daniel boulud was in town on monday to visit, and it coincided with the rolland family collection wine dinner so what better time to visit db bistro moderne for a night of fine wine, dining and celebrity-chef spottin’! the menu wasn’t the normal db bistro moderne fare, but rather, food from daniel’s recently opened (in NYC) bouludsud which has garnered good reviews so far and has a reservation waitlist of 2 months. count me impressed.
anyways, db bistro moderne is sited along the celebrity restaurant stretch in mbs, right next to mario batali’s mozza and across wolfgang puck’s cut. it exudes a classy, luxurious, afterwork chillout kind of ambience with the dim lighting, parisien-esque furnishings, and smartly dressed waiters and servers alike. (with that, i mean that the servers could be mistaken as patrons of the restaurant.) i particular like the translucent, semi-frosted glass window along the interior wall of the restaurant, that allows patrons a hazy glimpse of the bustle in the kitchen that looks every bit like those from hell’s kitchen. let’s get to the food.
this was really a lesson of wine and food pairings for me. the sauvignon blanc was golden yellow in color, hinting towards late-harvest version of the wine, with a strong, rich flavor profile that really went well with the various dishes. and honestly, victoria and i were being superbly academic with the wine/food pairings, with victoria annotating down her wine comments across her menu and me just attempting to use all the taste buds on my tongue to identify the nuances in the wine. perhaps i’m getting a bit better at understanding the logic of pairings with food and wine, and it seemed like the dinner was pairing predominantly on the idea of matching qualities of the wine with complementary tastes in the food. with the duck and date chutney, the wine’s late harvest sweetness came through and enhanced the sweetness of the date chutney and duck whereas with the vitello tonnato (cold sliced veal), the herbaceous notes of the wine accentuated the refreshing tastes of the celery and capers. i didn’t quite like the grilled octopus combination of flavors, because i felt like the marcona almonds and jerez vinegar gave a very pasty aftertaste that wasn’t too appetizing.
mind you, for people who have not tried much mediterranean food due to its relative new-ness to the singapore market, i recommend a trip to artichoke for dinner. methinks hummus, falafel and babaganoush (eggplant mash) are really delicious tapas style food that bars can consider serving as an alternative to the normal wings, fries, nachos and the likes. i felt that the savory flavors of the dips formed a perfect counterpoint with the crispness of the sauvignon blanc. the lavash bread was baked perfectly as well. yummy.
my, my.. what alot of foreign terms. pistou refers to the green vegetable sauce that is artfully drizzled across the dish to provide a refreshing sauce to the prawns. no idea what carabineros means but essentially the dish is of grilled prawns and vegetables done perfectly. the prawn is replete with complex flavors whilst the vegetables form a perfect complement for the savory flavors of the seafood. this was paired with chateau la grande clotte 2008 AOC bordeaux blanc, essentially a bordeaux white blend that is predominantly sauvignon blanc, with semillon and muscadelle as the other constituents. the wine alone tastes kind of rubbery/petroleum-ish (somewhat like riesling), with hints of sweetness from the semillon/muscadelle, as well as the herbaceous flavor for the sauvignon blanc. whilst paired with the wine, the vegetables and pistou brought out the herbaceous notes in the wine more prominently to mask away the petroleum-ish taste and complemented the prawns well. still felt like there was a rubbery aftertaste to the wine, but overall, this was a good combination, with the white wine strong enough to stand up to the complex flavors of the prawns and grilled vegetables.
let’s talk about the dish by itself first. the tomato base went very well with the grilled flavors of the fish and the arugula threw in fresh vegetal notes to balance out the entire dish. the wine itself was a pinot noir, with a predominant red cherry flavor along with quite an intense oakiness. in paper, the pairing made sense — the red cherry would accent the tomato base of the dish whilst the oakiness would complement the grill flavors of the fish. however, i felt that when wine was paired with the food, the oakiness dominated my palette and the combination did not work well. methinks this dish might have benefited from a lighter, red wine, maybe a beaujolais.
so glad to have been able to taste Pomerol wines (one of the better wine-making regions in Bordeaux). the 2008 rendition was more tannic and herbaceous whereas the 2001 rendition gave a rounder, less tannic taste with hints of red cherry that tasted really nice. problem again for me is, the wine didn’t seem to go too well with the dish. the dry-aged ribeye was delicious and the fava beans gave a nice crunchiness and mash-like base to the dish. however, methinks the fava beans had an enduring aftertaste that lasted longer than the beef, meaning that when tasting with wine, the beans dominated the dish and was the main component in attempting to match with the wine. to me, fava beans and a red Bordeaux didn’t really work out. in fact, when i tasted just the ribeye with the wine, it was much better.
mmm.. one really refreshing and tasty dessert that fully utilizes the natural wonders of the grapefruit. the dish is presented as a whole grapefruit on a bed of ice, with the grapefruit topped by a wafer (sesame halva) and the fruit hollowed to place in the rose loukoum and the grapefruit sorbet. DELICIOUS. the grapefruit sorbet is utterly refreshing with tangy accents and the rose loukoum adds a secondary sweetness to the proceedings.
for petit fours, we had nougat, baklava and some other cake-like thing. sigh, the baklava brings back fond memories of my grad trip to turkey, egypt and greece, and tasting the most delicious and freshly baked baklavas at a roadside cafe in Izmir. the baklava would ooze with honey when one bit on it, giving great satisfaction to the eater. sighh
all in all, a perfect dinner that really constitutes quite an educational experience. we all need to pamper ourselves sometimes eh?
db bistro moderne | 10 bayfront avenue, #b1-48, marina bay sands
bouludsud | 20 W. 64th St., New York, NY 10023