Asian food and wine inspiration at the Golden Pig

Chef Katrina Ryan turned on a spectacular meal at her pan-Asian restaurant, The Golden Pig, in Newstead, Brisbane, on June 15th. The food embraced Thai and Chinese influences, with intense spice, herb and citrus flavours throwing down a challenge to the wines. It was a challenge the wines met head-on, and the revelations were many.

Riesling and pinot noir between them cover more Asian-style cuisine than most wines.

I thought I knew a bit about matching Asian foods with western wines, but I learnt a lot this night!

It was a big night for riesling (four were served) and pinot noir (three). Indeed, it’s been my habit for many years to stash a riesling and pinot noir in my carry-bag if I’m going out to eat in a BYO Asian restaurant. And thankfully, many are still BYO. Riesling and pinot noir between them cover more Asian-style cuisine than most wines.

First course

Ma hor – sticky fried peanuts and coconut with pineapple.
Scallops with miso butter and perilla.
Pork and chive dumplings with dry chilli and Sichuan pepper sauce.

The wines

The drier riesling with extra bottle-age, Kyara, was very good with the scallops, while the chilli and Sichuan pepper accompanying the dumpling threw down a real challenge to the wines, but I thought they coped very well, especially the younger, fruitier 2020 Tasmanian wines. The Pooley, which appeared to have a little residual sugar, handled the fiery flavours particularly well thanks to that subtle trace of sweetness.

Second course

Warm salad of fried Coral Coast barramundi with lemongrass, lime and fragrant herbs.

The wines

Excellent food and wines, the moral of the story here was that the intensity of the lime juice changed the wines, bringing out a sweetness that wasn’t apparent in the wines when tasted by themselves. They went together beautifully, especially the richer Rhône-style wines. The Yeringberg, the richest wine, was my favourite with this dish. There’s an interesting propensity for dry white wines and high-acid foods to cancel out each other’s acidity, making for balance and deliciousness.

Third course

Ora king salmon with black bean, sweet soy, chilli and ginger, steamed gai lan.

The wines

Another dish which seemed at first glance to have a challenging level of spiciness, but the wines were more than equal to the task. I found the Shadowfax coped best, because of its stronger structure, but each wine had its fans as a match with the food.

Fourth course

Twice cooked duck leg with mandarin, black vinegar and star anise.
Shredded vegetable salad, jasmine rice.

The wines

We originally planned to serve the pinots with this dish, but as it worked out, the shirazes were excellent company. Their ripe-fruit sweetness and richness was in perfect harmony with the dish. The two Great Western wines were more firmly structured than the soft and cuddly Barossa, and I felt the dish appreciated their extra backbone. Again, each wine had its supporters.

Dessert

Steamed pumpkin and coconut custard with coconut sorbet, candied pepitas and crispy shallots.


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