Headed over to Imperial China in Subang Jaya for the Tai Thong Whisky Pairing with FIFTYSIX DEGREES whisky on 30 October 2015. I attended the launch of FIFTYSIX DEGREES whisky earlier this year (which you can read here – https://timchew.net/2015/04/07/fiftysix-degrees-whisky-launch-at-marble-8/) and since then the brand has been pretty active in the local market, partnering with various brands including the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival, and now Tai Thong.
This dinner was one in the series of three (3) whisky pairing dinners featuring a 6-course delicate dinner paired with FIFTYSIX DEGREES whisky. Before dinner we were served with two (2) different types of FIFTYSIX DEGREES whisky cocktails, and also pre-dinner Snacks including the Crispy Crab Dumpling with Wasabi Dressing and the Deep-fried Pumpkin and Lotus Root with Salted Egg. Both were nice and savoury and went well with the cocktails. Of course I’m not much of a cocktail person so after trying both types I switched to whisky on the rocks.
3 Specialty Appetizers
Lobster with Fresh Fruit Salad with Italian Vanilla Dressing
Sliced Chicken with Foie Gras and Almond
Crab with Roasted Sesame Sauce wrapped in Egg Roll, topped with Shredded Coconut and Fish Roe
Oh my! How often do you have lobster and foie gras in a Chinese menu? Quite a decadent start to the meal. The foie gras was used with restraint though as I’m guessing that many traditional Chinese patrons are not really accustomed to its taste. It was thinly spread on the sliced chicken to give it an earthy flavour without being too overpowering. This element of the dish went well with the whisky, the others not so much. The lobster was great and so was the crab egg roll.
Double-boiled Village Chicken Soup with Apricot Kernels and Snow Pear
Pretty much the only ” healthy” dish in this special menu. The addition of apricot and the snow pear gave this soup extra sweetness and was a departure from the normal double boiled soups normally served in Chinese restaurants. Now as this dinner follows hot on the heels of Tai Thong’s Western influenced Chinese special menu during the recent mooncake festival, I believe it’s a new direction for the chain and I really welcome it. You need to have some innovation to stay ahead of your competitors!
Spice Roast Suckling Pig
This dish was paired with a chilled Ambarella Juice Shooter which served as somewhat of a palate cleanser. This dish was only on the table for two (2) minutes before we finished every last piece of juicy suckling pig with the wonderfully crispy and flavourful crackling. This was THE dish of the night and went fantastically well with the whisky!
Yin Yang Estuary Tiger Grouper grilled with Caramelized Onion & sautéed with XO Sauce, Celery and Apple
Some Western influence here with the addition of celery and apple slices which gave the dish a nice balance.
Braised Abalone (14 head), Sea Cucumber stuffed with Tuna & “Wanton”
No expensive Chinese dinner will be complete with abalone. Pictured above is an individual portion of the dish. The sea cucumber stuffed with tuna was an interesting item.
Chilled Layered Dessert of Black Sesame, Mango and Fresh Milk
Mini Pumpkin Dumpling with Sweet Potato and Cheese
Sweet Corn Bun sprinkled with Cocoa Powder
It’s nice to see Chinese desserts become more sophisticated and this was a good example of just that. Everyone at the table was so impressed by the Sweet Corn Bun shaped as a mushroom, and the Pumpkin Dumpling shaped like a little pumpkin. They tasted good too although I can’t say that sweet desserts pair well with whisky so we had this then the whisky after.
To me it was not so much a whisky pairing dinner that I’m accustomed to where each individual dish goes with a different variant of whisky. Can’t really fault them as at the moment there’s only one (1) variant of FIFTYSIX DEGREES whisky. I think this dinner was more like a special menu that come along with whisky which you can partake during the meal or bring home. The suckling pig and the 3 appetizers were the stars of this meal which also highlighted the whisky as being a drinking whisky – able to be made into cocktails or had with a meal.
The dinner was priced at RM1,888.00 and was inclusive of two (2) bottles of FIFTYSIX DEGREES whisky.
For more information, you can reach Tai Thong via: