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Monday 26 December 2011

Article: Champagne for New Years Eve

You have all seen it in the Bond movies when 007 orders a Dom Perignon 1997 with Bolivier Caviar. Some of you are wondering how it taste like and some of you is having the smile on your face because you already had the pleasure of tasting it.

Although what is a good Champagne and which Champagne is the best one? These are quite hard to answere for people. Most people do not know what Champagne truly is and how to find out the quality. There are different classes and vintages but also other rules that could be of interest.

French monks were the first to bottle a sparkling form of wine called Champagne, named after the Champagne region of France.
The method of making -mousse- (another name for bubbles) in a bottle was invented by the efforts of Frere Jean Oudart (1654 – 1742) and Dom Pierre Perignon (1639 – 1715), Benedictine monks and cellarmasters at the respective abbeys of Saint-Pierre aux Monts de Châlons and Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers.

Until medieval times, it was the monks who tended the vines: the wine was blessed and drunk during mass. The wines of Champagne were given a unique destiny when the paths of geography and history crossed. It was Saint Rémi, bishop of Rheims, whilst living in a villa surrounded by vineyards near to the present town of Epérnay, who baptised Clovis when he converted.

The first King of France was anointed with wine from the Champagne region one Christmas evening in 496. Several centuries later, the marriage of Jeanne de Navarre, heiress of Champagne, to the heir to the French throne, later Philip the Fair, linked the destiny of the Lords of Champagne to the crown of France. We will present some Champagne tips in this section for your special occasions:

Duval Leroy Blanc de Chardonnay Millesime Vintage 1996
Grade: 5

This vintage Champagne is one of the proudest products from Duval Leroy. The quality is very elegant and made with exceptional taste. 100% Chardonnay and used with traditional Champenois pressing. The colour is green gold and gives away dried fruits and butter aroma. The taste is very fine with a tight finish.
Nr at Systembolaget: 96541
Cost in Sweden: 469 SEK

Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Vintage 1999
Grade: 4

Here we have a gentle and reserved nose, revealing in a rather tight fashion a little core of honey and toffee. There is freshness and delicacy of fruit, so we believe that there is potential for this to come together in bottle.
Nr at Systembolaget: Closest you can find is the Brut with 87914
Cost in Sweden 1060 SEK 

Bollinger Le Grande Annee Vintage 1999
Grade: 5 

Not only is it enjoyed in the new Bond movie but it is also a brilliant vintage champagne from 1999 with distinctive aromas of coconut and vanilla, with oxidation adding complexity, followed by fresh citrus, oatmeal and honey notes. It's all displayed on a firm, powerful structure that needs time to integrate all the elements with a classy finish. 
Nr at Systembolaget: Closest you can find is 2002 with 7579
Cost in Sweden: 849 SEK

Möet & Chandon Brut Imperial
Grade: 2

This is Champagne is average and not so exciting, too commercial, to massive in production and only focused on branding not on quality. It is about sales not about the best. You can find it in Supermarkets, 7eleven and all small shops. It is something you simply drinks because you have nothing ells to drink. However they are the largest Champagne house in the world and one of the most powerful brands in the beverage industry. Some calls it the supermodel brand with no brains and no content, only for show and exterior.
Nr at Systembolaget: 7518
Cost in Sweden: 354 SEK

Cristal Louis Roederer Vintage 2004
Grade: 4 

Expensive, which is the reason for the grade 4; however the quality is very good. Cristal is usually seen with celebrities in US which are the reason for its status and high market value. With a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend, fruity scent and ripe fruity taste makes the Champagne very enjoyable. This wine is to be enjoyed with food and can be paired with shells or salty seafood. This Champagne has aging capacity of 8-10 years.
Nr at Systembolaget: 92096
Cost in Sweden: 1650 SEK

Western Taste wish you all a Happy New Year!

Written by: Alexander Yü

See also the article about Champagne written by Sofie Yü

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Article: What Beer to have for Christmas?

