Don’t miss these exclusive whisky-paired dinners

June Lee

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The Macallan and The Balvenie have created special restaurant collaborations that bring whisky and food to a new level.

Blink and you may miss it. The start of the festive season also sees a spurt in creativity from well-loved Scotch single malt labels such as The Macallan and The Balvenie. The way to whisky bliss, it seems, is through the stomach, as both labels have teamed up with chefs from top restaurants to reveal the facets of their whiskies in different ways. The only downside? Limited dates. Act fast or you may miss the chance to catch these events.

Related: The Macallan Experience and Macallan Edition No. 6 Revealed 

The Balvenie Handcrafted Series

Speyside whisky label The Balvenie has embarked on a collaboration with the Michelin Guide to uncover the shared art of craftsmanship in both whisky making and culinary creations. The first collaboration is with chef Mike Tan from Madame Fan, which runs till 30 Nov, and the second with chef-founder Robert Galetti from Garibaldi, which runs till 20 Dec.

At Madame Fan, chef Tan brings 30 years’ experience to the fore to not only pair his Cantonese cuisine with whisky, but also to explore the replacement of Chinese wine with whisky when cooking. Noting that The Balvenie has more complex layers from the use of different casks in the ageing process, he created two dishes that play up the flavours of the 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask and 21 Year Old PortWood.

In the Whisky Xiao Long Bao, the pork mince is marinated with a small dose of the single malt, which is then steamed in the soup dumpling to bring out the toastiness and fruitiness of the whisky. This dish doesn’t require the usual vinegar and ginger accompaniment – just a sip of the whisky together with the dumpling is sufficient to fill your palate with ample spice and savoury notes. The second dish, Bridges, truly shows chef Tan’s prowess as he brews up an Alaskan king crab soup with a surprise base of silky ‘chawanmushi’ on the bottom of the bowl. The fine and graceful 21 Year Old PortWood is the perfect if surprising accompaniment to this warm soup, which is served aerated from a teapot. A gentle hint of smokiness from the whisky unites the flavours of both.

Till 20 Nov Pre-order three days in advance. Madame Fan, NCO Club, 32 Beach Rd. Tel: 6818 1921      

At Garibaldi, chef Roberto Galetti was inspired to use the same whiskies in both his pairing dishes. Both are fish dishes, as he points out that Italy is a peninsula which is surrounded by the sea, and that he prefers seafood these days to meat. The 21 Year Old PortWood is used to pair with lightly smoked Scottish salmon with fresh burrata, toasted almonds and fresh figs, served with housemade focaccia. The second dish finds 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask paired with handmade gnocchi with a secret touch of vanilla, which chef enjoyed in the single malt. The pairing, accented by crisped, salty San Daniele ham, opens up the fruitiness of the whisky in delightful ways.

Till 20 Dec. By prior reservations. #01-02, 36 Purvis St. Tel: 6837 1468

 

The Macallan Private Dining Experience

As part of The Macallan Experience at The Raffles Hotel Singapore, an ultra private dining room has been created behind a secret door. Beautifully decked out with a custom chandelier centrepiece from Space Furniture, the room currently takes bookings of up to five persons.

The dinners are curated by Pierre Burgade, Executive Chef of Raffles Hotel Singapore, and features cuisine from La Dame de Pic, yì by Jereme Leung and Chef Rémy Lefebvre at Butcher’s Block on a rotating basis. November sees yì by Jereme Leung, December sees Butcher’s Block and January is when La Dame de Pic takes centrestage (thereafter the cycle repeats). Bookings for November and December are already sold out, but January dates will be available in early December. There are two options of pairings: a flight of Double Cask and Edition No.6, or the rarer bottlings of Exceptional Single Cask.

At our preview dinner showcasing The Macallan x La Dame De Pic, we were treated to the current Autumn menu, with a pairing comprising Edition No. 6, the Double Cask 12 Years Old, 15 Years Old and 18 Years Old. Service was seamlessly executed by the Raffles Hotel Singapore team, from the serving of whisky to the exacting freshness of each dish. The  first appetiser, sea urchin from Hokkaido served with roasted barley and fine Granny Smith jelly and tamarillo was the kind of flavour packed yet delicate dish that demanded a subtle whisky. The Edition No. 6 rose to the occasion, providing a creamy, toasty backdrop to the brininess of the uni.

The next dish, signature berlingots were filled with French cheese, juxtaposed against kombu broth with beetroot and pu’er, and this is where the Double Cask 15 Years Old really stood out. Meanwhile, a monkfish meuniere with pumpkin variation and light saffron broth again called for the Edition No. 6, showing its affinity for seafood. For the main course of A5 Saga Wagyu, it was the Double Cask 18 Years Old that had the dark chocolate and spice notes, with a touch of tannins, to give a long finish alongside the premium marbled beef that was cooked over coals.

There often isn’t a straightforward method of pairing whisky with meals, which made it more fun as we were served all four whiskies at the same time, and could go back and forth to try each whisky as we preferred. With the Macallan Experience bar just next door, it could be a tempting opportunity to try different expressions (at an additional cost) as well.

Reservations for January will begin in early December. #01-04 to 10 Raffles Arcade, 328 North Bridge Rd. Book the dinner here

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