How I experienced 12 more reasons to love the Chef’s Table Dinners at Pepper & Salt Restaurant, Soi Khao Talo, Pattaya.
I rate culinary perfection and wine pairing highly and for this reason return to Pepper & Salt on Khao Talo whenever they are holding their Private Chef’s Table wine pairing dinners. Sometimes I wonder what new exciting delicacies Celebrity Chef Fredi can create and will the wine variations further exceed my expectations. Well, they continue to enchant and amaze me, and here are 12 more reasons to love the Chef’s Table Wine Dinners at Pepper & Salt!
The delights for this evenings special Private Chef’s Table by celebrity Chef Fredi commenced with Smoked Salmon & Tuna Roll with Herb flavoured Cream Cheese, Pesto and Wasabi Sauce served on toasted French Bread. A delicately presented dish that was most pleasing to the eye. The Salmon glistened with freshness and teased the palate with it remarkable flavours. The herb cream cheese however, complemented the salmon while slightly over-powering the tuna. The drops of wasabi could have been stronger in flavour whilst the Pesto added new dimensions. The toasted French Bread remained crispy providing an excellent base for this remarkable entrée.
Intriguingly paired with a champagne Paul Dangin & Fils, Couvée Carte Or, Brut from the village of Celles-sur-Ource. The blend of 95% Pinot Noir and 5% Chardonnay produces a fruity yet elegant Champagne. Pale yellow in colour the effervescence emerged with a lovely persistence, hence the Champagne flute. Fine and elegant on the nose and balanced, silky and creamy on the palate. A creative pairing that worked well with the smoked salmon and pesto.
Chef Fredi is a magician with soup turning a conventional dish into an orgasm of the taste buds. The Creamy French Onion and Mushroom Soup titillated the taste buds with an initialessence of a traditional French onion soup that then turned creamy with an intensive mushroom flavour. It was as if the tastes had been compartmentalised to then blend on the tongue. A true masterpiece of soup ingenuity.
Planeta Etna Bianco is an intriguing wine from the black sand in the heart of the Etnean wine cultivation on the island of Sicily. 100% Carricante grapes and grown at altitude on Mount Etna and rated 92 points by James Suckling. The nose is delicate with hints of acacia flowers, almonds and mountain peaches. On the palate lively, juicy and hull of hints of yellow plums and prickly pear. A very interesting wine from a progressive Etna winery and awarded 92 points from James Suckling. The subtle power of the wine successfully balanced the intense flavours of the soup.
The Quiche Lorraine with Bacon & Onion served with a Parmesan-Basil foam and crispy Pancetta Flakes. Again, another commonplace staple turned into a culinary adventure. The crust of the Quiche was on another level, incredibly crisp and crunchy, yet it literally ‘melted on the tongue’. The delicate filling of eggs, bacon and onions blended to form intricate flavours assisted by the glorious Parmesan-Basil Foam. Through previous dinners I have grown to greatly appreciate the subtle use of Parmesan, from the Pepper & Salt kitchen, this time in a foam!
From the same Feudo di Mezzo winery in the heart of Etna’s wine area, the Planeta Etna Rosso was made from 100% Nerello Mascalese grapes and scored 93 points by James Suckling. Bright ruby with moderate hues and medium body it was an explosion of ripe fruits and flowers on the nose. Substantial and smooth with complex aromatic elements on the palate. An exceptional 14% wine that encouraged the flavours of the Quiche Loraine to sparkle, especially the parmesan-basil foam.
A brief respite for the taste buds was offered by the subtle cooling flavours of the Lemon Grass Sorbet with a hint of Vodka.
To follow was the Australian Angus Beef Tenderloin on a bed of Lasagne served with Autumn Vegetables, Morels and Madeira Sauce. Whilst the lasagne was perfect and full of flavour it was almost superfluous for this dish as the perfectly prepared Tenderloin was so tender and impeccably complemented by the elegant Madeira sauce and the crunch Morels. The flavours combined to bring out the very best of each individual taste with the perfectly steamed Autumn vegetables brought colour and additional flavours to this exceptional dish.
Wondering which wine could follow we were enchanted with the exceptional Poliziano in Violas Cortona from Tuscany, rates 93 points by Jmes Suckling. 15% and deep ruby red made from the Cortona Merlot grape. Only produced since 2004 this oenological project now produces exceptional wine. Notes of cherry & vanilla embellished with light tobacco. Elegant and intensive on the palate the In Violas closes on a finish of remarkable persistence. Perfect pairing!
The Chef was not done with us, and his next creation was astonishing, Prosciutto wrapped and baked Brie with Basil, Chives, sun-dried Tomatoes, Honey and Walnuts. Looking almost ominous, this dish revealed its secrets once cut open and the melting Brie could escape! Once more, the combinations of flavours from the roasted prosciutto, Brie, basil, chives, sun-dried tomatoes and nuts being superbly integrated to accomplish yet another delicious fusion of tastes.
The La Spinetta ‘Piccolo Derthona was another enlightenment for the author. The first time that I experienced the Timorasso grape and the first time that I had seen a rhinoceros on a label! The Timorasso is an ancient indigenous grape variety from Piedmonte and the pale lemon colour with aromas of grapefruit, honey and green apple perfectly paired the high acidity with the saltiness of the prosciutto and brie. Medium bodied the flavour and texture lead to a vibrant long finish. Yet another example of the incredible creativeness of the Pepper & Salt team!
One has become accustomed to superb desserts in the Pepper & Salt/Crush establishment and the Le Bakery Vanilla Panna Cotta with fresh Berries, White chocolate Chips and Red Currant Ice Cream did not disappoint! The refined flavours of the Panna Cotta indicated the correct usage of Vanilla pods with the home-made Red Currant Ice Cream providing a tart contrast. Fresh berries, mint leaves and white chocolate chips combined to encourage the receptors in our palate to release surges of dopamine, the feeling of pleasure associated with sweet tastes.
Dessert wines are often a challenge and this evening it was the task of the Moonlight & Roses Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rose to close this culinary experience. A delightful blend of Cinsault, Grenache & Syrah grapes with a sensual pink hue, the nose was elegant with light notes of red fruits. Excellent length on the palate with long lasting fruit aromas to perfectly complement the complexity of the Panna Cotta.
Once again Celebrity Chef Fredi delved into his cookbook of experience and produced six exciting dishes to be paired, par excellence, with six exceptional wines, including two new grape variations. Executive Chef Albert and his team at Pepper & Salt toiled relentlessly in the kitchen to execute perfection on the plates of the dinner guests. Creatively in pairings with exceptional wines, served perfectly by the Pepper & Salt waitress team it was yet another evening of delight in discovering new culinary delights. Congratulations to all involved for another excellent evening of Haute Cuisine.
Kim Waddoup enjoyed a lifetime in the tourism business and is an active ‘Silver-Ager” living in Thailand. He writes for his age group with high varied articles covering subjects relevant to retirees living in, or visiting Thailand. Any questions or comments on this post? Please do feel free to contact me through our ‘Contact Form’ or directly [email protected]