Shang Palace has been serving fine Cantonese, Shanghainese and Szechuan cuisine at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore for over 40 years. It was the venue for the Chateau Montelena wine pairing dinner in April 2016 and I was honoured to have attended this event.
Digress a little to give some history on this winery. If you seen the movie “Bottle Shock” (2008, starring Chris Pine and the late Alan Rickman) you might have an impression of Chateau Montelena. Back in the 70s, Napa Valley wasn’t known for wine-making and would not be considered as a serious wine-making region, especially when compared to the French winemakers. The Judgement of Paris 1976 changed the world’s view on Napa Valley wines forever as two Californian wines – Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 1973 and Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 1973 got the highest ratings against the French wines in a blind tasting judged by renowned wines connoisseurs from France. This historical event put Napa Valley on the map of wine making and the gentleman portrayed by Chris Pine in the movie, Mr Bo Barrett was present at this wine dinner.
Now back to the food! The menu itself was designed by Shang Palace’s Chef Steven Ng and reviewed by the winemakers as well. I was looking forward to be impressed.
The entire restaurant was full with over 100 patrons for the wine dinner. Service staff were very attentive even with the crowd – explaining and introducing the wines and dishes as they were served.
This first dish looked like a mini garden with the elegant presentation. The king crab meat inside the Osmanthus pudding was light with a refreshing sweetness that complemented the first white wine. Sea urchin with caviar could never go wrong together – and surprisingly went well with the Sauvignon Blanc. The crispy fish skin however was a little strong with that miso dressing for the wine, but so delicious on its own. Everyone at my table wanted seconds of that crispy fish skin.
When I have foie gras in wine pairing, it’s usually paired with sweeter wines rather than reds or a white wine like Chardonnay. Hence I was particularly curious about this pairing. With the umami-ness from the pan seared foie gras and the unique sweet sauce that the waitress said was Kung Pao inspired (宫保 – spicy stir-fry dish made with chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers), it was expectedly overwhelming the wine. The dish on its own was divine, I was enjoying every bite of it without the wine.
Another dish with perfect score on presentation. Chef Steven Ng had masterfully created a unique black bean sauce, giving the dish savoury flavours without too much weight, hence it really went well with the Zinfandel. Scallops were perfectly seasoned with crispy succulent greens that added the crunch and texture – this was my second favourite dish on the menu.
“Pik Fong Tong” is a cooking method of deep frying the seafood till it’s crispy golden and then stir fried with generous amounts of garlic, fermented black beans and chilli peppers. The lobster on its own would probably not go so well with the Cabernet Sauvignon but with that Parmesan Cheese stick, the lobster and wine both tasted delicious with that creaminess.
My favourite dish of the night had to be this – a copious amount of sautéed mushrooms on top of slightly sweet Japanese rice cake and a juicy piece of Wagyu beef drizzled with a light teriyaki-alike sauce without the coy sweetness. Every element of this dish complemented the Estate Cabernet Sauvignons we were having with it.
Lastly, we had the desserts – red bean paste pastry, crispy green tea dumpling and pumpkin pastry with the Riesling. It was a tad too much sugars with the Riesling, wasn’t particularly fond of either the desserts or the wine.
The dinner itself was SGD168++ for non Shang Rewards member and SGD$148++ for members. It was very worth the menu and wines that were featured (the wines cost an average of $200 per bottle if you do order from the restaurant). This wasn’t the first time I attended a wine pairing with Asian cuisine. That said, I was intrigued by Chef Steven Ng’s culinary creativity and definitely would love to revisit to try out their usual ala-carte menu.
22 Orange Grove Road
Lobby Level, Tower Wing
(65) 6213 4473/4398