At Restaurant Mosaic we are known for our meticulous approach to food and wine pairing. Our Sommelier Team and Chef Chantel Dartnall work together closely with the rest of the Mosaic-team in deconstructing each ingredient in every dish to achieve the “Perfect Pairing”. We understand the chemistry between food and wine - the symphony of tastes between Chantel’s Botanical Creations and the wine ultimately paired with every dish speaks of love and passion.
With every new dish we add to our Seasonal Menu, Chantel, Germain and myself team up with the kitchen and waiting staff and every Tuesday we participate in a deconstruction tasting, where we taste each ingredient Chantel wants to incorporate into her envisioned dish. These ingredients are tasted individually with the chosen wines the cellar team selected; this ensures that we find the perfect pairing.
For Restaurant Mosaic’s 10-year anniversary, some of Chantel’s best dishes of the last decade will be incorporated in her new Summer Celebrations Menu. She has chosen to celebrate summer with a “twist” of her memorable Queen Quail brushed with Raw Acacia Honey, enhancing the earthy, vegetative flavours with a light and aerated Spinach Velouté combined with Port and fresh seasonal garden peas and Edamame beans. Although the dish still features the Raw Acacia Honey as before, this time she has incorporated a slight floral scent of fresh lavender petals in the honey. The Quail Breasts are pan seared and served beautifully pink, brushed with the decadent honey, while the Quail Legs are slow roasted with fragrant pepper and Maldon salt to create a crispy contrast.
The first round of the deconstruction tasting of the Queen Quail took place on Tuesday 09 August, where Chantel, Germain, myself and several of the kitchen staff were ready to select our first flights of wine. True to the Mosaic tradition, Chantel first served all the proposed ingredients of her dish individually in order for us to taste the chosen wines with each separate ingredient to find the perfect match. Out of the first wines selected for the tasting the Château Bélingard Cuvée Blanche de Bosredon 2010 - a Bordeaux style blend from Bergerac in France, shown initial promise, but after tasting the wine with the individual ingredients and some careful consideration the wine was eliminated - although it is excellent in itself, it was completely overpowered by the earthy flavours of some of the dish's components.
From the above Germain and I discussed and tasted various options and based on the flavour profile of the ingredients presented, decided to open the more elegant Domaine Roger Sabon Rhône by Roger Sabon Rouge 2013 - a Southern Rhône blend with 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Cinsault. An immediate success and excellent choice, as the lovely fruit driven wine married seamlessly with Chantel’s vision of a summery dish and was therefore selected as the most suitable candidate for our Connoisseur Wine Pairing. For our Enthusiast Wine Pairing we ended our tasting by deciding upon the Le Riche Richesse 2012 - a classic Bordeaux style blend made by Christo le Riche as a first careful choice. The subtle tannins and medium body showed very well initially however after tasting the wine with all the ingredients, we were undetermined. We finally concluded that the wine was a good fit overall, however not yet perfect and we decided to taste the wine again with the Roger Sabon during the next round, while Chantel also undertook implementing some changes in the ingredients to “tweak” the final dish to perfection.
We were very excited and honoured when, a week later, three of the top young winemakers in South Africa joined us on Tuesday, 16 August for a follow up on the deconstruction tasting of the Queen Quail. We were interested in gaining their perspective as they hail from very different wine regions and make wines in completely different styles. Christo le Riche (Le Riche Wines in Stellenbosch), Justin van Wyk (Constantia Glen in Constantia) and David Sadie (with his own independent label in the Swartland) participated in the creative process with Chantel, and myself representing the cellar team in Germain’s absence (he was judging at the Michelangelo Awards in Cape Town).
We began by tasting our chosen wines from the previous week with the individual ingredients proposed by Chantel. The uncomplicated Domaine Roger Sabon Rhône by Roger Sabon Rouge 2013 again showed beautifully and was an immediate favourite around the table.
The wine perfectly elevated the vegetative, earthy flavours of the dish, making it an obvious match for a summer celebration! Next up was the Le Riche Richesse 2012 with its typical flavours of red berries and prominent cherries, supported by fine, soft tannins. The wine proved on this occasion to be a little overpowering and it was agreed by everyone around the table that it would be more suitable for a winter/autumn menu with Chantel’s old time favourite red wine jus. No doubt delectable, but not the Chef’s vision for her new Summer Celebrations Menu and light ethereal sauce.
As a special treat for our guests we brought back the Château Bélingard Cuvée Blanche de Bosredon 2010, to show the winemakers the process of elimination we followed with our initial tasting. Much to our delight the consensus around that table was that indeed the wine was not a suitable pairing - as stated by the winemakers, “the dish is full flavoured and elegant while the wine loses its body and simply disappears between the symphony of flavours on the plate”.
We discussed various different wines to replace the Richesse as a viable option for our Enthusiast Wine Pairing, with the winemakers sharing their insights into the various wines available, their specific flavour profiles and if it could be a suitable match for the earthy flavours of the Queen Quail. The brainstorming session with Christo, Justin and David proved invaluable and after some lively conversation and careful deliberation, David offered to open a bottle of his Elpidios 2014. It was immediately agreed by everyone that this niche red blend consisting of mainly Shiraz and Carignan with some Grenache, Cinsault and Pinotage, proved to be a winning combination, elevating the earthy flavours of the dish, and highlighting the full flavoured aerated Spinach Velouté - perfectly matching Chantel’s vision of a summer celebration! Christo's Richesse will be put back in the cellar to sleep a little longer until next year, to be unearthed by Chantel for her Winter Menu.
As a final touch Chantel had a surprise in store and unveiled the most beautiful plates, purchased in Paris at Galeries Lafayette, during our recent trip to France, especially for her Summer Celebrations Menu!
The delicate floral design on the crisp white plate is the perfect canvas for this culinary masterpiece!
We want to thank Christo, Justin and David and their “chaperones” Minette and Jeanine for being a part of the creative process and feel honoured to have their invaluable advice and stamp of approval!
Look out for this “Perfect Pairing” on Chantel’s new Summer Celebrations Menu * coming soon!