T'ang Court at The Langham Hong Kong launches a 6 course wine and tea pairing menu. Each one of the featured Chinese dishes is paired with a biodynamic wine from Slovenia and a premium Chinese tea.
T'ang Court at The Langham Hong Kong invited food critics and travel writers to preview its wine and tea pairing menu, which was prepared by Executive Chef Kwong Wai Keung and goes live on 22 May 2015.
I knew I was in for a treat when I got the invitation to attend a wine and tea pairing dinner at T'ang Court, one of Hong Kong's most celebrated Cantonese restaurants - and one of only a handful of Chinese eateries with 2 Michelin stars.
While wine and tea pairing menus have been growing in popularity in recent years, it is usually one or the other: wine or tea, never both.
What set this dinner apart is that the 6 Chinese dishes we were served were paired with both a European wine and a Chinese tea.
This is interesting because I was told several years back that tea and wine were "natural enemies" and should never be served together.
For this reason, when I order wine at one of Hong Kong's better Chinese restaurants, staff usually remove the tea from the table as soon as the wine arrives.
According to Christina Keung, who hosted the dinner, tea and wine are not really natural enemies. The chemicals used in the production of most wines and teas are the culprit.
When quality wines and teas are served - in other words, products that are entirely natural - they can, in fact, complement each other quite nicely.
Christina was right. The wines and teas we were served went perfectly well together - as they did with those yummy Cantonese dishes that we were served.
Movia Puro Rose
The evening started with Movia Puro Rose 2005, a champagne like beverage that is 70% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinto Gris, and 20% Rebula.
The bottle was opened in dramatic fashion, something that approached theatre. It took 2 people to accomplish, one steadying the bottle upside down in a glass bowl of water, the other using a crowbar type apparatus to remove the cork.
While some of the beverage leaked into the water, Christina said it shouldn't be discarded. It could be used to steam prawns or other types of seafood, she suggested.
Our dinner started with chilled sliced abalone with jelly fish, barbecued pork, and sliced cod fish with lemon and honey sauce. It ended with baked sago pudding filled with chestnut paste.
In between there were lobster, pigeon, blue point oysters, Alaskan crab, and stewed noodles.
All of the dishes were delightful, but my favourite was the stir-fried sliced pigeon with goose liver pate, crispy dough, and water chestnut, which was paired with Modri Pinot Nero, Brda, Slovenia, 2009.
And what a surprise that was! I've never been a big fan of pigeon. If I hadn't read the menu, I would have sworn it was beef. Loved the crispy dough drenched in gravy. And the crunchy water chestnuts were scrumptious.
The dessert was also a pure delight, which was another surprise as I don't have much of a sweet touch! I think it would have gone nicely with a cup of espresso!
All of the wines were biodynamic, and all of them were from Movia, a Slovenian vintner with a 300 year pedigree.
If you don't know where Slovenia is, it is bordered by Austria, Croatia, Hungary, and Italy. A relatively short drive from Venice, it was one of the 4 entities that comprised Yugoslavia before the country broke up.
The winery produces only a limited number of bottles each year. Only 200 of them are destined for Hong Kong.
So what, exactly, does biodynamic mean?
According to Christina, the requirements for a wine to be considered biodynamic are much stricter than for a wine to be considered organic. A 9 step process is required.
Biodynamic wines are also produced "in tune with the moon". There are root days, leaf days, flower days, and fruit days.
So different processes are carried out according to whether it is a new moon, a full moon, a waxing moon, a waning moon, an ascending moon, or a descending moon.
Christina is Chief Executive Officer of Tina Cellar. She got her basic training at the family restaurant, the Genuine Lamma Hilton, which was established in 1970. It is located on Lamma Island.
The menu goes live on 22 May 2015. There is a 10 person minimum.
T'ang Court, 1st Floor, The Langham Hong Kong, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Telephone: (8520 2375-1133. The hotel is a short walk from the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, Canton Road, Nathan Road, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Star Ferry, and Ocean Terminal. It is a short taxi ride from Hong Hum Station, Kowloon Station, Mongkok, and other points on the Kowloon Peninsula.