by John K. Lindgren
photos: GFour Fine Wines and Spirits
The Okura Prestige Bangkok. This ultra-modern Japanese luxury hotel sits on a super prime location in the heart of CBD Bangkok, Ploen Chit BTS. The name says it all The Okura Prestige and the Elements restaurant is taking its identity cue from the four elements of earth, water, fire and air. The concept is contemporary lifestyle dining with modern gourmet gastronomy.
Recently a dozen of Bangkok’s wine aficionados gathered at the Elements restaurant on the 25th floor with balcony access and panorama vista.
Our host was Australian physician PhD turned vigneron Dr Ray Nadeson. Gastronomy by The Okura Prestige Bangkok’s Australian executive chef Antony Scholtmeyer. Welcome toast. We raise our flutes of sparkling Bellavista Alma Cuvee Brut Franciacorta. Dry or “brut” – the perfect kick-off.
Then the culinary fireworks start by chef de cuisine Antony Scholtmeyer and his team. Scallop tartare scented with hajikami ginger served with creamy egg yolk, soya bean wafer, watercress and fresh wasabi. Heavenly paired with a world-class Pinot Gris by Lethbridge 2016. Alsatian style, exhibiting an attractive blend of delicate pear, blossom and citrus aromas. Perfect with the ginger-watercress-wasabi combo.
Next the pink salmon poached in olive oil with sancho served with mushroom consommé jelly, pickled mushrooms and nori wafer. Pairing with Lethbridge Chardonnay 2016 a beautifully clean, pure nose of ripe melon, lemon zest, white peach, lychee and honeycomb, with traces of baked apple. The fruit was handpicked from vines yielding 1.5-2.0 tonne/acre.
Lethbridge is a boutique winery, par excellence. Our host the medical doctor, researcher who became a passionate winemaker tells us about his grapes, his 25-year-old Lethbridge Victoria vineyard and winery. The aim is to produce natural, savory wines that focus on balance and texture with a real sense of place or terroir.
The first main course from the Elements kitchen arrives: duck paired with Pinot Noir. Duck roasted in honey and spices with Japanese flavors: soba grains, red cabbage, charred Japanese turnips and raspberry vinegar jus. Washed down with a most impressive Lethbridge Pinot Noir 2013. Abound with power, both in fruit density and tannin yet juxtaposed with lifted aromatics and long acid backbone. A culinary triumvirate: duck in honey, Japanese turnips and Aussie Pinot Noir.
The grand finale for all meat lovers Iberico lamb rack with truly international flavors: petit farcis, panisses, ginkgo nuts and premium sarawak black pepper. The pepper and the lamb – deserves a Shiraz (French call it Syrah) full-bodied, dark in the glass with all the flavors present. Swirl it in the glass (let it breathe) and it gets better. The Lethbridge Shiraz an excellent “cool-climate” Aussie Shiraz displaying a deep purple colour with a powerful bouquet of pepper, spice and blackberry. “This is as good as it gets,” says one of invited, a young Thai gentleman, the CEO of Thai steel company.
The dessert arrives: a feast for the eyes and the palate. Fresh peach yoghurt and yuzu sorbet with almond crunch and kinako (Japanese ingredient made of roasted soy bean flour) with the fresh peach and yuzu sorbet (a Japanese lemon with bright floral flavors) is irresistibly delicious. Paired appropriately with a glass of Massolino Mosacto d’Asti 2015.
At the end a big hand for our Lethbridge vigneron Dr Nadeson, The Okura Prestige Bangkok’s Chef Antony Scholtmeyer. Last but not least: GFour, importer of fine wines and spirits.