Location: Verandah Restaurant, Cunard Queen Elizabeth
Host(s): Dinesh Kathiresan, Chief Sommelier and James Abilash Executive Chef
Dinner Price: $150/person
Comments: Wine tasting is always fun but wine-pairing with dinner is even more so. On our recent cruise to the Baltic and St. Petersburg the Queen Elizabeth offered a wine paring dinner in the Verandah Restaurant hosted by the Chief Sommelier Dinesh Kathiresan and Executive Chef James Abilash. The dinner consisted of seven courses paired with seven wines1. The Verandah restaurant is known for its fine cuisine and service as well as its menu featuring fresh ingredients with a French flair and it lived up to its reputation.
Pigeon breast with bitter chocolate sauce may give you a hint at the tasty treats that made up the menu but every dish was a gourmet treat and beautifully presented. The wines were equally as good with six from France and one from Spain. Each was paired with a dish to either complement or contrast with it. Sommelier Kathiresan explained the reasons for each pairing before the wine was served and then walked among the guests, each seated at their own private table, to answer questions as the guests enjoyed the pairing. The most outstanding pairing was Duck Foie Gras with Pears, cooked “au Torchon”, served with Nougot Brulee and paired with 2006 Carmes de Rieussec wine from Sauternes, France. The foie gras was thick and luscious, the wine super-fragrant, rich, sweet, and with enough acidity to completely clear the palate. This pairing was really very special; the food and wine enhanced each other and the experience of the two together was really unforgettable.
The whole pairing experience was unique and enjoyable. The restaurant has wonderful ambience with window views acorss the sea; couples were seated at their own table with plenty of space between tables, the wait staff was attentive and efficient, and the sommelier informative and personable. The food portions were generous but not overwhelming but the wine pourings could have been more generous. Needless to say we enjoyed this wine pairing dinner VERY much…both the food and wine were memorable…we and would recommend it to anyone on a Queen Elizabeth cruise.
1. Menu and Wine:
Lobster and Shellfish Salad with Avocado and Vine-ripened Tomato Jelly
Wine: Billecart-Salmon Burt, Mareuil-sur-Ay, France NV
Duck Foie Gras with Pears, Cooked “au Torchon”, served with Nougat Brulee
Wine: Carmes de Rieussec, Sauternes, France 2006
Scallops and Langoustines sauteed in a Lime Butter with Herb-printed Pasta, Creamy and Frothy Boletus Emulsion
Wine: Puligny-Montrachet, Les Enseigners, Domaine Roux Pere et Fils, Burgundy, France 2010
Roast Pigeon Breast, Endive, Chestnyuts and Quince, “Gerand Veneur” Sauce and Bitter Chocolate
Wine: Gevrey-Chambertin, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Rossignol-Trapet, Burgundy, France 2008
Orgabnic Beef Fillet sauteed with Morel Mushrooms, Baby Vegetables with Black Truffle, Souffle Potatoes, Maderia Glaze
Wine: Chateau Cos d’Estournel, Second Growth, St. Estephe, France 1999
Selection of Cheese
Wine: Condado de Haza, Bodegas Fernandez, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2007
Our Chef’s Artists Palate
Wine: Jurancon, La Magendia, Clos Lapeyre, France 2008