The Royal Cliff Hotels Group has much to be proud of, but perhaps the icing on the cake has to be the prestigious Wine Spectator awards, with five of the Royal Cliff’s restaurants receiving the Best of Award of Excellence 2011. This makes it the fifth consecutive year that the Royal Cliff has won the Best of Award of Excellence – and yet another world record.
At the deVine Club wine dinner, the president Ranjith Chandrasiri spoke proudly of the achievement, informing the members that these awards made the Royal Cliff the only hotel in the world to be given this accolade.
The celebratory wine dinner was co-sponsored by Vanichwattana, with its principal Georges Barbier in attendance. The wines were, in the main, from the Villa Maria Estate in New Zealand, with their Asian marketing manager Ms. Charlotte Read present to pass on some interesting snippets from New Zealand. Most of the members of the deVine Wine Club did not know that Villa Maria Estate was New Zealand’s most awarded winery, or that the Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 had been selected to be in the Buckingham Palace cellars. She also mentioned that there are 10 sheep for every one person in New Zealand (true)!
Ranjith Chandrasiri, president of deVine Club entertains Charlotte Read, Asian marketing manager of Villa Maria Estate in New Zealand.
The evening began with the Chilean Santa Carolina Brut, and this was universally popular with the members and their guests. A great start to the evening.
The dinner itself was held in the Royal Grill Room and Wine Cellar, one of my favorite venues, all wood-paneled, warm and welcoming.
The first course was sensational, a poached tiger prawn on a panna cotta mousse, tom yam jelly, pesto mayonnaise, caviar and garden greens. It tasted even better than it reads, and this was taken with the Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010, from bottles that Buckingham House had not commandeered.
The second course was a pan-seared tuna loin on zucchini roll with crab cake and herb oil dressing. This was taken with the much more full-bodied Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Chardonnay 2006. Great nose, great drinking.
The third course was a universally popular creation from Executive Chef Walter Thenisch, a slow-cooked “magret de canard” (duck breast), cranberry-onion confit and spiced honey drops. This was accompanied by the Vila Maria Private Bin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008, which had mixed reviews, but as I always point out, wine appreciation is a personal thing. What’s sauce for the goose is not necessarily sauce for the gander.
Fourth course was a braised veal cheeks on celery mash, Parmesan crisp and root vegetables, washed down with the robust Villa Maria Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon. Again read the comment above on the gander!
The dinner ended with the botrytis dessert wine Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux Prestige Moelleux Vieilles Vignes 1999 accompanying a wonderful dessert of a baked snow egg filled with mango and coconut mousse on a lemon sabayon.
As a special promotion to celebrate the 2011 Wine Spectator awards, the dinner was charged out at 2,011 baht. The culinary bargain of 2011 as well.
If you would like to enquire about membership of the deVine Wine Club, email [email protected]