So, with a head full of knowledge about the Greywacke wines that we partook of midweek in Casa del Rio Melaka, we found ourselves as guest of Zipangu, Shangri-la Hotel KL, for the next round of Greywacke wine-food pairing excursions, but this time with Japanese cuisine taking center-stage.
We were looking forward to Chef Ishii Takayuki’s dinner as we’d heard many good things about this restaurant.
Chef Ishii worked in one of Tokyo’s most renowned traditional Japanese restaurants, before heading to Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, bringing with him a host of experience in preparing unique and healthy Japanese fare.
We get to the Zipangu and I see some familiar faces.
Kevin Judd says to me, “I’ve run out of good jokes to tell, because I already told them all in Melaka.” I replied not to worry, I didn’t mind hearing them all over again, and even promised to laugh at the punch lines. Anyway, Kevin was a real sport and it was another fun night to remember, for sure.
Zipangu – contemporary and spacious. Zipangu features a walk-in wine and sake cellar, individual sushi, grill and kappou counters as well as private and a-la-carte dining areas.
First up is a platter of Thin-sliced Salmon and Avocado served with Wasabi dressing, paired with the Greywacke, Sauvignon Blanc, 2012.
What’s there not to go ga-ga over, when it’s a tasty variety of salmon sashimi, in small, satisfying portions. Any superior Japanese restaurant would stock a decent variety of lustrous and tender raw fish and Zipangu happens to be one of them. It employs wasabi with restraint, so that it doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the fish. And it proudly shows off the finished whole of these parts, in creative design and careful presentation. Which such a delicate starter, how would one find its wine-match made in heaven? Well, the Greywacke, Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 was a superb choice. This was a wine that was focused and precise. The flavour was penetrating and it showcased a medley of lychees and grapefruit laced with flinty minerality. It didn’t obliterated the fish, but rather it enhanced the sweetness of the pink flesh. The wasabi added a playful shot of mustard-like heat which complemented the flinty wine. Nice!
It was good that Zipangu decided to cut to the chase and serve us Prawn tempura. There’s no point sifting through vegetables when you can have 100% prawn, if you know what I mean. This Prawn Tempura, with tentsuyu sauce was paired with the Greywacke, Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 as well. Again the wine played its minerality card in spades, so to speak, and it also exhibited a great long aftertaste. Cumi said he liked the wine for its peach, herb, lime notes that combine perfectly in a tangy package. I had to agree.
Yellowtail sashimi, salted kelp and habanero sauce paired with the Greywacke, Pinot Gris, 2010
Here we see a thing on beauty – layers of expertly sliced sashimi-grade fish and of course, the Yellowtail is one of my all time favourite fish. The right way to consume the taut, sweet flesh of the Yellowtail that was expertly flavored with salted kelp and some fiery (but not too fiery) Habanaro, would be in one swift mouthful. Then taking a diligent sip of your Greywacke, Pinot Gris, 2010, start to appreciate the flavors of ripe pear, apple slices and peach mingle with the sweetness of the Yellowtail. This was a full and rich wine, but it also has a crisp acidic finish, which tempered the richness of the oily fish. Very nicely executed, this one.
Loved the presentation of this dish – I could have done with another plate of Yellowtail!
Greywacke, Pinot Gris, 2010
This simmered Daikon Radish in Soup with Braised Marinated Chicken, paired with the Greywacke Pinot Gris, 2010 was tasty enough, but I didn’t really like the chicken. The radish was top notch – taking a bite, it exploded with contrasting textures and flavours and a characteristic sweetness that’s hard to match. However, I would have gone with something more interesting than Chicken, but that’s just me.
Chefs at work in the open kitchen
This next dish, I was totally looking forward to..
Enter the Grilled Eringi mushroom wrapped in Wagyu beef with Japanese seven-flavor chili. Wagyu.. my absolute favourite! Oh.. and the Pinot Noir.. been waiting to drink this all night. I was ready to have my world rocked.
Omg, there’s nothing I like more than a tannic wine to go with my Wagyu. The Greywacke, Pinot Noir, 2011 had very spicy aromatics of cloves, nutmeg and floral notes on the palate. Definitely a big, red wine, it was weighty and savoury, with youthful, vibrant cherry, plum and spice flavours. The wine gave good tannin support to the rich, and fatty Wagyu. A magnificent match. I was loving every minute of it.
The Wagyu-wrapped Eringi Mushroom – this dish blended two very different flavours and textures so well together. The mushrooms were intense! They added a meaty succulence (a texture similar to that of abalone) and moisture to each mouthful that was predictably spot-on.
Greywacke, Pinot Noir, 2011
Sushi selection – Roasted salmon belly, Foie Gras teriyaki, grilled eel, avocado paired with the Greywacke, Late harvest Riesling, 2011
Again I have to say that a superior Japanese restaurant should know how to deliver great sushi. It molds rice perfectly so that the grains neither clump nor tumble apart. It employs wasabi with restraint, and it proudly shows off the finished whole of these parts, in creative design and careful presentation. Zipangu does all of this.
Just gorgeous … yum yum…
While the sushi was totally delicious, the Late Harvest Riesling stole the show. It was super addictive and I would have been happy to drink it all on its own.
Gingerly taking a sniff of it, I fell for the lemon-scented nose. True to late-harvest style, it showcased rich, citrusy, gently honeyed flavours with abundant sweetness, and a lovely sugar-acid balance that complemented the unctuous sushi.
Not to ruin a good thing, we continued with the Late Harvest Reisling, and dinner was concluded on a sweet note, with some slivers of Japanese white peach to cleanse the palate.
The lovely Ginny Lotto and Kevin Judd.. what a night! Fantastic wines, food and great company.. can’t ask for more!
For some delicious Greywacke wines, contact :
Geovinum Sdn Bhd,
A-G-07, Merchant Square, No.1 Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1,
PJU3, 47400 Petaling Jaya,
Email: gough [at] geovinum [dot] com
Tel: +6012 2191 197; +603 7883 0688
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Zipangu Shangri La KL
11 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, 50250, Malaysia
Tel : +603 2074 3900 Location
Level 1 Operating Hours
12noon – 2.30pm (Monday to Friday)
11.30am – 2.30pm (Saturday and Sunday) Dinner
6.30pm – 10.30pm (daily)