Match of the week | Smoked eel, beetroot and Malbec

Match of the week

Smoked eel, beetroot and Malbec

This pretty dish was served the other night at what is still our favourite Bristol restaurant, Culinaria, even if we now live over the other side of town. It provided everything you want from a starter - light, appealing, appetite-stimulating.

It was constructed on a base of a warm blini, topped with beetroot, horseradish cream (made with fresh horseradish) eel, and a few lightly dressed leaves.

Normally I’d reach for a glass or a bottle of German Riesling with eel but we’d ordered the Malbec on the list - an Altos las Hormigas 2005 - to go with our main courses (boeuf bourguignon and roast loin of venison) and they have a limited by the glass selection. But the rich earthiness of the beetroot - always a good bridge to a red wine - and the spicy kick of the horseradish made the pairing a surprising success. Other fruity, and not overly oaky red wines would have worked equally well.

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