Dinner paired with cocktails

The Disgruntled Chef's Foie Gras Ricotta Beef Meatballs in tomato ragout, paired with a Kyoho Mary, which is the restaurant's spin on the traditional Bloody Mary cocktail.
The Disgruntled Chef's Foie Gras Ricotta Beef Meatballs in tomato ragout, paired with a Kyoho Mary, which is the restaurant's spin on the traditional Bloody Mary cocktail.PHOTO: THE DISGRUNTLED CHEF

A new food festival features 11 restaurants offering set dinners paired with cocktails

Wine dinners happen practically every night of the week but cocktail ones are rare.

A new food festival, called Gastro + Tipple, is set to change that.

For the next three months, 11 restaurants will offer set dinners, pairing each dish with a cocktail. The meals are priced at $89++ for Maybank cardholders and $138++ for others.

It is the latest festival by Sphere Exhibits, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, and Poulose Associates. Sphere Exhibits' other festivals and projects include Gourmet Japan, Gusto Italiano and Salon Gourmet.

Mr Francis Poulose, 47, managing director of Poulose Associates, says: "We wanted to try something new by doing cocktail pairings instead of wine.

"We chose affordable restaurants, not high-end ones, because our target audience are the emerging affluent crowd, such as people who just started their careers and like to kick back after work with a drink in hand."

The restaurants use spirits from Gastro + Tipple's official partner, Pernod Ricard.

This list includes Martell VSOP cognac, Chivas 12 whisky, Beefeater 24 gin, Absolut Elyx vodka and Havana Club rum.

One of the restaurants taking part is The Disgruntled Chef at Dempsey Road.

Chef Daniel Sia, 39, worked with his team to design a four-course dinner menu with cocktails inspired by the taste of Japan.

For example, the appetiser is a chilled squid ink chawanmushi with oysters and champagne foam, paired with a Rosella Blossom cocktail, which is a mix of cognac, French rose syrup, lemon, rosella and egg white.

The next course is foie gras ricotta beef meatballs served with tomato ragout, paired with Kyoho Mary, which is The Disgruntled Chef's spin on the traditional Bloody Mary drink. The cocktail has Kyoho grape juice in addition to tomato juice.

Sia says: "The acidity of the cocktails serves to complement the saltiness of the dishes; particularly the Kyoho Mary, since there's tomato in both the cocktail and the main dish. There's a play on coarse and smooth textures for diners.

"Both these cocktails are a bit lighter and fruitier because they start off the meal. However, for the main course, we decided to do a more alcohol-heavy drink to go with the pan-roasted tenderloin.

"We pair it with a stiff whisky- based drink, which also has a smoky flavour that matches the strong taste of the meat."

Over at Caribbean restaurant-bar Bumbo Rum Club, all the dishes, designed by head chef Damien Le Bihan, 35, will be paired with rum-based cocktails.

Diners can choose either pork shoulder or a pan-fried sea bass for the main course, and the cocktail is made with Havana Rum 7 Year Old with a dash of Malibu rum, lime juice and chili padi.

Mr Paolo Randone, 48, general manager of the Deliciae Group, which owns the restaurant, says: "This cocktail works with both mains, because the chili padi adds a local twist and an unexpected kick to the tastebuds to spice up the dish.

"It's heavy on the alcohol, so it goes well with the heaviness of the mains."

Dessert is sweet nachos, which are crunchy pastries that taste like fried tortillas, served with chocolate sauce, cream and berries. It will be paired with the Bumrom cocktail, made with red berry infused Havana Rum, mint and soda.

Mr Randone says: "We wanted to recreate a mojito and to end off the meal with something refreshing. Then customers will not feel so bloated, and might even buy more drinks after that."

Other participating restaurants include Bedrock Bar And Grill at Pan Pacific Orchard, Salt Tapas And Bar at Raffles City, OCF at the Arts House and UNA at One Rochester.

  • Gastro + Tipple will be held from tomorrow to Nov 27 at various restaurants and costs $89++ for Maybank cardholders and $138++ for others. Go to gastroandtipple.com for more information.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 23, 2015, with the headline 'Dinner paired with cocktails'. Print Edition | Subscribe