Sunday, March 31, 2013

Champagne Jacquesson Cuvee 736 Extra-Brut

Jacquesson is another big champagne house but rarely found in Thailand. Jacquesson Cuvee 736 is the latest release from the 700 series which is based mainly from 2008 harvest with some blend of 2007 and 2006. Well, let's see how it went.

Date of Tasting: 16 March 2013
Wine Type: Sparkling White
Grape Varieties: 53% Chardonnay, 29% Pinot Noir, 18% Pinot Meunier
Alcohol: 12%
Origin: Champagne, France
Appellation: Champagne
Expect to Pay: THB1,500 – 2,500 (retail price in Thailand)
Chubby Score: 89/100
Value for money: 6/10
Professional Rating: WA - 90-92/100

Appearance: pale golden yellow
Aroma: fresh citrus and flowers but rather mute
Palate: light and pure limestone with power of sea breeze, intense energy and power, rather fat bubbles but excellent acidity, very dry but easy to drink, still lack of complexity and dimensions

Perhaps this is the style of champagne I truly enjoy, unlike the great Dom Perignon 2003. Big and power but not elegant and classic. Though Champagne Jacquesson 736 may be ready to be consumed now, I would personally let it lay down and develop for a couple of years to show its true potential and let the fat bubbles fade away before enjoy it during the next decade.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wine + Dine Perspective @ Glaz Bar & The Reflexions, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Bangkok

Cuisine: Modern French
Price: THB2,100 per person (what I paid for)
Visited: 7 March 2013
Food: 8/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Value for money: 8/10
Services: 8/10

Undeniably, The Reflexions at Hotel Plaza Athenee Bangkok is one of the most favourite French restaurant of ours. We happen to give it a visit every single month intentionally or unintentionally. Well, let's us tell you one thing. Every first Thursday of every month, The Reflexions has been organising what it's called "Wine + Dine Perspective". If you are a wine lover, you will love this event, I promise. Admittedly, I am one of its kind and really love the event.

The concept is that you get to do wine tasting at The Glaz Bar with around 5 kinds of wine from the same producer, depending on the month. At this stage, you will sure just keep drink drink and drink (oh oh.....and cheese too) that you may even forget your meal at The Reflexions. For the after tasting meal, there will be the typical 3 courses dinner with a bottle of wine either white or red for every couple.

This time the wine was from Feudo Maccari which is a vineyard from the island of Sicily. You, by now, may know that wines would be Nero d'Avola base. There were 5 wines for tasting, starting from white, rose to red. For white and Rose, they were Grillo and Rose di Nero d'Avola. Rose was good but not spectacular while the Grillo was excellent value in fact. For reds, they ranged from Nero d'Avola to Saia to Maharis. Both Nero d'Avola and Saia are 100% Nero d'Avola but Maharis is combined with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

Walking on to the meal, I chose to start with Mackerel Tartar, Sliced Turnip, Salsa Verde and Cucumber Jelly (7/10). I do like this dish: pretty good aroma and character of mackerel. It gave soft creamy touch with refreshing sliced turnip. This dish could go easily well into the regular menu.

Mackerel Tartar, Sliced Turnip, Salsa Verde and Cucumber Jelly

Moving on to main course, lamb dish was picked this time: Gently Cooked Lamb Loin Marinated in Herbs, Confit Baby Vegetables and Parsnip Puree (7/10). This one did not really hit to my heart. However, it was still an excellent made dish. Really tender and when combined with roots, it was just wonderful: savoury with sweetness of roots. Particular attention was made to the small onion that contained filling also, like it.

Gently Cooked Lamb Loin Marinated in Herbs, Confit Baby Vegetables and Parsnip Puree

Dessert was the highlight for me, it was Valrhona Chocolate Tart with Bourbon and Cigar Ice-cream (8/10). Hell yeah, I love this one a lot. Really rich and thick choco tart with delightful creamy cigar ice-cream, what a good match. The dried fruits gave another dimension on the palate. Wish I could have more of this. @(^V^)@

Valrhona Chocolate Tart with Bourbon and Cigar Ice-cream

Anyway, Wine + Dine Perspective is somewhat value for money if you do love wine and good French food. It is a must try, I promise. If you decide to go, I would recommend an early booking as the event is rather popular. Bon Appetit!!!!

