remarks and wished everyone a good meal.|
|The 1st course.|
Unibroue La Fin du Monde - I've written so often about (and enjoyed so many bottles of) this deservedly famous, highly praised Belgian tripel style ale from Canada that I no longer need to repeat myself. Suffice it to state that its spicy fruitiness and lifting citrus notes made for an infinitely more entertaining pairing with the appetizers. That's one of the reasons I especially enjoy BYOB nights - one can experiment freely with pairing beverages. Not everything will be successful, but, in this case, it certainly was. Everyone I poured for enjoyed this and preferred it as a pairing beer (distributed locally by Jim's Global Beer Exchange)...
Cyrene really loved the Maharajah's Surprise (lamb testicles). We've suspected she likes her balls spicy ever since our recent riesling dinner at People's Palace - and now we know it to be true.
|J-Lab checking on his table.|
|The 2nd course.|
With this delightful trio, I opened a 2009 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Clos Mathis (from Jerome Philippon's Sommelier Selection). Excellent, its evident purity, neatness, marked focus and food friendly versatility made for a fine pairing.
|Helen & Arnie|
|The 3rd course.|
|The palate cleanser was a graceful Rose Syrup Sorbet.|
|The 4th course.|
Alex opened a 2009 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay for the seafood course, which was pleasant enough on its own, but seemed to lack the "oomph" for the complexly spiced dishes.
|The 5th course.|
Cutie was very vocal about liking a lot, for which I am most appreciative. I chose this wine as a pairing for the mutton course because of its spiciness and concentrated, somewhat dense, hefty fruit.
The Kabsa was particularly memorable because, not only was it the "cleanest" goat dish I have had locally, but also because it was so tender and melt-in-your-mouth moist and deeply flavored. The accompanying Biryani rice stuffing which absorbed the little goat's and its spices' flavors was simply to die for. Loved it.
|The final course.|
|Shortly thereafter, Sanju introduced...|
|...Kashmir's proprietresses who received a well-deserved, enthusiastic round of applause...|
|...from a most appreciative and sated crowd.|
Alex, however, was not yet done with the drinking. Taking on the aspect of Shiva (the Hindi god of destruction), he zeroed in on Sanju's bottle of...
Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky - I've heard of Amrut many times, but, until that night, had never had the opportunity to try it - I don't think anyone at the table, save for Sanju and Cutie, had either.
|Sanju, however, remedied that in a trice.|
I found it moderately peaty, smoky, and woody - not unlike the barely a handful of Islay single malts I've had in the past. It was nice enough and lent a comforting warmth to the all-too-familiar feeling of gastronomic over-indulgence. Tad, though already tipsy, refused to go home without finishing his share of it.
As for myself, feeling all the night's alcohol's effects (I had prudently brought a driver that night), and having a meeting the next morning as well, I resisted Alex's temptations for "just a cigar at Kipling's" (sure enough, I learned from Cyrene the next day that they wound up having more single malt thereat until 3am).
It was a memorable night indeed. Congratulations again to Sanju for such a fine, delicious, and educational dinner, one we all enjoyed immensely and would certainly not mind having a second crack at. Until the next!