Sunday, April 1, 2012

BYO wines to Xiao Liu Zhi eatery at Toa Payoh

A Chinese eatery which allows ‘BYO wine’ and does not charge any corkage.

This relatively new eatery commenced operation 2 months ago. It's called Xiao Liu Zhi and is located at PH BRO Driving Range, 590 Toa Payoh East, Singapore 319134 (Tel: 62551512; next to First Toa Payoh Secondary School).

I visited this place last night for a BYO wine dinner session with a group of friends. It’s managed by a Mr Tong Fu, who according to my fellow diners, is an ex-actor. Operating hours for lunch is between 11am to 2pm. Dinner is between 4.30pm and 11pm. The menu shows a good spread of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes; something to look forward to if you like to practice food and wine pairing with local cuisine.

If you are curious about the dishes served here, I've uploaded some more photos at this link, Xiao Liu Zhi dinner.

This eatery provides standard sized wine glasses which can be used for both white and red wine. They also provide ice buckets upon request for your whites, rose and bubblies. If you however prefer bordeaux or burgundy wine glasses, then you have to bring along your own glasses (something my fellow wine companions tend to do most times).

Food and wine pairing curiosities

Three dishes I particularly enjoyed during dinner were the pork ribs done with coffee, the braised duck and the braised pork belly pieces. Yes, I realize this is a 'seafood-oriented' eatery, but I have this guiltless affinity towards meat dishes :) The pork ribs with coffee influence paired well with the 2003 Amarone, the braised pork belly pieces with the 2008 SGM from Turkey Flat (Barossa) and the braised duck with the 2004 Faustino V (a reserva from Rioja).

We had 4 whites at the table; a pinot gris from NZ, a muscadet from Loire, a frizzante style white made from pinot blanc and chardonnay blend from Venice, and a moscato from Lombardy. The clam dish (thankfully not hot with chilli-bits as I get in a few other eateries) paired well with Loire's muscadet as well as Lombardy's frizzante white blend. I must say the frizzante white stood well as a 'refreshing palate cleanser' when paired with most of the seafood dishes; the slight 'fizziness' it brings to the palate helps to refresh one's taste buds.

Two issues to be mindful when pairing food with this light bodied frizzante is that the food's body weight does not overwhelm that of this wine's body; and likewise the flavour intensity of the food does not overpower the gentle flavours of this wine (this can be a challenge with the sauces we tend to add with local fare). But if you not overly concerned about such details and just want a fizzy, chilled white to cleanse your palate and wash that food down the throat, this wine provides more an ideal sip :p

The deep fried crispy prawns went well with the moscato from Lombardy (not too showy in its sweetness with good acid balance). The sweetness in the body of these prawns and the wine complemented each other, while the acidity in the wine helped to clear the palate of the oil from the deep frying process. I preferred the steamed fish head with NZ's pinot gris; no clashes here, the almost neutral flavour from the steamed fish collagen paired with the flavours of the pinot gris.

Check this eatery out if you are looking for a place in Toa Payoh to bring your wines to.

Note to readers: It’s always good to give the establishment a ring and reconfirm its BYO policy before heading down; things in life have an impulse to change :)

No comments: