Italthai Wine Dinner at the Sheraton

Friday, 28 October 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 43 By  Dr. Iain Corness

Wine dinners at the Sheraton Pattaya Resort are not frequent affairs, but after experiencing the Italthai Wine Dinner at the Sheraton last week, I just hope they will make these a more regular item.  It is not often that I will ensure I have, before leaving, spoken directly to the chef to congratulate him, but Executive Chef Spencer Kells produced such a sensational dinner menu, it was completely necessary.

The first course was entitled “Almost Raw” and consisted of small cubes of tuna tartar with a Bloody Mary Granita spooned over the top.  Refreshing, spicy and superb flavors, and I have experienced nothing like it before.  I remarked to one diner at our table, “I am afraid to go to the next course, nothing could be this good again!”

Anuchit Saeng-on and MD Michael Delargy raise their glasses to a good evening had by all.Anuchit Saeng-on and MD Michael Delargy raise their glasses to a good evening had by all.

The wine chosen for this course (and the following one) was the Sauvignon Blanc, Cellar selection, Sileni Estate, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2009.  This was a pleasant drop, without trying to emulate the effect from the Bloody Mary Granita.

The second course of pan-fried scallops topped with truffle cream and quail eggs on a sweet corn puree was another mouth-watering original from chef Spencer, and we were all waiting to see what would come next!

Pim Seaton and Som Corness enjoy the evening.Pim Seaton and Som Corness enjoy the evening.

Entitled “Lightly Cooked” this was a fricassee of Boston lobster with a potato gnocchi and curried walnuts.  This dish was also superb, but revolved around the taste sensation of the curried walnuts.  I wanted more!  This course was taken with the Australian Cranswick Estate Chardonnay, 2008.  Again an eminently quaffable wine, which went well with the crustacean.

Tony Malhotra toasts with Anuchit Saeng-onTony Malhotra toasts with Anuchit Saeng-on

It would be impossible to have multiple courses, with each producing responses like the Bloody Mary Granita in the first course, so there has to be one which didn’t quite make the grade, and for me it was the roasted saddle and leg of rabbit, sautéed cauliflower, haricot blanc in a red wine sauce.  Rabbit is not one of the more popular types of game, outside of Spencer’s native UK, but hats off for a good try!  The wine with the rabbit was a Pinot Noir, Satyr, Sileni Estates, Marlborough, NZ, 2008.

So to the main event, a combination of beef tenderloin and braised beef flank, parsley risotto, tempura snails and garlic confit.  Tastes, flavors and textures all vying for the palate’s attention.  Taken with the Cranswick Estate Merlot, Australia 2008, this was a superb dish and was universally popular.

Tuna tartar and Bloody Mary Granita.Tuna tartar and Bloody Mary Granita.

By the time it was dessert, everyone at our table was more than replete, but we manfully (and ladyfully) applied ourselves to the task of the goat cheese mousse with the cherry sorbet and warm pistachio cake, served with the Sileni Estate semillon 2009.

MD Michael Delargy wrapped up the evening, and chef Spencer made a cameo appearance at the end, to a rousing ovation.  Please Sheraton, don’t leave it so long before the next wine dinner!

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