This Thai wine dinner last May 3 at Benjarong, Dusit Thani Manila was quite impressive. Dubbed as “Epicurean: A Thai Gastronomic Journey,” it featured Thanintorn Chantharawan “Chef Noom” of Michelin-starred restaurant Chim by Siam Wisdom; Visootha Lohitnavy “Nikki,” oenologist and winemaker of GranMonte; and Watcharapon Yongbanthom “Chef Ja,” Benjarong Manila’s Thai Chef de Cusine. We enjoyed the dinner so much. Plus, it gave us a new appreciation of fine Thai cuisine in Manila. Here’s a photo essay of the gastronomic Thai dinner at Benjarong… First Things First We usually arrive on time to enjoy the cocktails and meet new friends. Loved this Thai bubbly made from Asoke Valley in Khao Yai, Thailand. Stanley Lo, General Manager of Dusit Thani Manila, gave a warm welcome to open this awesome Thai Wine Dinner.
6-Course Thai Wine Pairing Dinner Ate the miang kham first, which had with a nutty and bitter aftertaste, before enjoying the light salad of eggplant slices and salmon bits. Different flavors teased your mouth and opened it for the Thai flavors ahead. It was refreshing, velvety and lingering dry finish, which was nice to start on its own or to pair with the light salad. Loved the new Benjarong restaurant now on the ground floor of Dusit, with an open kitchen, fine Thai interiors and spacious layout. Perfectly seared scallop with salmon caviar, eggplant mousse, pumpkin puree and squid ink mesh. You can add more chili to taste if you prefer your Thai food spicy. A crisp wine pairing for the seafood with just a hint of sweetness and refreshing finish. Coconut Crab soup with crisp betel leaf, a blue flower, noodles and crab drumstick on the side. Loved this crab soup with noodles both for its presentation and flavor. I just loved how the Gran Monte wines pair with the Thai spices and flavors without overpowering them. Not your usual palate cleanser, using sweet cherry tomatoes in plum wine. Galing! The Benjarong culinary team—happy to assemble and serve the dishes quickly. Pork cheeks curry—best eaten with a bit of fruit, tomato and chili. Full-bodied Syrah with black fruit notes, powerful tannins and a lingering finish. Ulang served with spiced curry sauce and coconut milk. So good you’d want to lick the sauce off the skin and pair it with the rice. Loved the transparent gelatine presentation that highlighted the soursop flavors and different textures to enjoy. Yum! Yum! A sweet wine finish to clean the palate from the spiciness and the Thai curries. Colorful petit-four ending to cap an awesome dinner.
Final Thoughts Congratulations to Chef Noom, Chef Ja, Nikki and the Benjarong Culinary team! All the flavors were on point, pairing nicely with Thai wine, and the presentations were vibrant. We were impressed with the Thai wines and it was awesome to meet the Gran Monte winemaker. I do hope Benjarong continues these Thai Wine Dinner series with other notable Thai chefs. Congratulations! Live an Awesome Life, Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Dusit Thani Marketing Team. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights. P.S. If Thailand can grow wines from noble grapes, can we also grow our own here in the Philippines? For more info about Gran Monte, please visit http://www.granmonte.com/.