by Mick & Di, The Food Lovers
Havana Bar is located on the ground floor of Holiday Inn Pattaya Bay Tower, Pattaya Beach Road. This lounge bar is classy and upscale, reconstructing the Cuban bars of the fascinating ’30s and ’40s when Hemingway created the now famous daiquiris and the iconic mojito cocktail. Soaring wooden ceilings, deep mahogany-coloured leather sofas, comfy easy chairs, black and white photos from the era, huge Cuban-style chandeliers all contribute to the mood emulating a watering hole where Papa Hemingway would have been happy to while away the hours. This bar is plush, sophisticated and unique and is the setting for Holiday Inn’s monthly wine event.
The latest vinous happening was in partnership with Siam Winery which had selected six Italian centric wines from the vineyards of Mezzacorona at the foothills of the Dolomites where Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are the dominant varietals. We were also to be served wines from Marco Felluga (Mongris label), an Italian Estate founded in 1950 and located in Gradisca d’Isonzo, a fortified citadel of the Venetian Republic. The internationally acclaimed Mionetto Winery provided the excellent Prosecco and first pour of the evening. Not only were we to enjoy these selected wines with a selection of creative canapés and artisanal cheeses from the kitchens of Executive Chef Jason Large but also a live entertainment performance from Mary, Jowel and the Blues Machine. Priced at B.1,190 net per person these events are enthusiastically attended throughout the year.
As mentioned, the first pour of the evening was a flute of Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso Brut. This dry but richly fruity sparkler with its tight bubbles and crisp finish was a winner and perfectly complemented the Sloane’s pork terrine with its tart apple chutney or the nacho bowls topped with avocado and sour cream.
Round 2 presented Marco Felluga’s “Mongris” (a contraction of mono varietal and in this case Pinot Grigio). This was a favourite of mine, elegantly golden in colour but with an intense bouquet and surprisingly full-bodied, it was able to make very good friends indeed with my (first) forage at the splendid cheese table. And make friends it did with my first choice of Reblochon de Savoie, an iconic French mountain cheese, soft and mellow, it was a luscious combination. We stayed at the cheese table to enjoy the Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio Trentino, a more robust wine with a full-bodied palate of yellow stone fruit and just a hint of nutmeg. It paired well with the Gruyere and even the English Stilton. Another Mezzacorona, this time a Chardonnay, proved a winner with the grilled lobster, roasted vine tomato and basil pesto bruschetta and especially the onion tart topped with a generous portion of salmon roe.
Rounds 5 and 6 produced the reds both from the Mezzacorona vineyards. The Pinot Nero Trentino DOC had benefited from a brief maturation process in oak barrels while the Cabernet Sauvignon Trentino with its elegance of flavour made a chic pairing with the spicy Thai pork meatballs with fresh herbs. I’ve only mentioned a handful of the substantial canapés on offer but before we go we should praise the mini smoky chicken burgers layered with bacon, cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Desserts climax the evening with the likes of spiced apple sponge cakes, chocolate ganache choux buns and a lemon and white chocolate panna cotta.
The forward-thinking Holiday Inn Pattaya management team are always reaching outside the culinary box to provide an innovative approach to wining and dining Holiday Inn Pattaya style. Do check their website for their upcoming wine tasting events. The excellent monthly wine tastings (the last Saturday of the month) are priced at B.1,190 net per person and are always well attended by hotel guests, visitors and expats.
Holiday Inn Pattaya
Open Sunday to Thursday 2 pm till midnight and Friday to Saturday noon till 1 am
Tel: 038 725 555