February 20, 2012 00:00 By Parani Chitrakorn
The Phuket boutique hotel hosts Tim Raue, owner of the Michelin starred Ma Tim Raue in Berlin
When Tim Raue was young, he wanted to be an architect. Today, at 37, he’s most of the most influential master chefs in Germany. In 2007, he was recognised by Gault Millau as “Chef of the Year”. A year later, he was appointed culinary director of the Hotel Adlon in Berlin.
“I was doing a good job. But was I happy? I looked in a mirror and asked myself who I was,” says Raue, explaining why set up a new restaurant, Ma Tim Raue, with his sommelier wife, Marie-Anne, in September 2010. Just five months after the opening of the restaurant, Raue had cooked himself a Michelin star and 19 points in Gault Millau. Last November, Ma Tim Raue was nominated for a second Michelin star.
At the Trisara Phuket last month for a special “festival of taste”, he demonstrated how his cooking combines three worlds: Japanese product perfection, Thai aromas and Chinese kitchen philosophy. As a result, Raue’s dishes are light and healthy – you’ll find many exotic aromas and ingredients, but no sugar, dairy, gluten, or carbs like rice, bread, or pasta on your plate.
He says his interest in Asian cuisine was piqued while he was still at school. “I had a Vietnamese girl as a classmate and I was fascinated by the contents of her lunchbox, which was prepared by her father. After I left school, I totally forgot about it.
“Years later in 2003, when I was chef de cuisine at Swissotel, my chef asked me to create a dish. And the flavours in my friend’s food came back to me. Since then, I’ve experimented with all kinds of Asian flavours. Interestingly enough, we met again after a long time and now I’m close friends with her husband.”
The evening started with an aperitif of 2008 Riesling Sekt Brut, Wittmann, Rheinhessen, a refreshing and crisp sparkling wine with the fine fruitiness of Riesling.
“Tonight we are serving the same wines as at Ma Tim Raue,” announced Jan Ganser of wine distributor, Fin (Fabulous is needed), with pride.
“To celebrate Chinese New Year, Raue has prepared the dishes with special prosperous meaning for the year of the water dragon, Fin’s Benjawan Wisootsat added.
The dinner started with chilled abalone pickled cucumbers, shiso & ginger with imperial caviar, paired with Wittmann’s 2010 Gutswein Scheurebe QbA Trocken. This quality wine made from Sauvignon Blanc offered a fine fragrance of meadow blossoms, fresh grass and herbs with fruity notes of apple, currant and grapefruit and fine mineral tone.
The second course was Phuket prawns “dong po” style with pork belly, leek & honey tomatoes served with Markus Schneider 2010 Rose Saigner. The wine was rich with a very fruity aroma, especially bromine, cassis, raspberries. It finished with a fresh acidity that was perfect with the fresh and sweet Phuket prawns though the taste of the pork belly was too intense for the wine.
Next up was butter poached sea bass, morning glory & nut butter foam & piedmont hazelnuts & white alba truffle paired with 2004 Donnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Spatlese trocken. The marine and citric aromas together with saltiness and minerality paired well with poached sea bass both in terms of texture and sweetness.
The dry Spatlese is also honey like, which was good with nut butter foam and piedmont hazelnut.
The main course was Australian wagyu beef, beef tea jus with perigord truffle & beet root textures served with 2005 Black Print Rotwein Cuvée QbA Trocken, Schneider. A cuveé made from St Laurent, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and Syrah grapes, this modern red wine has depth of colour, yet is fresh and fruity with hints of cherry and blackberry and fine vanilla aromas.
The wagyu beef was tender and tasty yet exciting with a hint of wasabi. The pairing was powerful and intense.
Then came dessert, Amedei chocolate, mandarines & peanut paired with Hermann Dönnhoff’s 2007 Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spatlese. The wine was a fine example of residually sweet Riesling possessing not one gram more than needed for maximum support of its aromas and fruit flavours. It had a floral perfume but with saline, savoury and mineral notes. The peanut and chocolate paired well with the butterscotch. All in all, a perfect pairing.