Match of the week
Spicy beef and Barbera d'Asti
Barbera wouldn’t have been the wine I’d have generally turned to with a beef dish that came accompanied by a spicy Thai relish but it worked surprisingly well.
The dish, you might be suprised to learn, was not in Shoreditch or Hackney but at a pub called The Black Bull in a picturesque small town called Sedbergh on the edge of the Lake district and the Yorkshire dales.
The kitchen is run by Nina Matsunaga who was born to Japanese parents but brings influences from all over Asia into her cooking. Intriguingly much of this is based on local native cattle breeds
The beef in this dish was Hereford beef sirloin from Howgill and had a rich flavour of its own but came with a spicy nam prik noom, a roasted green chilli dip from northern Thailand.
Nina's husband James, who is responsible for the really excellent wine list, suggested a vivid, juicy 2018 Barbera d’Asti called Bandita* from a natural Piedmontese producer called Cascina Tavijn. It was absolutely delicious - great with the beef and able to stand up to the spicy relish (though Nina had cleverly offset that with soy beans which did a similar job to rice in mitigating the heat.
Unfortunately it seems to be sold out in the UK but you could try a similar unoaked barbera or an orange wine which I think would also work well.
For other barbera matches see Top food pairings with barbera
I ate at the restaurant as a guest of the Black Bull.
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