BRASSERIE 9 was uncharted territory for many of the 20 diners but all found it to be an excellent choice. Luca Sigg, F&B Manager and his team performed outstandingly and left all very satisfied by their efforts.
Proceedings started on the ground floor with tasty nibbles and lots of Valentin Zusslin Crémant d’Alsace NV. Some found this “Brut Zéro” sparkling wine a little too dry for their taste, though most enjoyed the crisp and fresh flavour profile offered by this blanc de blancs blend of mainly Pinot Auxerrois with Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.
Moving upstairs, we settled into a spacious dining room with a refreshingly simple but elegant décor, and were served an amuse bouche, King Crab Filled Egg with caviar topping. Jim Morrison, our first-time food spokesman, enjoyed this and, even more so, the “B9 Pan Seared Foie Gras” with grapes, jus and brioche.
Paired with these dishes came Two Paddocks Riesling 2016 (NZ) and wine spokesman, Kim Walker, in a characteristically witty exposé accused vineyard owner Sam Neill “Lime, loquat, spicy wild flower aromatics followed by a warm, citrus driven flavour profile showing great length, texture and drive” of confusing this with the taste of a Snickers Bar or worse, Ronaldo’s underwear. Becoming more serious he found the wine excellent.
We next enjoyed Chef Kenny’s Lobster bisque, earning high praise from Jim, which came with Koehler Ruprecht Kallstadter Riesling Spätlese 2015 (Pfalz, Germany), a much-appreciated Riesling which some of us thought might have made an even better match for the Foie Gras than the Two Paddocks. This delicious, off-dry Riesling, popped with energetic, high-toned and freshly spicy flavours to go along with pure fruit and succulent savour.
A palate-cleansing Passion fruit Delight followed, the tartness of which left many puckering their lips not just in anticipation of the main course: Slow Braised Wagyu cheek served with baby carrots, onion and mashed potato. This was prepared faultlessly and the serving a generous one.
To accompany the beef we had Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape 2015 (Rhône, France). It took me a few sips to decide if I really liked this but once the food arrived, I found it quite acceptable. Kim took us in a totally different direction; his research revealed that historically wine was made in monasteries and measured in “butts” - both now figuring rather too frequently in the press.
Our sweet course was Warm Valrhona Chocolate Tart served with homemade vanilla ice cream and it was again adjudged by Jim, not normally a dessert lover, to be excellent.
Finally, Mark Guthrie generously treated us to a wonderful selection of fine cheeses from the USA. These were a soft ripened goat-milk cheese (Humboldt Fog) from Cypress Grove CA, and four award-winning offerings from Jasper Hill Farm in VT (the washed-rind style cheeses Oma and
Willoughby, Bayley Hazen Blue, and bark-wrapped bloomy rind Harbison).
Each was more than a match for European versions of similar cheeses, and we enjoyed them together with Howard Park Miamup Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Margaret River, WA).
A tower of Assorted Mignardises, Coffees & Tea completed a really excellent meal. To show our appreciation, we invited Mark to present our thanks to the remaining members of the team and a collection of contributions from those present.