Snuggled in a corner of South Beach Tower lies Chinese restaurant Madame Fan. Marked by a red, lighted balloon on the outside, there’s a sense of warmth emanating from this posh venue, we were ready to dive into an evening that would meld East and West as Chinese cuisine was paired with French Bourgogne Premiers Crus, as we stepped into the chic world of Madame Fan.
Taking the elevator up a floor to the restaurant, there was a sese of mystery in the air, with dim lighting hiding its posh interiors. Possessing a large dining space, we imagined these great acoustics would be perfect for a live jazz band, while also noticing the many rooms around us no doubt used to organise private dinners.
Presented by The Vintage Club, as part of Voilah! 2019, tonight’s dinner was a small, intimate affair, with just 8 of us at the table, listening to Christophe Cazaux-Maleville, Founder of The Vintage Club. sharing his wealth of knowledge on the wines we would be discovering tonight. We started off the evening with our welcome wine, a Chamirey, Mercury White 2017. With the sharpness of the wine cutting through the humidity of Singapore. this was a great choice to kick start the evening with and left me refreshed, and my appetite whetted for the meal to come.
We began our meal with the Scallop Shumai, Chinese Chive Dumpling and Deep-Fried Prawn & Foie Gras Puff. Served with the Chamirey, Mercurey 1er Cru La Mission White 2016, this white helped complement the strong seafood flavours, each item beautifully cooked and making for a well-balanced meal.
The Steamed Silver Cod in Black Bean Sauce was up next. Cod is a fish I have always been wary of, requiring the chef to cook it perfectly to allow the naturally oily meat’s flavour to come out in full. Madame Fan did not disappoint, and besides the succulent meat, the skin was also perfectly prepared, the black bean sauce packed a punch, while it was also served with deep fried pork fat that gave the luscious dish extra oomph. While it seems odd to pair the dish with the Chamirey, Mercurey Red 2017, as explained by Christophe, the strong flavours of the black bean sauce required a more robust approach, therefore going for a red instead of white, working well and showing off Christophe’s expertise.
Around this time, I noticed that French Ambassador Marc Abensour was using chopsticks very well, and asked him when and where he learnt. He responded that when he was in Shanghai, he would often have Chinese dinners where the food was served on Lazy Dollies. With the first-come, first-served way of grabbing those dishes, Marc had to ensure he learned how to use chopsticks fast, to stay ahead of the competition, much to the rest of the table’s amusement.
We continued the evening with Braised Wild Morel Mushroom With Tofu. For someone who loves tofu, I felt this was a dish that managed to take the taste to yet another level. This was paired with the unanimously favourite wine of the night: the Vintage Chamirey, Mercurey 1er Cru Clos du Roi Red 2013. An unassuming looking wine, when we tasted it, we were wowed by its many layers and ease of drinking, and made for the perfect complement to a dish that was subtle yet full of flavour.
We then had the Poached Free-Range Chicken, Ginger Spring Onion Sauce with Egg Fried Rice, a dish we probably know better as Chicken Rice. Paired with the Domaine des Perdrix, Nuits Saint Georges Red 2016, a fine vintage, there was a touchy of spiciness amidst its more oaky flavour, the first full bodied red of the evening that went well with the rich flavours of the “chicken rice”, making the dish taste less heavy on the palate.
To end off the evening, we finished with the Australian Rib-eye Beef stir-fried with Sarawak Black Pepper and Romaine Lettuce. Served with the bold, woody Domaine Des Perdrix, Vosne Romanee 2016, the sweetness of the Sarawak black pepper sauce and the juicy cut of Rib-eye made for a great end to the meal.
A good dinner isn’t just comprised of great food and wine, but made better still by having it with people you care about, and doing things you care about. With this delectable selection of food and wines from the The Vintage Club, the Bourgogne Premiers Crus Wine Dinner certainly made for a wonderful night out, and one we would certainly continue to be talking about for months to come.
Bourgogne Premiers Crus Wine Dinner was held at Madame Fan on 22nd October 2019 as part of Voilah! 2019.
Voilah! 2019 runs from 3rd October to 17th November 2019 around Singapore. For more information on the festival and the full programme, visit their website at www.voilah.sg.