December 2, 2011

Urban, Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur: A Dizzy 201 Affair with Thomas K. Hardy

A lavish affair was called for when one of Australia’s finest winemakers, Thomas K. Hardy brings in his collection of finest wine to be paired with Urban’s ‘Electic Fusion’ menu. The ideal marriage between wine and food is produced by the flavors that best complement each other, resulting in a brilliant combination from both the winemaker and the chef!

Thomas Keith Hardy is the fifth generation to the Thomas Hardy winemaking dynasty in Australia. The brand itself has earned its successful reputation in the wine industry through its production of premium wines namely ‘Thomas Trek Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2008’, which was awarded ‘Four Stars’ by Winestate magazine in May 2010, ‘Thomas Trek Philosophy’, ‘Imprimatur’ Chardonnay 2008 and few others.

What does Dizzy 201 stands for?

Dizzy 201 was the branding coined after the famous cricket player nicknamed ‘Dizzy’ Jason Gillespie, one of the finest Australian bowlers, in honors of celebrating his outstanding cricketing career spanning almost a decade. The company Dizzy 201 International Pty. Ltd. is a joint venture between CEO Neil Gillespie and Mr. Thomas K. Hardy when Mr. Hardy was asked to produce a ‘Super Premium’ wine in honors of Dizzy himself, an ardent wine lover and collector!

I had the honors of attending the affair of Dizzy 201 Wine Pairing Dinner featuring a fabulous six-course dinner with six wines on 11th November 2011 held at Urban, Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur. Having raved about Urban previously here, I was excited in looking forward to Chef Sharusmizal’s creations again.

I arrived fairly on time and checked out the gorgeous range of wines from Mr. Thomas K. Hardy, who was also present that night himself to share his knowledge from his grapes to his wine making art together with his team. He advised that wine is a personal preference but when paired with the right food, it will bring a sense of great enjoyment to the diner.

Left to Right: Guest, Mr. Thomas K. Hardy, Felix from JFS Boutique Spirits, Mr. Hardy’s staff and Mr. Praba G. Menon, General Manager of Hotel Istana.

Left to Right: Patricia, Marketing Manager, Mr. Hardy, Shoma and Fahrul

Mr. Praba presented a speech prior to the dinner affair.

We started off with my favorite carb in the form of Urban’s delicious bread selections with their signature butters. Read about the bread raving here.

Our Intro was paired with 2010 Dizzy 201 Vintage Reserve Chardonnay, a white wine that was really smooth on my palate. The Chardonnay had a beautiful floral and tropical characteristic and was a hit with quite a few ladies.

Intro: Chilled Pea Volute with Bacon Foam paired with Rock Oyster with avocado Garlic Cream and Salmon Roe

The shot of chilled pea soup had a slightly course texture but the flavors were delightful and bursting with pea in aroma and taste. Fresh rock oyster were very well received as I thoroughly enjoyed mine simply by slurping the fresh mollusk enhanced with a touch of creaminess and a burst of globules of salty orange roes.

Our First course wine pairing was 2009 Thomas K. Hardy ‘IMPRIMATUR’ Chardonnay, my favorite wine of the night!! This vintage came from the best rows of Adelaide Hills vineyard and is aged in the finest French barriques. I love its smooth and fruity aroma of apricot and peach nectars and the aging was just perfect enough for me to enjoy its luxurious aroma and lingering taste of citrus!

First: Seared Diver Scallop with Cauliflower Puree, Australian Red Claw Salad, Apple Curry Mayo, Mixed Cress and Truffle Dressing

I savored two huge pieces of fresh and sweet scallops seared perfectly together with a creamy and smooth puree of cauliflower. I have to admit that its my first tasting cauliflower puree and I like it a lot! (A note to chef Sharusmizal, I would love to have this cauliflower puree recipe …J) The other accompaniments added the eclectic touch to the dish.

2009 Dizzy 201 ‘Vintage Reserve’ Shiraz Cabernet was our red wine for the second course. Full bodied and deep red color from its aging in oak, the red wine went well with the quail course with its sweet red cherry sauce. Its bouquet features pronounced aromas of raspberry and blackberry with hints of pepper and truffle and has a velvety finish.

