Four Australians, an American and a Brit walk into a Chinese restaurant in the Middle East…
Not a joke but the six of us heading to the Penfolds wine dinner at http://www.stregisdoha.com/en/hakkasan
The evening was heavy with anticipation…mainly because of the promise of a glass of the legendary Penfolds Grange, perhaps Australia’s most famous wine.
My enablers for the evening were Debbie, Ruth, Jamie, Brooke and Rachel B – all of whom acted admirably in the face of my demands they delay their eating until photos were taken.
Hakkasan is one of the newest fine dining restaurants in Doha and has proven to be popular. The perfect mix of hip decor, ambience and sensational Cantonese inspired food has made it a favorite. That and dedicated valet parking will also get the vote in Doha.
The July 2 menu squared off some the venue’s favorite dishes against some of Australia’s best loved wines. The menu kicked off with a traditional crab and sweetcorn soup (forget any notion of the crab and corn soup you may have had from your local Happiness Inn style Chinese joint) as well as a platter of vegetarian and non veg dumplings.
This was your typical dim sum taken to a new level. The offering included scallop shumai, har gau, prawn and Chinese chive dumpling and black pepper duck dumpling (which inspired a minor riot at the table when its’ true flavor was revealed.
The soup and “small eats” were served with the Penfolds Koonunga Hill Chardonnay from South Australia. Now, being from NSW, I am always harsh on my South Australian cousins given the state’s propensity for weird crimes and other bizarre happenings but you have to say, they do make great wines.
Continuing on the “small eats” theme, next came the crispy duck salad and a delicious fried tiger prawn dish and some more dim sum – this time fried. Sweet and Sour Pork and Jung Pao Chicken this is not.
These dishes were paired with a Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz/Cabernet, one of Australia’s favorite wines.
Heading into the “main course” territory, the wine was beefed up to a a Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna, Shiraz again from South Australia.
But really, this was all window dressing. We all fell silent in reverence when the main event loomed close.
The centerpiece of the evening was the opportunity to taste the 2002 Grange. Penfolds Grange (until the 1989 vintage labelled Penfolds Grange Hermitage) is an Australian wine, made predominantly from the Shiraz (Syrah) grape and usually a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is widely considered Australia’s “first growth” and its most collectable wine. The 2002 vintage is being sold in Doha at around QR1900 a bottle.
The non-Australians at the table were bemused by the reverence the antipodean contingent showed the wine…until the tasted it. According to the Langton’s Definitive Grange Guide, the 2002 was produced by “a long, cool summer with intermittent rains was followed by a cool dry summer and a warm, dry autumn. A great vintage”.
There was no dessert and definitely no cheese. You know what? I didn’t miss it. And it was just the antidote to Doha’s long hot summer.