The Reflexions @ Hotel Plaza Athenee, Bangkok
3rd Floor Hotel Plaza Athenee
61 Wireless Road
Lumpini, Pathumwan
Bangkok, 10330

Open Hours: 06:00pm - 11:00pm Monday - Saturday
Tel: +66 (0) 2650 8800 ext 4338

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Feudo Maccari Nero d'Avola IGT 2010

Nero d'Avola is one of the most important varietal grown on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Sicily. It may not be so popular here yet. For me, I got a chance to try this Feudo Maccari Nero d'Avola 2010 the other week at The Reflexions @ Hotel Plaza Athenee Bangkok. Personally, I do like to wine a lot. Really recommend it for everyday wine.

Date of Tasting: 7 March 2013
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 100% Nero d'Avola
Alcohol: 14.0%
Origin: Sicily, Italy
Appellation: Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT)
Expect to Pay: THB500 – 700 (retail price in Thailand)
Chubby Score: 90/100
Value for money: 9/10
Professional Rating: n.a.

Appearance: ruby red
Aroma: red berries and burst of fruity sensation
Palate: good structure and balance with minimum noticeable acidity, moderate level of rounded tannins, rich character of sweet plum and spices dominant but not chewy, lingering with enjoyment in the mouth

Feudo Maccari Nero d'Avola 2010 is a very good value for money table wine that can be consumed delightfully now and perhaps 5 years more easily. If a touch of sweetness kind of wine is what you do not mind, then pack a lot of these in your cellar now.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chef Man @ Eastin Hotel Makkasan, Bangkok

Cuisine: Chinese
Visited: 3 March 2013
Price: THB450 per person without alcohol (what I paid for, dimsum lunch)
Food: 6/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Value for money: 7/10
Services: 5/10

"Chef Man", surely you must have heard of it if you happen to reside in Bangkok. So popular, so famous, and so crowded at the moment. In 2012, the restaurant Chef Man started the operation of its first branch at Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok. Not so long, its well-known dimsum has spread out. At the moment, the queue for dimsum during weekend or public holiday is somewhat 3 months long T___T". I even thought that I was booking a 3 Michelin Stars restaurant in Paris or London like Fat Duck.

Recently, another branch at Eastin Hotel Makkasan Bangkok was just opened. We did hesitate to go tasting at all: better than waiting for 3 months surely. Really recommend anyone to try this place instead of waiting for the long long queue, though we actually did not want to share this message and to keep its a secret @(^^)@. Chef Man here is located on floor 10 of the hotel, just by the pool side in fact which really surprise us. Imagine dining with good dimsum and a view of people swimming ~.~" A little weird though. Inside the restaurant is just like many other Chinese cuisine places, decoration is in Chinese pattern but not so heavy.

Chef Man @ Eastin Hotel Makkasan, Bangkok

Indeed, this first thing I ordered without hesitation was the famous Steamed Cream Bun with Salted Egg (8/10). It was good as the rumour has whispered. The creamy orange salted egg filling just ran ozzily out upon splitting. Imagine the typical cream bun but combine salty taste on the palate coupling the soft dough texture. Personally, I just fall in love with it: simply delicious. I even ordered for more. Will sure return for this bun.

ซาลาเปาไส้ไหล - Steamed Cream Bun with Salted Egg (THB85)

ไส้ไหลจริงๆ ^^ - really runny filling

For steamed range of dimsum, Chef Man is no extraordinary from my perspective. They all are lovely and savoury. Quite good ingredients are used for preparation too. Price range lies around THB100 plus or minus per dish: not so high but not cheap. Admittedly, I did enjoy them.