Second: Farmed Quail with Crusted Almond, Ernest Soulard Foie Gras Escalopes, Caramelized Red Cherry and Seafood Ginger Sauce

The quail was deboned this time and crusted with crushed almonds to give it a crusty and nutty flavor. I adored the sauce in this dish tremendously as the slightly sweet and sour red cherries gave the whole dish a fruity and refreshing taste to the bird. An escalope of seared foie gras provided the lavishness and richness to the quail… simply divine!

Our palate cleanser was an intense sweet and sour Ruby and Lavender Sherbet, providing a wonderful refreshing aftertaste.

Third course showcased a 2008 Thomas K. Hardy ‘Family Tradition’ Cabernet Sauvignon with a bouquet of blackberry and cassis fruits while hints of truffles seep gently to the nostrils. I thought it had a rather earthy long finish with the lovely blackberry.

Third: Grilled Australian Grain-Fed Beef Tenderloin, served with King Mushroom, Glazed Turnip and Marjoram, Olive Sauce

Urban is very generous with their portion and the beef tenderloin was a generous portion of a medium pink beef tornado dressed with sautéed king mushroom, turnip, roasted baby tomato and a deep olive sauce. The beef was seasoned lightly to feature its original meat flavor and the savory olive sauce. A beautiful pairing with the red Cabernet Sauvignon!

Our cheese course was paired with 2005 Dizzy 201 Commemorative Shiraz. According to Mr. Hardy, this red plum color was sourced from 80 year-old vines from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. It also had a fruity aroma but had the added spices to lift up the aroma further.

Fourth: Aussie Cheese Selection, Fig Compote, Honey, and Cranberries Chutney

A cheese lover, I think I was one of the only few who devoured and finished this course! The cheese was a smooth and creamy one drizzled with sweet honey. I found solace in the rich cheese with the fig compote and cranberry chutney as the taste was a medley of creamy salty flavors contrasting brightly against sweet and sour.

Our fifth course was dessert and was paired with Geoff Hardy ‘Full Front’ Liqueur Frontignac. The wine was sweet with a musk fruit and spice aroma and is quite decent for a dessert pairing.

Fifth: Lemon Tart with Yuzu Sorbet, Cinnamon Ice Cream, Sweet Basil Leather, Gin & Tonic Agar Agar and Rose Bud Syrup

Dessert was beautifully presented in golden colors. My favorite pick was the Yuzu Sorbet and the Cinnamon Ice Cream. Sorbet was so refreshing with its sourness while the cinnamon ice cream cools down the sourness with its creaminess. Lemon tart was only average despite it looking so pretty.

My affair with the collection of Dizzy wines by Thomas K. Hardy was every bit as exciting as an affair would be! The white wines are truly luxurious on my palate while the reds were smooth and rich. Each course has been thoroughly selected and created by Chef Sharusmizal to complement the wine collection very well. This collaboration is truly an amazing experience for me that night. Do check out for more of such wine pairings or simply enjoy the Urban set meal for its value for money quality and portions available at Urban, Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur!

This is one extraordinary fine dining restaurant to look out for a dining sensation you will never forget… J

For more information on Thomas K. Hardy, check out the website:

Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur
Lobby Level, East Wing
73, Jalan Raja Chulan,
50200 Kuala Lumpur
For Reservations: +603 2141 9988 ext: 3691

*Thanks to Sid & Patricia for the invitation!


  1. I love the wine for 1st course, very smooth~

  2. YUM YUM and SLURP SLURP.. How was the taste Beef Tenderloin?

  3. fine food and wine...i could live with that everyday. ok..almost everyday!

  4. The beef tenderloin looks perfect. I can imagine how satisfying it is with every bite.

  5. Choi Yen: Yeah.. I love all the white wines!

    Nikel: superb cos it was tender and juicy

    missyblurkit: well that would be a luxury!

    Quay Po: yeah... and the portion was big so it was awesome... :0)

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