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Extravaganza 2nd Course – Seared Scallops and Nigori Sake

For the third dish in our seven dish dinner Jess made a seared scallop with truffles, black trumpet mushrooms and cauliflower puree. For me, there were two main profiles that I wanted to consider when selecting a drink pairing. The scallops and cauliflower contributed freshness and lightness to the dish while the scallops, along with the truffles and mushrooms all contributed distinct umami characteristics.

Jess and I chose to go with a nice chilled sake, we selected the Sayuri Nigori Sake. Sayuri Nigori is a light sake with gentle umami, pear, honeydew and light floral flavour characteristics. I also just love Nigori Sakes in general, I find the added texture and mouthfeel of course filtered sake adds another dimension to the drink and the food pairing. I will say that the alcohol in this sake comes across quite strong for some as do the yeasty notes which may be too pronounced for some. I really liked it and found it worked well with the food, but I also look forward to doing some side-by-side tastings with other nigoris for future reference.


40 Bar Carts, Trolleys and Tray Tables by @StyleCarrot

StyleCarrot recently put together this excellent selection of Bar Carts and Trolleys which is mighty handy if you’ve been looking for a stylish way to keep your bar essentials, tools and booze in one neat, tidy and sexy place. Unfortunately they are all a bit small for my needs, but they will do very well for those people who don’t collect glassware and bar books, and have about 100 bottles of various spirited drink (not including wine, beer, bitters or refrigerated product like vermouths) in their home, aka. Normal People.

Catch the full list with related links and pricing here.

You can also follow StyleCarrot on Twitter @StyleCarrot

Wagu Spinalis Dish

Extravaganza First Course – Wagu Spinalis Tataki, Peninsular Cocktail

This is the third post and second dish related to a recent 7 course drink-paired menu Jess and I prepared as a gift to my parents for their birthdays. Following the amuse bouche described in the last post, Jess prepared a Wagu Spinalis Tataki. The Spinalis Dorsi is also known as the Rib Cap or Cap of Ribeye, is attached to the Ribeye on the cow, but is seldom sold that way as it is so much more tender than the rest of the Ribeye and more flavourful than other tender cuts like Tenderloin.

(If you really want to geek out on beef info, check out, they publish all kinds of research related to beef including the Ranking of Beef Muscles for Tenderness which ranks tenderness based on Warner-Bratzler shear force values).

So not only was this one of the best cuts of meat available, but it was also Wagu Spinalis, so it was from some of the best cows too. Needless to say it was pretty delicious. Given the quality of the meat Jess chose to serve it tataki style to showcase the natural tenderness and flavour of the meat. The dish was served with a fried Kusshi oyster, puffed quinoa, fresh green apple brunoise, grapefruit soy caramel, and miso sauce.

I wanted to play with the fruit flavours and freshness of the dish so I created something called the Peninsular cocktail. The quick backstory is that the dish was originally going to be slightly different and I was going to use Licor 43, but as the dish evolved I needed to change the drink and ended up opting for Giffard Pampelmousse (Pink Grapefruit) instead. This cocktail is therefore not historically accurate, because in the Peninsular war between the Spanish and the French, the Spanish won, but in this cocktail the French did.


The Peninsular Cocktail
1 oz Calvados
0.5 oz Giffard Pampelmousse
0.5 oz Lime Juice
2 Dashes Angostura Orange Bitters

Shake on ice. Strain into a small cocktail glass. Garnish with an slice of apple.


If you have to occasion to try this cocktail, I can highly recommend trying my original version, incorporating Licor 43 instead of the Giffard Pampelmousse at the same ratios. As with all the drinks in the meal, I created smaller portions due to the number of drinks we would be consuming, so you will need to increase your volumes slightly for a regular size drink.


Constitutions of Classic Cocktails

Pop Chart Lab recently posted this super awesome infographic described thus:

This definitive guide to classic cocktails breaks down 68 drinks into their constituent parts. Follow the lines to see where spirits, mixers, and garnishes intersect to form delightful concoctions. This massive movie poster-sized print contains over 40 types of alcohol (from distilled spirits to bitters), mixers from raspberry syrup to egg white, and garnishes from the classic olive to a salted rim. This obsessively detailed chart also includes the ratios for each drink, as well as the proper serving glass, making it as functional as it is beautiful. Over a year in the making, this is Pop Chart Lab’s most elaborate chart ever.”

You can do a super zoom in on any section of the poster at their site (HERE) which gives you sense of the spectacular detail of the chart. It’s really pretty amazing!

You should also follow them on Twitter @PopChartLab


Extravaganza Amuse Bouche – Arancini And The Italian Daisy

Ok, so yesterday I posted the menu for a delicious 7 course dinner Jess and I created as a gift to my parents for their birthday. As an amuse Bouche Jess made a chorizo, crab and leek arancini with crab bubbles.

Alongside the dish I served what I call the Italian Daisy. Read more »


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