ขนมจีบไข่กุ้ง - Steamed Pork Dumpling with Shrimp Eggs (THB95)

ฮะเก๋า - Steamed Fresh Shrimp Dumplings (THB95)

ขนมจีบเป๋าฮื้อ - Steamed Pork Dumpling with Abalone (THB150)

ก๋วยเตี๋ยวหลอดหมูแดง - Rice Noodles with BBQ Pork (THB120)

ก๋วยเตี๋ยวหลอดกุ้ง - Rice Noodles with Shrimps (THB120)

Fried dishes, these are what I like more of Chef Man. The size of each dish was somewhat smaller than many places but I have to say they were well fried: crisp and fluffy in case of deep fried taro. I am not sure that dishes were well prepared was because the restaurant was not crowded and chef had time to prepare properly, perhaps need to try out some other time when it gets more famous. Anyway, the one that I think many of you may enjoy and find it delightful may be Rice Noodle with XO Sauce which has prawn and fried dough filling. Well well, they may not be so healthy dishes but for the sake of life fulfilling, why not? ^^

เผือกทอด - Deep Fried Taro (THB85)

ฝองเต้าหู้ทอด - Deep Fried Skin Bean Curd Rolls (THB90)

ก๋วยเตี๋ยวหลอดซอส XO - Rice Noodle with XO Sauce (THB120)

The deadly bunny somehow ordered Si Chuan Soup too (chubby penguin does not like it really, weird soup with sour taste ~.~). It was not a special one really, just so-so taste of sour base and not hot as expected.

ซุปเสฉวน - Si Chuan Soup

a little close up ^^

Well, Chef Man is sure the place for the Steamed Cream Bun with Salted Egg. Drooling yummy indeed. As for typical dimsum dishes, they are considerably fulfilling. Another good place for lunch time family during weekend indeed. Just bear in mind that this Eastin Hotel Makkasan is not the kind of flashy 5 stars hotel, expect to see backpackers and tourists along the way to the restaurant. ^^

Chef Man @ Eastin Hotel Makkasan, Bangkok
Floor 10 Easting Hotel Makkasan
1091/343 Soi Phetchaburi 31
New Phetchaburi Road
Makkasan, Rajthevee
Bangkok 10400

Open Hours: daily 11:30 - 14:30 for lunch and 18:00 - 22:00 for dinner
Tel: +66 (0) 2651 7600

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Burnt Spur Pinot Noir 2010

This time we would like to introduce a really good value for money wine from cool climate area. It is a pinot noir based wine from Martinborough of New Zealand that is just so smooth and  elegant

Date of Tasting: 9 March 2013
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 14.0%
Origin: Martinborough, New Zealand
Appellation: Martinborough
Expect to Pay: THB1,000 – 1,500 (retail price in Thailand)
Chubby Score: 93/100
Value for money: 10/10
Professional Rating: n.a.

Appearance: translucent bright red
Aroma: violet floral petal nose and hint of truffle
Palate: medium to light bodied pinot noir with balance tannins and acid structure, seductive sweetness of dark berries, background of spices, subtle and yet elegant, beautiful complex finish that goes on and on

This is a wine that pretty much easy to drink and well priced. Enjoyable now and perhaps can be kept for the consuming during the next few years. Fabulous it is. Recommend for pinot noir lovers to have some stock of it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Le Beaulieu @ Athenee Tower, Bangkok

Cuisine: French
Visited: 2 March 2013
Price: THB1,650 per person without alcohol (lunch set)
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Value for money: 7/10 (based on lunch set)
Services: 6/10

Bonjour!!!! Today we, deadly and chubby, would like to bring you to a fine French cuisine restaurant in Witthayu-Chidlom area.  Le Beaulieu offers some of the best classic French menu in town surely.  Of course, fine cuisine/haute cuisine does come at its own price tag.  One thing you may need to be aware is that menu here does get changed from time to time, so what I tell you may not be in the menu when you decide to give it a visit.  Menu is designed just like other fine European restaurant which contains only minimum but great choices.  Wine list is ok but not great, marked up price is high comparing to other places in town.

Le Beaulieu @ Athenee Tower, Bangkok

the entrance

seats overlooking into the kitchen

a look from first floor

The long table

Le Beaulieu is situated right on the ground floor of Athenee Tower: basically it is just the building next to the hotel building of Plaza Athenee Bangkok on Witthayu Road.  The size of this place is not large but there are two floors with outdoor area (for a cool day or night time) too.  There is also a small patisserie shop that offers delicious pastry too (open 9.00am to 6.30pm).  The decoration is kept in modern style with red/black tone that gives such power and elegant feeling.  In fact, I feel that this place is somewhat half restaurant half bar of its own with the cocktail bar placed right in the middle of the hall.  I actually do like the outdoor area for the night time, rather a good and comfortable place to hang out with friends.

