Dead Cows In Zambuca At The Pan Pacific Hotel

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Vegetarians! Ignore the religious zealots (we put the “Fun” back in “fundamentalists”) who say that if God wanted us to be vegetarians, he would have given us more than one stomach and thicker tooth enamel. Sneer at the Darwinists who say that we eat meat because we are born with incisors like our ancestors. Who cares if vegetarianism goes against natural law? You have the right to believe in what you want. And you’d be pleased to know that the Dead Cow Society is dedicated to supporting vegetarians around the world by eradicating cows. One meal at a time.

And of course, there is nothing quite like a guys’ night out where we bring out the whiskey and wines that we hide from the women and eat pretty much what we damn well please.

Dinner plans started when we were seated next to Janice, the Wine Programme Manager for Zambuca at a dinner. This may surprise a lot of people but members of the Dead Cow Society have always had a memorable times at Zambuca. And let it be known that we don’t just walk into a restaurant and expect great food to automagically happen.

No. A lot of planning goes on behind the scenes. Janice was kind enough to talk to Chef Dennis Sim, Executive Chef of Zambuca to plan a meal within a budget that we gave her. As Zambuca is an Italian restaurant and not a steakhouse, they do not have regular access to specialty meats. So they could only obtain US Angus Beef with a minimum purchase of 4Kg. Tempting as that might be, we settled for Australian beef as we also wanted Chef Dennis to cook us his specialty risotto and leave room for dessert.

I was delighted to find that someone brought the Billecart-Salmon Rose Champagne as an aperitif as this is one of my favourite Champagnes. And I was grateful that the Cesar Salad was a light tasting portion just to warm up the palate in preparation for the wines we brought. There something delightful about poached quail’s egg and Champagne.

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There are many differing opinions about how risotto should be done, I usually break it down to just two components: taste and texture. My ideal risotto would be creamy without being unctous, and I like a little bit of complexity and contrast. The texture should not be too runny or wet nor should it be too sticky like a glutinous gloop, my ideal texture for a risotto would be something along the lines of a cream velouté sauce.

So how was the Porcini Risotto?

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While Chef Dennis was not present that night, the Porcini Risotto was every bit as good as we remembered it. The creamy richness was given a slight tartness by the slices of Parmigiano gave it good contrast while the mushrooms lent it a complex darkness that was reminiscent of the rich, mysterious undergrowth of a dew-drenched forest.

It had the right texture, creamy sauce that coated the mouth and enveloped the tongue with a velvet warmth. The only sounds around the table were happy sighs of contentment as all of us were in our own private universe.

We don’t usually have a wine theme for this dinner, unless you count “bring something special” as a wine theme. This is the night when we usually raid our wine fridges (and cellars for some members) for that “something special that we’ve been saving”.

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And what of the main course? Were we disappointed because we could not get the so-called “premium high-quality” beef?

Of course not.

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Wonderfully crisp (not burnt) on the outside and a pretty pink on the inside with flavours that were simply pure heaven. It’s been a long time since I’ve had steak that balanced taste and texture so well. Nice chewy texture that yielded easily to release a beefy almost sweet flavor that proceeded to melt in our mouths.

In short, Zambuca can do steak and can do it pretty damn good.

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The last DCS dinner of 2007 was also the most memorable. The food, to be sure, was superlative, but what gave the dinner that special sparkle was the excellent service. Not many restaurants have the full proper wine service and out of that few, most will carve pound of flesh from you for the privilege of its use. While we would like to take credit for the hard work and planning for such a success, the real work was done by Janice (Monday is BYO night!), Chef Dennis and the Zambuca team. Excellent.

Zambuca is at the Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard, Level 3, Singapore 039595, tel: 6337 8086

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Posted on 15th Feb 2008 in Dead Cow Society, Meat

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There Is Only 1 Comment So Far

 

ladyironchef commented on February 21, 2008 at 11:50 pm


the steak looks really good : ))


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