If you were to ask me a year ago if I wanted whisky pairings with my dinner, the answer would probably be no. I’m sure a lot of you might think whisky is too strong, both in flavor and in alcohol, to pair with food and it should be enjoyed on its own. I’ve, too, been a bit of a sceptic in the past about pairing food with whisky. Not that there aren’t some great combinations out there but it seems to me that whisky is hard to sustain for more than one dish. But boy was I wrong! Forget the red or white selection at dinner....
It's all about the brown now!
From giving your food an extra touch of sweetness and fruitiness, to more complex and bold flavor with strong peat, earthy and smoky notes, whisky makes a great complement with food.
This past Wednesday, I visited the Timber Bistro located near Ren Ai Circle, just a few minutes walk from the Eslite bookstore, to try out their special collaboration menu that's only available from 10/27 to 11/9 with Highland Park whisky. The Highland Park VALKYRIE menu (高原騎士女武神套餐) comes with 7 courses thoughtfully planned by the chef. The Orkney-based distiller Highland Park is known for their incredible craftsmanship, and it definitely shines through the VALKYRIE menu.
12 yo - light fragrant whisky with a touch of sweetness
To start off, we're served a glass of Highland Park 12 yo with 2 big fat French Normandie oysters with jello made from the 12 yo whisky. This one's my favorite dish of the night! The whisky jello adds a fun texture and enhances the freshness of the oysters without overpowering it. Next up, we have the smoked salmon ikura salad, which the 12 yo also makes excellent partners with. The syrup sweetness taste cuts through the smokey fattiness of the salmon and it quickly moves on to sour and creamy wood flavor accompanies by the green apple mousse.
Gazpacho soup with Fromage Blanc and a few drizzles of Highland Park 12yo
Quail ravioli with pancetta served with procini sauce
A little refresher before the main course - Mint sorbet
VALKYRIE- rich spice and aromatic smoke
And finally, the main course! We're served braised wagyu meat and grilled lamb rack and the whisky pairing is Highland Park’s 18 yo. This dish was another highlight of the night. The wagyu cheek was incredibly tender. On the other hand, the lamb rack The light taste of honey and the Smokey palette of 18 yo really brings out the “lamby” flavor and everything just explodes in your mouth all at once. You can taste the aroma of the smoky whisky and the rich earthy flavor of the lamb.
18 yo - a sweet afterburn
The tiramisu dessert is paired with Highland Park 18yo. The 18 yo has a more creamy and full with fruit conserves and espresso flavor, which goes perfectly well with the dessert and helps ease out the sweetness of the tiramisu.
Available dates: 10/27-11/9 (Limited sets available everyday, make sure you book beforehand)
Price for the special menu: NT$1,800 + 10% (With a glass of 12 yo, VALKYRIE, and 18 yo each)
Address: No. 3, Lane 105, Section 4, Ren'ai Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106