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02/04/2013

Catalunya Enters the Scene

by Doug Rumsam (MD of BI's HK Office)

Tucked away on the quiet streets of Morrison Hill, Wanchai, lies Catalunya. It is perhaps little harsh to judge now, given that this was the pre-opening owner’s get-together, but since they did a bloody good job, here goes…

The interior sets the mood: Moroccan lounge meets Hakkasan cool. The staff ensured cocktails flowed and service was seamless... Was I really in Hong Kong?

We kicked proceedings off with Krug and Dom Perignon, both from 85. The Krug (93 pts DR) was focused, vibrant and yet quite tight...whilst the Dom (92 pts DR) was a little more generous with spiced apples and plenty of verve. Tonight I felt the Dom just fell a little short of the Krug’s structure, but it was a close run affair and completely split the room.

The tapas were sublime and well befitted chef Alain Devahive Tolosa’s heritage – 10 years in the kitchen of El Bulli!: anchovies, croquettas, funky tortilla and olives. The tomato tartar, though, was the star for me...how it possible to extract so much flavour from such a ubiquitous dinner table staple?!

Next was the 91 Batard Montrachet, Jadot. I have said it before and will say it again; you cannot go far wrong with Jadot. Classic buttery honeyed edge.  Incredibly smooth, this slips down dangerously easily. Not going to wow you with complexity, but a good opening act. (91 pts DR)

On to lobster rice washed down with 98 Tertre Roteboeuf (94 pts DR) and 94 Guigal la Turque (92 pts DR). The meaty rice worked so well with the menthol spice of the Turque...a vintage that doesn't force the issue but still represents. The Tertre Roteboeuf is effortless. The round, smooth edges and rich cocoa'd fruit deliver a charming glass of grape-juice.

Finally, on to the main event – a suckling pig so moist it could be cut with a ceramic plate, washed down with Margaux 85.  Perhaps my favourite current drinking vintage from Bordeaux. Didn’t disappoint…complex notes of cedar, wild dark fruits, leather and supported by signature Margaux poise. A charming drop and this outshone the little piggy. (95 pts DR)

Thanks to the team at Catalunya - this was the first of many visits.


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