March 23, 2010

Aussie surprise

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I met up with an old friend for dinner tonight, and we decided to drink a couple of bottles of Aussie wines since he's an Aussie.  I decided to go back to my cafeteria from the old days - Brasserie on the Eighth - as they have always been nice to me.

I asked the waiter to decant my bottle of wine.  The young guy obviously has had very little training, since he practically poured the whole bottle into the decanter in one swift motion...including all the sediment at the bottom.  My eyes opened wide, and I was stunned for a moment.  I chastised the waiter, and asked him to be more careful and gave him a second bottle to decant.  He finally took the trouble of lighting a candle to help check for sediment while pouring.

They are doing a "lamb promotion", and I decided to pick 2 of those dishes since I love lamb.

Spring lamb tartar with shiitake mushrooms French beans salad and Pommery mustard sauce - I was thinking about ordering steak tartar before I even arrived at the restaurant, so this worked out perfectly.  I liked the combination of the mustard with the lamb, letting the acidity work on the meat.  The result was that the "lammy" taste wasn't very heavy...oh well.  I liked the raw quail egg on top, too.

Seared lamb fillet on spinach with lemon saffron sauce - this really didn't work for me.  I asked for "medium rare" and that was not what I got.  While the lamb was still juicy inside, it certainly wasn't anywhere near pink. I thought about sending this back, but couldn't be bothered...

Coffee lovers: Amedei chocolate mousse with Nespresso granita & Illy capuccino espuma - pretty interesting combination, espressing three different flavors each through a different texture.

1999 Noon Reserve Shiraz - lots of fruit and a bit alcoholic, with smoke and eucalyptus.  Still pretty concentrated.  A little disappointing, as I had expected something much more open.

2001 Torbreck Les Amis - initially notes of plastic, then sweet fruit that's a little bit stewed, orange and exotic Asian spices.  Caramel nose emerged much later.  This was a very sweet and exotic wine...reminding me of how opulent Grenache can Rayas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I'll have some more of this wine any day!

We had a pretty good time with the wines, although the food could have been slightly better.  I hope we can have an opportunity to get together soon.

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