Simply Sunday. If you have nothing better to do, study wine lists wherever and whenever you can. A dinner at Four Seasons Chaoyang, Beijing, is a case in point. I would have ordered something simple but Andrew de Bito – a law graduate who shocked his father something horrid, back in Kuala Lumpur, when he told him he wanted to be a waiter (he is now the Hotel Manager) – said no, let us try an Andrew Caillard Mataro. That started off a whole tangent of interest. Andrew Caillard MW is wine guy of Australia’s Woolworths Group, plus founder of the Langton’s Fine Wine Classification of Australian Wine, plus he is a winemaker. Hence this Mataro, from a grape introduced, from Mataro, in the 1830s – and Caillard himself describes it as a fragrant, pure wine, sinuous with pristine fruit and lacy textures and ideal for drinking at just one year old.
But of course wine is best with food – no unusual luxury travel tip there. To do justice to the wine, go for the Italian fare at this luxury hotel’s open-kitchen, ever-popular Mio (‘my’). Eat Mama Style, dishes to share, and be prepared for surprises. Luca Piscazzi, cooking that night, sent out an entre-acte, twixt starter and main, thinnest slices of scallop topped with shaved frozen horseradish. Taste buds whetted, dear reader?