the bar

kitchen is busy

Le Beaulieu Patisserie

limited seats for patisserie

example of delicacy

As mentioned the price you will have to prepare to pay here can be high, we would actually like to recommend anyone to try the lunch set which comprises of more or less the same menu as a la carte.  3 courses lunch on Saturday costs THB1,250++, not a bad deal at all for what you get.

a la carte menu

We were served with Chocolate Croissant (8/10) and Baguette (5/10) to start with.  I promise chocolate croissant was one of the best in BKK: very nice taste with layers and layers of crisp pastry, fluffy and smooth in the mouth.  Whilst croissant stands out, baguette was just ordinary that was enjoyable with good butter.

Ok!!! it is the best chocolate croissant for me

simply baguette

the contact via namecard

Starters of the set lunch were Burrata D.O.C, Heirloom Tomatoes (7/10), Plancha of Scallop, Organic Salad (7/10), and Sautéed Frogs Legs with Garlic Puree (4/10).  All of which were nice but Burrata and Hokkaido Scallops did stand out.  Burrata is a kind of cheese with a mix of mozzarella and cream.  It was creamily soft but had some firm texture.  Savoury taste and aroma of mozzarella was preserved. This is a fantastic and fresh starter.  Scallop was as well delightful. Refreshing salad with tanginess touch of summer coupling with big and flavourful Brittany scallops can easily be diners' favourite choice. Last of starter was frog legs. This dish was not like the first two. It lacked of flavour though frog legs were tender. I don't think this dish would match personality of local that prefer stronger taste of dishes.

Burrata D.O.C. , Heirloom Tomatoes....loving it

Plancha of Scallop......tasty flavour

a little more close up onto scallop

Sauteed Frog Legs with Garlic Puree

close up frog leg

Next were fish dishes: Plancha of Baby Monkfish with Provencale Ratatouille (6/10) and Dover Sole, Ratte Potatoes, Lemon Capers Sauce (7/10). Monkfish gave a more firm texture when bitten. It went really well with ratatouille which was lighter than many ratatouille I had tried in the past: sweet taste of tomato in fact. Like this dish but still does not hit my point just yet. Dover Sole gave more delicate touch. Elegant and classic pan-seared with butter and a final touch of herbal lemon capers sauce. Fabulous. A dish to try indeed.

Plancha of Monkfish with Provencale Ratatouille

Lemon being squeezed onto Dover Sole

For meat lover or carnivore, here is your kind of dish: Slow-roasted Lamb Racks with French Needle Bean and His Jus (7/10). Le Beaulieu does sure make one of the best lamb dish in town. It was really tender and juicy. Jus was kind of light but savoury. This could be a better dish if the quality of lambs was more premium. I still find that lamb from Rossini's is a step better.

Slow-roasted Lamb Rack

The highlight of this meal was in fact the dessert. Millefeuille, Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream was fabulous (9/10). This dish was a near perfect 1,000 layers pastry: light, fluffly and crisp. Not overly sweet too. I could actually cut the millefeuille easily without destroying the nice decoration. The coupling vanilla ice-cream also came with crunchy nut which was fun and enjoyable. Love this millefeuille to the max. Strawberry Flambeed, Vanilla Ice Cream was a sweeter choice (7/10). Thick strawberry sauce with again vanilla ice-cream. Really chill and suitable for summer.

One of the best millefeuille in town

Strawberry Flambeed for sweet lovers

Overall, this is a fantastic classic French restaurant that must try.  Just the price is probably a big matter T___T".  Services are friendly and polite too but perhaps staffs still lack of explanatory skill.  We sure will give Le Beaulieu a return to see how it can keep its standard of delicacy.    By the way, most of ingredients seem to be imported.  From our opinion, if they can manage to make some fantastic dishes with local ingredients that would be even better.  Bon Appetit!!!

Le Beaulieu @ Athenee Tower, Bangkok
Floor G Athenee Tower
63 Witthayu Road
Bangkok 10330

Open Hours: Mon - Sat 11:30 - 15:00 for lunch and 18:30 - 23:00 for dinner
Tel: +66 (0) 2168 8220
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