Match of the week
Lobster and sweetcorn with Allende Rioja Blanco
I came across this pairing at a dinner to launch the London Restaurant Festival. It was held at Nuno Mendes Loft Project, a permanent East London pop-up - if there is such a thing - where he normally hosts visiting chefs of a similarly experimental bent. Mendes is one of the most talented chefs in London at the moment and normally cooks at nearby Viajante in Bethnal Green which I reviewed here.
It was an immensely complicated dish which, when quickly announced by our server, sounded like lobster, bread porridge, sweetcorn, confit egg yolk and girolles, a combination you'd never think of putting together unless you were mad or Mr Mendes. It also included a touch of chilli and fresh coriander which made it taste like an exotically spicy but rather wonderful brunch dish.
I'm not normally that keen on eggs in the middle of savoury dishes (a hot trend at the moment, it seems) but the yolk had been cooked to the point where it was firm but not hard and added another layer of unctuous richness.
The inspired pairing was an oaked white Rioja - the Allende Blanco 2008 which dealt with all the complex flavours marvellously. It was, I find, a recent Jancis Robinson pick of the week and you can read about it here. As she points out, it strikes a perfect balance between the new crisper Riojas and the more traditional heavily oaked style. Really quite lovely.
You can buy it from slurp.co.uk for £17.45 a bottle.
I ate at the Loft Project as a guest of the London Restaurant Festival and Wines of Rioja.
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