Friday, June 11, 2010

# Hyatt # LiLi

Pascal Jolivet White Expressions at Hyatt's LiLi

Wine glasses with labels

Out of the wine dinners I've had in the past, this wine dinner is quite intimate. Intimate in the sense that everyone get to know each other within an hour before the actual sit down dinner. It started by calling everyone to a small room where there's a table with platters of Crispy Deep Fried Enoki Mushrooms, empty large soy dishes and chopsticks. Ms.Monette Atilano of Wine Depot invited everyone to get an empty soy dish, a pair of chopsticks and Crispy Deep Fried Enoki Mushrooms. As people were getting the mushrooms, Mr. Edouard Demptos (F&B Director of Hyatt) directed the servers to give everyone a glass of 2009 Attitude Sauvignon Blanc.

(L-R) Atty., Victor (of Wine Depot), a guest, Chef Roland Laudico,
Brett Tolhurst (owner of Wine Depot) and Edouard Demptos (F&B Director of Hyatt)

Crispy Deep Fried Enoki Mushrooms and 2009 Attitude Sauvignon Blanc

While eating the mushrooms and drinking wine, everyone started chatting in the small room. Pascal Jolivet, the winemaker, went around and mingled with everyone. Despite being famous, he talked to everyone in the room personally. Strangers also started to become friends. Old friends introduced to each other their newly-made friends. It suddenly became a community inside the room. A magical start to a delightful meal ahead.

LiLi's utensils and plate that give the restaurant a homey environment.
These utensils and plates can be bought at their lobby's souvenir shop.

After the small room bonding, the servers directed everyone to the main dining area where new and old friends sat together. I sat together with my newly found friend Laurie Reyes (PR of Hyatt) with an old friend Monette and my boss, Ms. Denise. I learned from Laurie that LiLi is actually inspired by the house of LiLi so the interiors looks like as if it's an old Chinese house lifted from a historic Chinese movie. I think the venue complements the sense of community that Wine Depot did for this wine dinner.

(L-R) Leon (GM of Manila Hotel), Pascal Jolivet, a guest, Victor (of Wine Depot)

We were first served a selection of Chinese Appetizers - cold sweet braised beef, jellyfish, crispy but not oily with tender meat slice of suckling pig and pieces of very flavorful soy chicken. A very thick and full of aroma Pumpkin Roasted and Seafood Soup came in next. These dishes were paired with 2009 Attitude Sauvignon Blanc which has a light sweet citrous note and a tarty finish.

Selection of Chinese Appetizers

Lobster and Sweet Shrimp Sashimi was a good choice to follow the soup since these are light in flavor and clears the thickness of the soup. I personally love sashimi and wasabi. Usually, I can eat wasabi by itself because there are a lot of wasabi nowadays that doesn't taste as hot as before. However, LiLi's wasabi is quite strong. I love how I just put a little wasabi on my sashimi and the taste bursts in my mouth! The lobster and shrimp are very fresh which makes me crave for more however, there will be more food later on which might make me regret if I ask for another round of sashimi so I just enjoyed eating this dish slowly. It was paired with 2009 Pouilly Fume Pascal Jolivet which was a little sweet, a little salty with a long salty finish which made the sashimi taste in your mouth last.

Lobster and Sweet Shrimp Sashimi

Another favorite of mine, the Imperial Peking Duck came in next. The skin is very crunchy with soft meat which was not oily and their Hoisin sauce was not too sweet so you can still taste the smokey flavor of the duck. It was also paired with 2009 Pouilly Fume Pascal Jolivet which made me notice that this wine is good for light flavored salty food because it makes the taste of the food last longer in your tougue. This wine made the enjoyment of these food longer thus, stops the craving for more. A nice way to stop one from eating more.

Imperial Peking Duck,
2009 Pouilly Fume Pascal Jolivet with Monette (of Wine Depot) at the background

I noticed that the chef of LiLi is very good in making crunchy food with soft and tasty inside because of the next Coated Fish on Sweet and Sour Pineapple Sauce dish. It has a crunchy breading but the meat of the fish is soft, juicy and has a hint of ginger to lessen the seafood taste. The sweet sauce complements the light ginger taste inside which made it tangy. This dish was paired with my favorite wine of the night, the 2009 Sancerre Pascal Jolivet, that has a flower scent, light citrous note and a clean finish. The wine is also perfect for the following Wok-baked Prawns with Onion, Spring Onion and Scallion dish since it rinses the heavy seafood and onion taste of the dish. The prawns also has a crunchy sweet breading. It's a bit chewy and firm which means the prawns were cooked just right.

Coated Fish on Sweet and Sour Pineapple Sauce and 2009 Sancerre Pascal Jolivet,

Wok-baked Prawns with Onions, Spring Onions and Scallion

I also paired 2009 Sancerre Pascal Jolivet to the next Fried Rice with Seafood and Dried Scallops dish since it has seafood however, the seafood here did not have a strong seafood taste so the clean finish cleared the taste of the fried rice right away. This fried rice is not like the regular Chinese fried rice. It lacks saltiness which must be provided by the dried scallops however, the dried scallops were not enough to strengthen the salty taste. I think if there are more dried scallops, it would be better. The rice came with Braised Assorted Fungus and Vegetables with Bamboo Pith and Wok-fried Minced Duck with Lettuce Wrap. The Braised Assorted Fungus and Vegetables with Bamboo Pith is actually a famous Chinese vegetarian dish which is known to have a clear and light taste. Eating it together with the duck is good since the duck is crunchy, flavorful and its light taste complements it. I've paired this with 2008 Pouilly Fume Indigene which has a strong grapefruit note, quite sour taste with a sour long finish and cleans the taste of duck meat.

Fried Rice with Seafood and Dried Scallops,
Braised Assorted Fungus and Vegetables with Bamboo Pith,
Wok-fried Minced Duck with Lettuce Wrap

The desserts are the most awaited part of the meal. It is Mango Pudding, Mango Coulis, Sesame Tiles with a Chinese pastry called White Chocolate Malachi. This dessert was paired with 2008 Sancerre Blanc Sauvage which has a dry light citrous taste that lingers on your throat. The mango pudding has sweet glorious mango bits that makes one forget everything but the mango. The sesame tiles is crunchy but not hard and it doesn't stick to your teeth. A favorite of my boss is the White Chocolate Malachi. The skin is quite thick so when you use chopsticks to get it, it would not break but it's still soft. Eat the malachi in one bite and let the white chocolate burst in your mouth. The desserts are really worth the wait.

Mango Pudding, Mango Coulis, Sesame Tile,
White Chocolate Masachi

It was a another great wine dinner organized by Wine Depot. I actually told Monette at the end of the meal that I have never thought Chinese food can be paired with white wine. It is usually the red wines that I see people drink with their food in Hong Kong and China however, the White Expressions wine dinner in LiLi truly made its expression that we have a choice to use white wines in enjoying a Chinese lauriat.

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