The monthly tasting group, sans one, did an informal session last night at the Beijing Palace in Hawker. The place was packed with moon festival folks and the kitchen was really pumping out the dumplings and Schezuan gear. It is a no-pretensions joint, in the Canberra gem hidden in small shops style, where they make the dumplings by hand, to order.
Unlike the usual sessions, where one person provides all the wines and there can be a bit of a theme, this time was 'everyone bring a bottle'. Mr Lole kicked off proceedings with an excellent 1996 Veuve Grand Dame. We then hit a speedbump with a sherried 2003 Leeuwin Estate Art Series riesling, before Mr Lole pulled a rabbit with a stonking aged German riesling from the Mosel that I could have sworn was a gewurtz blend, so strong and clear the hit of turkish delight. Boiled white fish dumpling, pan fried pork dumpling, steamed vegetarian dumpling: all disappeared at high speed. [update: the riesling was a 1994 Maximin Grunhauser MSR Abtsberg Auslese Fuder 45.]
Then we had some 2005 Lillydale Estate chardonnay and a cold dish of Szechaun spiced poached chicken. I liked the Lillydale, but the riesling handled the heat of the spices better.
After that the dishes started rolling in: braised pork in foil, stir fry beef & vegetable, sizzling bean curd, squid in spicy peppery salt. Brett provided a lovely bottle of Yalumba's Signature (1996?), which went really well with the pork and the beef & vegetables. The additional wine from Tammy (2001 Ashton Hills sparkling shiraz) didn't get opened, but reckon it would have also worked well with the food.
Great night, $35 a head, no pretensions venue (did bring glasses though). Like it.