Monday, December 13, 2010
Infusion at Dempsey Pairs Whisky With Food
Infusion, previously the French-Japanese bistro at Dempsey, has revamped itself not only with a new chef and menu, but also a Scotch corner offering a wide range of whiskies.
There are some passionate folks behind this change. Infusion partner Andrew Skene who grew up in Aberdeen in Scotland, shared with us his enthusiasm and drive for bringing Scotch Whisky to South East Asia. Infusion also has a whisky sommelier Matthew Fergusson-Stewart who will be very happy to share his vast knowledge of the labels and recommend a whisky pairing.
Isn't it amazing how just three basic ingredients - barley, water and yeast - can yield such potent and highly prized drinks? And yes, these are also the same ingredients for beer, but beer is made by fermentation, whisky by distillation.
If you are a whisky lover, you're in for a treat. The whisky collection has some rare gems, including the Isle of Jura 1974 Vintage - only 600 bottles worldwide, and the only one in Singapore. Of course, there are plenty of other choices as well, and this is a great place to learn about whiskies if you are new like me too.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen we have Chef John See who was chief chef to former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and also chef for the F1 Ferrari team this year. He has taken the best from East and West to create what he calls "cuisine without boundaries". Some of these incorporate a touch of whisky and are designed to complement a dram or two of vintage Scotch.
During our media tasting, we had four courses paired with different whiskies.
Our starter was wild brown rice salad with semi-dry tomatoes, baby quail egg, Dalmore whisky aspic and citrus orange dressing. It was tasty in the way you wouldn't expect brown rice to be.
It was meant to go with the Dalmore Gran Reserve whisky from the highlands. This whisky has spicy and citrus undertones which went well with the orange dressing and salty tomatoes in the starter.
Next up was the soup. They presented first a well-plated grilled scallop and shrimp with Glenfarclas whisky creme and bouquet of shiso mix.
And then, they poured in the rich seafood bouillabaisse. Voila. Quite delicious. This is the sort of soup that makes you yearn for a bread roll to mop it all up with!
The Glenfarclas 15-year-old whisky from Speyside made a good companion, with its smoky and nutty aroma. It tastes a bit like a woodsy and masculine sherry. This turned out to be my favourite of the lot.
Main course: Confit of salt-herbed crusted duck leg timbale, with caramelized onion potatoes, arugula leaves and whisky-malted vinegar glaze. Another excellent dish that made me wish I could have seconds! The skin was crispy, and the flesh just right - not too salty.
This was paired with Jura Superstition from the Scottish Islands. The peatiness of the whisky proved just a tad too strong for me - it was to me almost like "mei cai" or preserved mustard greens. Others liken it to a hospital smell, thanks to the phenols within. But it was certainly interesting.
Dessert was a rich fruit cake with shot glass of whisky-vanilla ice cream.
Savour that with a sweet Bruadar Whisky Liquer (technically not a whisky but a single malt flavoured with honey and sloeberries).
So, will whisky become the new wine? We'll have to wait and see. At least now with Infusion's Scotch Corner, we have more varieties of whiskies to enjoy and learn about.
Infusion also has outdoor seating that's close to nature. Its total area of 16,000 square feet make it suitable for hosting events from corporate functions to wedding solemnisations or small group gatherings.
Note that for general dining, they are open for dinner only.
16A Dempsey Road
Tel: +65 6479-6188
Open Tue - Sun (6.30pm - 11pm)
P.S. Check out also Daniel Ang's blog and Hoongy's review on this same meal. I'm waiting to link to HungryCow's review too.
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