Cesar Cruz Jr.
Business Mirror | February 20, 2020
“On the lookout for a new dining experience with family and close friends?”
The 22 Prime of Discovery Suites Ortigas has got the bases covered with its latest offering—a seven-course food and wine pairing menu. The epicurean nirvana is made possible with the collaboration of expertise of Executive Chef Gerwin Bailon with Assistant F&B Manager/Resident Sommelier Gio Racelis.
“The size of the dish depends on number of courses. For me, I make sure they are sized just right, not too little and not too much. I hope you enjoy each of the course,” Bailon voiced with enthusiasm at the recently held intimate media preview of the degustation. Bailon sharpened his culinary skills by working in various hotel chains in the Middle East before earning his current position as the executive chef of the Discovery Suites and the Discovery Country Suites.
Short ribs with foie gras. Sous vide octopus with piquilio pepper and paprika.
Likewise, Racelis digs deep in his 12 years of experience in the beverage industry as he handpicked the flight of wines to partner with the grand meal. “The wines of the degustation were from Parker Coonawarra Estate, which was established in 1985 in Australia. The first vines planted used the original cuttings of Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux. It has won many awards ever since, including being judged the 6th highest rated Bordeaux-Style in the 1991 International Wine Challenge in London.
The achievement sealed the credibility of its capacity to create outstanding wines,” the holder of the Wines and Spirits Education Trust ( WSET) Level 2 Awards in Wine and Spirits explained.
A bottle of 2017 Parker Coonawarra Favorite Son Cabernet Sauvignon. A bottle of Coonawara Parker Interloper Cabernet Malbec.
Western Cuisine Tandems with Coonawarra Parker Wines
The 22 Prime, having made a name for itself as a haven for carnivores, does not beat around the bush as it presented its first course—a twice-cooked pork belly served with kimchi mayo, sweet corn, soy sauce, pea tendrils, and sesame oil.
The young and vibrant Coonawarra Parker Favorite Son Chardonnay was chosen to cut through the richness of the pork belly. In the same vein, the high acidity of this white wine pierced well through the flavorful kimchi aioli and with the sweet corn dip.
The same refreshing Chardonnay from the outstanding 2017 vintage struts its versatility as it complements the delicate taste of the second course—sous vide octopus in cauliflower, piquillo pepper and paprika.
The third course, a creamy black bean soup with its smoky bacon taste, was balanced out with the high natural acidity of the 2016 Coonawarra Parker Aromatic Chardonnay. The full-flavored grape variety confidently flaunted its beautiful structure and complexity.
Next up was the oxtail ravioli, which was pan fried for texture and smelled so enticing with the restrained use of truffle oil. The intensity of the beef flavor of the fourth course was matched by the silky tannins of the Coonawarra Parker Favorite Son Cabernet Sauvignon. The acidity, dark fruits and oak notes exhibited a nice harmony of balance of taste. The 2017 Coonawarra Son Cabernet Sauvignon proved to be an approachable wine choice. It is something even wine newbies would easily grow a liking to.
Now this is where it gets interesting. The fifth course was a pan-roasted mahi-mahi served with the same Cabernet Sauvignon as the fourth course. Yes, one may argue that seafood is commonly served with a white wine, but this pairing begs to be different. To be honest, this writer was half-expecting an unpleasant metallic taste in his mouth but what he got instead was a surprise when the ‘undisputed king of grapes’ variety did not clash with its seafood partner. The unexpected pairing sent a message that it’s okay to think (and drink) outside the box for as long as one achieves the bottomline—a successful food and wine pairing.
A welcome breather of mixed berries granita serving as a palate cleanser soon followed.
With a refreshed and cooled down palate, a luxurious plate of braised short ribs with foie gras, carrots, micro arugula, turnip, and fava beans was placed before us as the sixth course of the meal. The taste of the fancy food was heightened with the Coonawarra Parker Interloper Cabernet Malbec.
Malbec, a grape variety commonly associated with Argentina rather than Australia, is regarded as the interloper in this bottle of Coonawarra wine. The Malbec component of the wine comes from the Barossa Valley from the Land Down Under. The resulting style of wine is fresh and juicy, boasting flavors of that does not steal the spotlight from the short ribs and vice versa.
Dessert was in the form of chocolate marquise drizzled with pistachio and caramel sauce.
Coffee would be just be perfect here.
So which of the seven pairings did this writer enjoy the most? Like the philosophy of the Parker Coonawarra Estate, this writer found it difficult to choose a favorite son or pairing for that matter. Each of the course has something unique to bring to the table, thereby contributing to the wonderful dining experience.
Prime yourself for 22 Prime’s latest dining concept. Tasting Notes is now available at the 22 Prime from 11a.m. to 11p.m. for a minimum of 10 people. The degustation is offered at P2,500 net and P3,500 net for degustation with wine. Prior reservation is required.
Cesar Cruz Jr.
Cesar studied communication arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He writes articles in the Lifestyle Section of Business Mirror as a lifestyle writer. He manages Pancit Malabon, his own restaurant at Banawe St.