New Years Eve – 2015

For New Years Eve I convinced a couple of friends to join me at La Barca for dinner before heading to their place to bring in the New Year. La Barca is a great Italian restaurant where I have spent many an evening and is somewhere I would recommend to anyone visiting Singapore, finding the place is half the fun as it is hidden within the campus of an Arts School.

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As it was New Years Eve we had to start off with some bubbles, thanks to Mrs El Jefe (Anna) and El Jefe (Martin) for the Pol Roger Reserve. A refreshing way to start the evening.

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For our entree we started with the GLI AFFETTATI DI FATTORIA CON BURRATINA, FORMAGGI, CROSTINI
E SOTT’ OLI, Plate of Cold Cuts with Cheeses (Burrata and Pecorino) and Bruschetta with Assorted Pickles, to share and Mrs El Jefe had the LA PARMIGIANA DI MELANZANE CON MOZZARELLA, POMODORO E BASILICO (Oven-baked Eggplant with Mozzarella, Basil and Tomato Sauce), both items I would recommend.

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The first red wine of the night was a bottle of 1999 La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva, Rioja DOCa, from Spain provided by El Jefe, therefore it had have at least some Grenache (20%) the main grape is Tempranillo (80%). A great way to start of the reds.

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For the next course we had pasta, the Boss Chef (Michele Sorrentino), provided us with two pastas, TORTELLI DI PECORINO CON FONDUTA DI PARMIGIANO GRATINATI AL TARTUFO, Fresh Homemade Pecorino-filled Tortelli with Parmesan Cream and Seasonal Truffles, and the I PICI DI PASTA DI PANE CON RAGÙ DI COSTINE DI MAIALE, Fresh Homemade Tuscan Pici with Chef’s Pork Rib Ragù. If I had to pick between the two dishes I would take both!

Michele (the Boss)
The Boss – Michele Sorrentino

  For the main course the Boss suggested that we try the Lamb Stew that was a special for the night, we did not expect that would be enough meat so also ordered the LA BISTECCA ALLA FIORENTINA TRADIZIONALE ALLA GRIGLIA CON PATATE AL

FORNO E CANNELLINI ALLA SALVIA E PEPERONCINO, Traditional Fiorentina* Served with Roasted Potatoes, and Cannellini Beans with Sage and Fresh Chilli Premium Grain-fed Beef from Rangers Valley, Australia | Marbling Score: 4, as you can never have too much red meat.

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To drink with the mains we enjoyed a bottle of 2001 Flint’s of Coonawarra Gammon’s Crossing Cabernet Sauvignon, something that I bought along for the night.

As a part of my research for this post I found out that the 2001 was Flint’s first ever wine, not a bad effort! Flint’s has been rated by James Halliday as a 4 Star Winery, but is relatively unknown, I was lucky enough to meet  one of the winemakers, Damian Flint, at a wine show in Brisbane a few years ago where I obtained this wine. A part from being a quality wine, it is also value for money, and I hope it stays that way.  Similar wines from the other, more recognised, wineries from the Coonwarra are usually 2 – 3 times the price.

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For those of you who are not familiar with Coonawarra Cab Sav, it is usually not as “full bodied” a wine as a Barrossa Valley Shiraz, but pairs well with a medium rare steak, although a Shiraz would have been a better pairing for the Lamb Stew, still the Cab Sav was not a bad pairing.

Mrs El Jefe wanted dessert, she had her eye on the IL TIRAMISÙ TRADIZIONALE DELLA BARCA, La Barca’s Traditional Tiramisù. El Jefe and I were full, (we ended up with a doggy bag that had 3/4 of the stew and 1/3 of the steak for El Jefe to take home) but the Boss decided that we had not eaten enough so he brought out a plate of Panettone that he had imported from Italy for the holiday season, thanks Boss, glad I was walking home!

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To accompany the dessert El Jefe had a surprise, a bottle of Benanti Passito di Pantelleria Costedimueggen, from the island of Pantelleria, Italy. Unfortunately I am not sure which year, but it was a great wine to finish the meal off with. Not overly sweet so paired nicely with the Panettone. According to the tasting notes provided by the Winery this wine is “excellent as dessert and meditation wine, optimal with fois gras and “erborinato” cheese.” Not sure that you are meant to drink whilst meditating, but maybe that is how the Italians meditate, sounds good to me. If you get a chance to try this wine, go for it!

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Next up was a walk, thankfully needed some exercise after the feast, to Casa El Jefe for a couple of tequilas and a cigar to celebrate  the New Year. The tequila was a bottle of Jose Cuervo 1800 Reserva Añejo, just what I needed to enjoy whilst waiting for the clock to strike 12!!

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Whilst I did not watch the fireworks live, I think that New Years in Sydney has made it difficult for me to get excited about fireworks that do not include a Bridge or Tower, and the night was relatively tame, my age may be the deciding factor there, I had a great night thanks to Mr and Mrs El Jefe and the crew from La Barca.

“May your 2015 be more productive and profitable than your 2014”

Only 4 weeks until I depart for Tahiti to start my next cruise!

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