Sister restaurants, Stoked and Flint, are two of our favourites in the city for their simple cooking techniques with high quality ingredients, but equally so for their expertly chosen wine selection at incredibly good prices.
Featuring two cracking US wineries, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars from Napa Valley and Chateau Ste Michelle from Washington State, the Damansara location, Stoked Restaurant and Bar, recently wowed us once again with their gourmet flair.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars came to fame for the first release of the 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon as it bested some of the top chateaux in the world – namely Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau Mouton Rothschild at the infamous Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976.
Growing further inland in a cooler climate, wines from Chateau Ste Michelle exhibit a more spirited crispness and elegance in the mouth, and this is the way we begin, with a glass of bubbly: Domaine Ste Michelle Brut NV, Columbia Valley. Made from a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot gris, it weaves flavours of winter fruits in light lacy bubbles around the mouth departing with keen acidity. A trio of canapés allow us to experiment with different pairings for the wine: babaganoush and pecans; prawn avocado and summer truffle; and smoked duck breast with tamago. Threaded with a mild smokiness, it’s the nut and eggplant bite that gets my pick for best match for the bubbly.
Mr. David Andrews, Asia Pacific Sales Manager for both labels guides us through the dinner with his tasting notes and anecdotes from the vineyards. When I communicate my fondness of a regular glass of effervescence, he reassures my enthusiasm noting that he too likes to drink bubbly “on days that end with a y.”
Sweet Japanese Prawns are dulcet slithers of smoothness. A touch of tropical fruitiness is given with a lychee partner, and a seasoning of black garlic and shellfish oil balances it out with a gentle addition of savoury. A dry Eroica Riesling 2014 pairs well with the Asian elements of this dish and counterpoises the fruit with its soft mineral notes. The wine’s crisp acidity clears away the fine film of oil in our mouths, readying our palate for the next dish.
Even though the leaner breast meat has been used in the locally sourced, Slow Cooked Free Range Chicken, it has been prepared expertly keeping the meat tender and moist. Caviar, grilled lettuce and lettuce broth make for an unusual combination, and a tarpaulin of foam covers the top. The Stag’s Leap Karia Chardonnay 2014 is a terrific match for the chicken. A rich bouquet of citrus, yellow peach and vanilla, is followed with apple and pear in the mouth, a medium body and good texture. A gentle minerality is stabilized by the acidity leaving the mouth in a fresh egress.
Lightly seared on the crust and pink in the middle, Roasted Atlantic Salmon makes good mates with polenta, maitake tempura and capsicum. While some guests were surprised at the chosen pairing of red with fish when previewing the menu, after trying the big dark fruit flavours of Chateau Ste Michelle’s 2012 Cold Creek Merlot, opinions were soon swayed. Fruit fills the nose and mouth with levels of complexity, and rich black current and whispers of the barrel are evident on the palate, easing into a long harmonious ending. Many participants sign up immediately to take a few bottles home, taking full advantage of the generous discounts Stoked is offering.
Meats are treated with such tender care at Stoked and the Bertha oven finishes them off to perfection. Smoked and Braised Grain-Fed Angus Short Ribs are a prime example with their juicy flesh and delicately caramelized edges. Dauphinoise potatoes and broccollini provide the veg, and natural jus, no more, is all that is needed to complete the dish.
What we’ve all been waiting for is the Stags’ Leap Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Not the year, but the same infamous label that eclipsed some of Bordeaux’s top chateaux, is a treat for any wine connoisseur. Dark cherries and the smooth aromas of vanilla are found in the bouquet, which carries over to the palate, culminating with a medium body and velvety tannins lingering through to a long scrumptious finish.
Something new we became aware of on a recent stint at wine school in Bordeaux is the trend toward serving dessert alone, that is, without a wine pairing. The thinking goes that a dessert wine with a sweet finish is too overwhelming. We do like that the chosen Roasted Plum however doesn’t exclude alcohol altogether and the Cognac cream sauce it’s drizzled with is very tasty. A crumble with gingko nuts supplies a change in texture. This dessert certainly pleased many guests, but I’m a sucker for Stoked’s sticky toffee pudding. If given the chance for two desserts, it would definitely make an appearance on my plate.
Coffee completes our meal with a pretty arrangement of petit fours.
Unfortunately the guided experience with these two wineries was for one night only. Wines from the paired menu however are available at Stoked, Vintry and sister outlet Flint in Ampang. If this type of experience interests you, be sure to sign up for the group’s newsletter to be in the know for future events.
Reasons to visit: excellent selection of wines handpicked by the experts; regular wine dinner events with a guide are a chance to expand your knowledge and your palate; quality ingredients simply prepared in the Bertha oven.
Stoked Restaurant and Bar
120-122 Jalan Kasah
50490 Kuala Lumpur
+6 (03) 2096 1645