What would first comes to your mind when I mention "Scotland"?
Yep, I knew it...among the few words that pop out, I can safely say that majority of you would mention "cold", "whisky" and "kilt" (the traditional tartan skirt worn by Scottish lads). Of all the associations, little do people know that Scotland is actually abundant with some of the world's best premium seafood products. If you're unfamiliar with langoustine/scampi, haddock, halibut, monkfish or sole, don't worry, because these are indeed, not your average daily home-cooked seafood. These are the types of seafood, which can be found in Scottish waters, that normally grace the top tables in premium restaurants around the world.
Geographically, Scotland's cold, clear water lochs, highlands, riverines and islands make as ideal habitats for Scottish aquatic wildlife. The general public tend to associate salmon with Norway (Norwegian salmon), little would know that Scottish salmon is actually voted the 'best farmed salmon in the world' and it is awarded the Protected Geographical Indication status by the European Commission, a highly regarded status only awarded to select few products such as Champagne (from France) and Parma Ham (from Spain).
Undeniably, anyone can claim to produce the best, freshest premium seafood, but what's distinctive about seafood from Scotland, is the pioneering approach in sustainable commercial farming & fishing. In other words, Scottish fishing industry is highly managed and regulated, thus ensuring sustainable fishing methods that causes minimal impact to the environment and full traceability warranty of the products. Many people do not care about what their food went through before making it to the table. But as a hipster foodie, I often wonder about the impacts or implications of my consumption habits. Knowing that my food is sourced ethically and sustainably, such as these Scottish seafood, at least puts a little bit of my worry at ease.
In its effort to promote the superior Scottish seafood products, Scottish Development International initiated a private wine-pairing dinner and scotch whisky-tasting, which was attended only by select group of partners, chefs, distributors as well as media, food writers and bloggers, including myself. The 5 course menu was crafted by The Dharmawangsa Executive Chef Vindex Tengker, paired with various white wines (no reds, since the dishes were all seafood) and each dishes featured the best seafood produces of Scotland.
|White wine, to pair with seafood dishes|
The fresh seafood ingredients are shipped directly from Scotland and I can only imagine the gruelling and arduous journey that the scallops, atlantic cod, langoustine, haddock, salmon and friends had to sit through just to be served on my plate. You see, my appreciation for food is not just limited to the final result, ie: how it ends up tasting. I prefer to take into considerations, the processes behind it. Even if knowing it may not enhance the flavours literally, the knowledge and appreciation certainly enhances my experience enjoying each and every bites. Which one would make you feel better, "these are just some scallops" or "these are THE King Scallops, shipped directly from Scotland". It does not require a genius IQ to answer...
After a brief moment of conviviality exchange over some whisky and Jack Daniels-based cocktails with the other guests, we proceeded to our neatly set up tables inside the function room of Bimasena Club at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta. The guests were welcomed by Neil McInnes, Head of Southeast Asia and Australasia of Scottish Development International (SDI), and Scottish Enterprise CEO, Dr. Lena Wilson, who each gave a concise and welcoming remarks before our first dish was served.
Wait, did anyone mention scallops? Oh, it must've been the JD taking effect, or not...But a plate of Scottish Scallop appeared before me. The disk-shaped scallops sat snugly in its half shell, looking gorgeous with slightly burn brownish edges, topped with some gorgeous orange salmon roe.
Seared Cod and Langoustines in “Makalas “marination
Two types of seafood on the same plate, which one paired better with the Indonesian rujak inspired sauce & garnish? I'd say it was a pretty interesting combination, serving the sweet and juicy cod and langoustine with the sweet and slightly spicy sauce, something which only someone of Chef Vindex' level of experience, dare to pull off and do so successfully.
|Seared Cod and Langoustines in “Makalas “marination|
Turmeric and Lemongrass “Scottish Cullen Skink” (Smoked Haddock Chowder)
The name, is well known to be a turn off and it conjured an unappetizing form in my wild imagination. Turns out, cullen skink is actually the name of a traditional Scottish soup, made with two essential ingredients: potatoes and smoked haddock (a scottish fish). The creamy chowder appeared much prettier than what I'd imagined and definitely tasted well. It would be so much better enjoyed in the cold Scottish weather, sitting at the dining table by the fireplace.
|Turmeric and Lemongrass “Scottish Cullen Skink” (Smoked Haddock Chowder)|
Crusted Spicy mild Chili–lime leaf Crab and “Sous vide “coriander Salmon
Again, there are two stars competing for my attention here, I'm not going to pick either one of them, because they each are different. I'm thankful that I wasn't Ariel the mermaid, because I enjoyed eating my fish 'friends' so much.
|Crusted Spicy mild Chili–lime leaf Crab and “Sous vide “coriander Salmon|
Young Coconut Crusted “Klappertart” with coconut cinnamon poffertjes
I'd expected Chef Vindex to come up with some traditional Scottish dessert such as Cranachan or Tipsy Laird, but my expectation was unwarranted as a dish comprising Young Coconut Crusted “Klappertart” with coconut cinnamon poffertjes materialised before my eyes. A tad let down because I can't try a Scottish dessert, my mood was lifted up, nonetheless, after tasting the smooth whisky-infused klappertart with fleshy young coconut slices inside the creamy mess. Chef Vindex, won't you ever give me a chance to criticize you? LOL!
|Young Coconut Crusted “Klappertart” with coconut cinnamon poffertjes|
Whisky is often interchangeably used with "scotch whisky", so it was only customary to end our hearty feast, with a scotch whisky tasting. We were guided by an expert whisky ambassador, through the tasting of 3 selected single malt labels. We listened to the gentleman's explanation through each glasses, starting from the light, fruity and spicy 12 y.o. Speyside Cragganmore, to the rich & rounded Singleton and lastly, the strongest and boldly smoky 16 y.o Islay Lagavulin. These are pure whisky, mind you, I couldn't hold the burning liquid in my mouth for too long to tell accurately what I was supposed to sense (ie: honey, toffee, oak, fruity, etc). But at least, I could tell the difference between the three based on the degree of smokiness and burning sensation in my mouth and I'll always remember that Lagavulin is a real bad-ass smoky liquid, that I won't need a mouthwash after a sip or two of it ;)
|Premium single malt scotch whisky|
As Indonesian consumers become more educated and more discerning about their food source, couple with the SDI's more proactive initiatives to reach out to more Indonesian businesses, I guess it's only a matter of time until I will reunite again with a warm bowl of cullen skink at some restaurant in Jakarta.
This event was supported by:
Scottish Development International
Established in 2001, Scottish Development International (SDI) aims to promote and develop Scotland's trade and investment links around the world. It is the international arm of the Scottish Government and Scotland's main economic development agencies Scottish Enterprise and Highlands &Islands Enterprise. Visit www.sdi.co.uk for more details
The Dharmawangsa Jakarta
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