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Wine and Dine

Quite often wine leads to food and some would even say the two are not separable. Indeed, it is almost imperative for wine connoisseurs to have deep understandings of a few gourmet restaurants. But what defines a great restaurant?

We are not talking about a luxurious setting. It seems common sense that the food must be outstanding. But our humble opinion is that to ensure consistency, the head chef must also be the owner or at least part-owner so that he (or she) will not jump ship any time there is a better job offer somewhere. It is also important for it to be a single-location restaurant as otherwise one would wonder how an owner-chef could adequately oversee multiple operating sites. Then comes the final and the real differentiator: how original is the menu?

Let’s say we are in Milan with a restaurant offering the likes of Buratta & Tomato, Vitello Tonnato, Osso Buco and Milanese Veal Chop…don’t get us wrong…these are all excellent dishes when made well…but you hardly can call that a great restaurant.

The defining question is: How many dishes in the menu are original creations of the chef? Think of Paul Bocuse, Juan Mari Arzak and more recently Ferran Adria and Rene Redzepi. As two of them have since passed away, one stopped operating and the other one almost impossible to book, we would share with you this rather accessible restaurant in Milan we have dined a few times as something to remember for your next trip to that city – “Tano Passami l'Olio Ristorante” run by Tano Simonato.

Tano is creative but not among those who emphasize form/presentation over substance. His food is more about how he cooks and putting different ingredients together to generate a gastronomic sensation. All dishes in the menu are uniquely created by Tano (with the creation dates shown along each in the menu). Not only are they excellent but you also have the sense that you would not be able to find something similar in another restaurant. And that’s what we call a great restaurant!!!

Moving back to the wine front, what is better than having a good cool white during this season of extreme heat? And we could suggest the following:

2009 Malartic Lagraviere Blanc (RP95) at HK$500/bottle – complex with notes of lemon, lime and marmalade, and the 80/20 Sauvignon/Semillon blend offering a more rounded palate.

2011 M. Chapoutier Ermitage le Meal Blanc (WA99) at HK$1,150/bottle – Rhone white is always our favorite for its intensity, complexity and relatively great value. This one is absolutely a gem, big, rich, and decadent with fabulous fruit intensity and length.

2013 M. Chapoutier St. Joseph Granits Blanc (WA96) at HK$470/bottle – brilliantly full-bodied, with an exotic, perfumed style and giving tons of white peach, caramelized citrus, brioche and marmalade.

2014 Beaucastel Roussane VV Blanc (WA95) at HK$700 /bottle – From vines, some of which over 100 years old, it appears golden yellow and is a full-bodied concentrated wine but without losing elegance.

2015 DuMol Clare Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard (WA98) at HK$580/ bottle – From Napa, it is of medium to full-bodied and offering an intense palate with layers of citrus, floral notes and a silken texture, finishing very long and with minerality.

Please feel free to browse our website to see the full wine list. You can purchase them through the online platform or send us an e-mail, or even by WhatsApp to 9195-7383. Cheers!!!


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