This magnum of Donnhoff Spatlese Oberhauser Brucke 2013 was popped to celebrate The Editor’s 40th birthday. We celebrated in style at the Bangkok Brasserie (here is a review) which Harden’s recommends as one of the best ten Thai restaurants in the country. Nonsense, it is the best Thai restaurant I have ever dined in!
I once got into trouble with a couple of American chefs who are so far up their own arses they must have turned into doughnuts by now for providing this advice, but I am going to repeat it. If you go to a real Thai restaurant with real Thai chefs there is one thing you DO NOT say and one thing you DO say.
What you DO NOT say is, “Not too spicy, please.” This depresses real Thai chefs who will interpret it as meaning you want the food to be as bland as possible. When you are eating Thai food UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES do you want it bland or toned down. I do not say this because I am a crazed chilli freak but because the essence of Thai food is its wonderfully complex and intricate array of flavours, which often include chillies and peppercorns.
Saying “Not too spicy, please” is asking a Thai chef to tone down this complexity, it will depress him and he will make you a shit meal. I do not care how much abuse I get from the hard of thinking, but if you still feel it OK to say “Not too spicy, please” – and I do not give two hoots what drivelly justification you have for thinking it is alright to say that – you thoroughly deserve shit meals for the rest of your life.
What you DO say in a real Thai restaurant is “We would like what the chef would like to eat, cooked the way he would cook it”. Some pooface had a problem with me saying this and claimed it would vex the chef as he would not know how you would like your food cooked and would have to guess how you would like it. Twaddle! You have just told the chef you would like it cooked as he would like to cook it! The instruction is as plain as the growth next to my nose!
Like any chef, Thai chefs have their own favourite dishes which they like to cook and dishes they feel they do really well and can impress people with – so this instruction is SPOT ON! You are asking the chef to enjoy himself whilst trying to make the dishes he makes best.
How can there be any misunderstanding of these two simple tenets of Thai restaurant ordering? I fail to see it! Unless you have some personality defect, or are simply just a pain in the arse, there is no possible quibble with these instructions for getting the best experience out of dining at a quality Thai restaurant.
The Bangkok Brasserie is arguably THE finest Thai restaurant in Europe, and it is just ten minutes’ walk from my front door. The meal that was prepared for The Editor’s 40th was astounding, so chapeau to Shah and his team for last night’s brilliant feast. We had an awesome time, what with the food, the company and the wine…
Crikey! Something could not smell more like pink grapefruit unless it was made from impossibly compressed pink grapefruit molecules. There is more, though; peachy buxom-ness and a hotline of linear lime direct to the god of limes.
There is slippery, slidey slate to try and run your nose over too – it does the whole ‘vineyard’-thing.
The thing that grabs you about this nose is what a tightly wound, involutely compressed entity of intensity it is. It is incredible: it is elegant, beautiful and refined yet it screams huge scale and power like an amp turned up to eleven. Utter delight!
The palate has so much fruity acidity and minerality that it feels like you are swirling vanishingly thin broken glass around your mouth mixed with the most mind-altering margarita (recipe here) your imagination can handle.
There is so much citrus fruit here it is almost mouth-puckering, but it is delicious, mouth-watering, vivacious fruit. There are layers of fruit and mineral flavour; it just keeps going on and on. Massive length, most certainly.
It is extraordinarily concentrated, yet does not feel at all heavy or over-weight. It just has the power. And what a power it is! It fills your palate with delicious flavour and vivid excitement, spinning around and around on the tip of an ice-skate.
It is very sweet for a Spatlese, but with all that acidity and slate knocking around you feel this is a good foil for complex, intricate food.
A knockout Riesling Spatlese, bravo Hermann and Cornelius!