Luck was on my side recently, when I won a 5 course dinner complete with wine pairings at Zaragoza on South William Street. I entered a competition on their Facebook page (which is full of great deals, news and regular giveaways by the way..!) and I was delighted when I won – delicious food and wine in the mix? Amazing.
If you’ve read a few things around these parts previously, then you might know that I went to Zaragoza as the last stop of this year’s Campo Viejo Tapas Trail back in June. Since our group was scheduled to go to Zaragoza as our last port of call, we were told our final stop (restaurant four of four) would be serving a traditional Spanish dessert; Crema Catalana, which was beautifully presented with fresh juicy strawberries for a pop of colour. Now don’t get me wrong, the dessert at Zaragoza was fantastic…but I really wanted to try more than dessert, and was hoping it would be one of our stops for sampling tapas.
The first time I heard about Zaragoza was the Taste of Dublin event, and I was already quite curious..but I was far more interested when I walked inside on that faithful day! The place looked and smelled amazing, and was packed full of happy chattering customers. Our waiter also told us what we missed out on, with Zaragoza being our final stop. Mini pig burgers, fish cakes and confit of duck in filo pastry. They all sounded incredible. Not to mention that they were the only Tapas Trail participant who offered a post event discount. It’s the little things.
Although I recently returned to Zaragoza as part of the Wingara wine event so the menu was already lovingly chosen, it put me another step closer to discovering what the restaurant has to offer in terms of tapas.
On the subject of events, the Zaragoza team seem to do a really great job of hosting highly enjoyable and successful nights; including a Metro Herald and Benefit Cosmetics Event, the Wingara wine dinner, the aforementioned Tapas Trail and most recently, ‘Wine and Dine in the Dark’ with Torres wines, an event where diners are blindfolded, and have to feel their way around their plates; relying on their senses to decipher what dishes they have been served. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that event!
Back to the Wingara wine dinner.
My date and I arrived at the restaurant at half seven, and we were shown to a small room at the back of the restaurant where the event would take place. The room had glass panelling, skylights and a long table. It was comfortable and bright, and could cater for about 20 people comfortably; perfect for a family or work event.
We were handed a glass of cava and greeted the other diners at the event, all whom were very friendly and proved to be great company for the night.
I was pleasantly surprised to be handed a glass of cava but soon found out that Katnook Estate, the winemakers who provided the wine pairings for the event are owned by Spanish cava producer Freixenet. Freixenet is currently one of the largest vineyard owners in Coonawarra. As a huge fan of Freixenet, I honestly never knew!
Our place settings included the 5 course menu, information about the wines for the night and a pen to write notes. My leaflet is covered in notes – I received so many recommendations from well travelled and worldly people.
Our first glass of wine was Deakin Estate Chardonnay Pinot Grigio. I don’t like Pinot Grigio at all. I find it too sweet, and favour red wines as I find white far too acidic, but if I do drink white (usually when I share with my lovely Mother!) I drink chardonnay. I was pleasantly surprised by this wine. It was crisp, citrusy and had no oaky flavour, which I have never experienced before with a chardonnay. The best parts? It wasn’t acidic at all, and it went perfectly with our first course, lobster fish cake with avocado.
Generous chunks of tender lobster meat in a light batter served with a cool tangy salsa.
The wines for the night – Chardonnay Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz (hiding in the background!)
Our second course, wild mushroom croquetas were accompanied with a glass of Katnook Founder’s Block Cabernet Sauvignon. Again the batter was light and especially golden and the sauce was creamy – I loved this dish with the Founder’s Block – earthy wines suit earthy mushrooms! I enjoyed the rich plum flavours and made a note to look it up again.
The next dish (my favourite!) was incredible. Marinated chargrilled lamb cutlets, lamb kofta and mashed potato. The meat was beautifully cooked with a hint of spice. Top marks to the chef; the mash was just as good. We had this dish with a glass of 2012 Deakin Estate Shiraz. Although the dish was amazing, the wine wasn’t to my taste at all.
Our final savoury dish was a brochette of beef fillet, marinated in smoked paprika. The beef was melt in the mouth and bursting with flavour; and I loved the accompanying wine just as much; 2010 Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was the star of the show! It had a gorgeous hue, smelled of blackcurrant and the flavour was intense and long lasting. Now I don’t claim to know a lot about wine, I’m still learning – but I know what I like, and this was a good! The consensus around the table was that this wine was the best, and everyone really seemed to enjoy it.
I kept with the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon for dessert, only to break for a gorgeous espresso. I’m happy to say Zaragoza serve excellent coffee. Dessert was a selection of mini tartlets; strawberry, creme patisserie and coffee ice cream. All three were beautiful and delicate. I was so full that I couldn’t finish all the tartlets, and scooped out the innards instead, so that I could taste everything, naturally.
The night was an incredible success, with excellent food, wine and company. The management team and staff at Zaragoza are second to none, and made me feel incredibly welcome and relaxed.
So much so that I stayed chatting with everyone long after the event was over. Such a memorable night at such a great asset to South William Street. I plan on going back really soon to experience their regular menu, and look forward to sharing my thoughts with you!
For more information on Zaragoza South William Street, click here.
For more information on Katnook Australian Wines, click here.
♥ ♥ ♥