Chasing the great tastes of Europe

Updated: 2012-04-23 14:42

By Han Bingbin (China Daily)

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Chasing the great tastes of Europe

Roasted scallops, mixed with quail's egg, asparagus and mushrooms, in sour and sweet sauce. Provided to China Daily

Chasing the great tastes of Europe

This wine dinner was confidently called "the Splendor of Europe" as it paired award-winning Italian wines from Antinori, such as Tignanello, Guado al Tasso and the famous Solaia, with modern southern French cuisines. But the night's most impressive dish for me turned out to be the lamb saddle from Australia.

The properly roasted lamb retained a soft and loose texture, which allowed it to soak up the flavors of condiments the chef chosen.

But unlike those who purely prefer the tender lean meat, I do have a feeling for cuts with a layer of succulent skin. The texture is such a nice complement to otherwise dry lean meat, and makes the entree juicy and smooth.

For the charm of southern France, look to the roasted scallops.

Thanks to the chef's careful control of the heat, the scallops are fresh and tender, with a spongy texture that makes them chewy. The taste of the sauce is a fine combination of sour and sweet.

The chef has also added red wine to make the sauce mellow, even elegant. There's also a romantic mixture of quail's egg, asparagus and mushrooms in it.

The other French seaside flavor of the night is the red snapper tartare. It's refreshing, smooth and so tender that it easily melts in the mouth.

My only problem with the raw fish, served without any additional sauce or condiments, is that it's overly fishy for me. I was confused about why the chef has added dried laver slices as topping, which heavily increased the fishiness. And sadly, the flat and dry taste of the seaweed doesn't blend with the softness of the fish.

But luckily, my mouth was soon happy again, thanks to the artichoke soup with black truffle, my favorite dish of the night. The cream is thick, but it doesn't make things bland since the clear refreshing taste of vegetables and herbs shines through.

I really appreciate that the chef has topped the soup with a slice of cheese. As I watch the cheese slowly melt in the soup's warm steam and enrich the taste, I suddenly feel it's so cozy and can't help thinking, "Well, it's a perfect time to finish the onion baguette."

Diners can order these dishes on the menu.

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