If you don’t know what to drink when Christmas rolls around you do not have to worry. Western Taste helps you out and recommends four good Christmas beers that you can get at Systembolaget:

Ayinger Winter Bock 6,7%, Doppelbock 500 ml
(nr 11011, 29,90 SEK)

The Ayinger Brewery (pronounced "eye-ing-gr") is a medium sized German brewery from 1876 located in Aying, Bavaria, about 25 km from Munich. Ayinger beers have been frequent award winners in international beer competitions.
This year they have a dark Dobbelbock Christmas ale. It has large, malty nuanced scent. It has a creamy head of tight bubbles contrasting beautifully with its profound dark robe. There is a wonderful and complex balance between the various malts, the alcohol and the subtle hops. Although it is strong, it is not overpowering. Despite its richness, it has a faintly smoky dryness in the finish.

Nils Oscar Julöl 7,7%, Ale 500 ml
(nr 11314, 49,90 SEK)

Nils Oscar brewery in Nyköping is Swedens main craft brewery and it always produces a different dark Christmas beer every year.
This year’s edition is very good and pours brown to black with a medium tan head. Aroma is Christmas spices, smoke, a touch of pepper, roasted malt and coffee but also apricots and cloves. Taste is to the sweet side but with a soft bitterness to balance it up. Smoke is present here as well but not as much as in the nose, body is medium. You can also taste some soy sauce, “kavring” and chocolate.

The Shipyard Longfellow Winter Ale 5,9%, Ale 650 ml
(nr 11013, 34,80 SEK)

Since 1994 the micro brewery Shipyard Brewing Company has been brewing fine quality products in Portland, Oregon, USA. All their beer is hand crafted from recipes developed by master brewer Alan Pugsley and they are the 19th largest craft brewery and 28th largest brewery in the US.
Shipyards Christmas beer is named for the poet Longfellow from Portland. It is a quite light but it has a malty scent with hints of bitter orange, chocolate, “vörtbröd” and dried fruit.
The taste is quite interesting with a malty bitterness balanced with licorice, dried fruit and dark syrup. 

S:t Eriks Barley Wine God Jul 8,5%, Ale 330 ml
(nr 11542, 21,90 SEK)

S:t Eriks was one of Swedens premier breweries and a purveyor to the king but it was closed down in 1929. Recently Galatea Sprits acquired the brand and Three Towns Brewery now produces S:t Eriks again.
All their beers are very praiseworthy and the Christmas Barley Wine is no exception. It is a dark red/brown liquid with small to medium off-white head. Aroma is malty and hoppy with notes of burnt caramel, grapefruit, toffee, citrus and biscuits. Taste is also malty and toasty. It is overall light to medium sweet and medium bitter with some light smoke and good carbonation. It is an OK Barley wine but nothing spectacular. But if you take the price into account it suddenly becomes spectacular!

All of the beers above go great with the Swedish “julbord”. Have a Merry Christmas and be sure to drink and eat good!

Written by: Kristian Kull

Monday 19 December 2011

Restaurant Review: Mosto Beijing

This restaurant is probably one of my favourite places in Beijing, China. Its prices are very reasonable and the service is top notch. I love the simplicity and concept of the place. Alex, who is the Co-founder and front figure of the restaurant, always gives you a great welcome upon arrival.

The wine list is very good and provides you with a great variety of selection. They also have a specialized wine fridge to give you the best possible temperature and condition of wine experience. For lunch you can choose from 2 selections, either a two course meal or a three course meal for the price of 80 RMB or 95 RMB. It is very reasonable and very good.

For dinner the food quality goes up and also the price which is fully understandable.

This restaurant is one of my favourite places in the city and will always be on my recommendation list for its high quality food, very nice service and perfect management.

Thank you Mosto for a pleasent stay in Beijing!

Mosto Restaurant
3rd Floor Nali Huayan
81 Sanlitun Beilu
Beijing, China

Grade: 4 out of 5

Written by: Alexander Yü

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Beijings Best Whisky Places

To find a good bar with a wide selection of whisky in Beijing is quite difficult. Most hotels have a small selection of 10-15 kinds however 80% of the selection are the most common varieties like Jack Daniels, Glenfiddish, and Johnny Walker etc. So to find the best of the best you really have to look. We have established that there are approximately only 5 places that are worthy of having a selection wide enough and interesting enough to be called a whisky place. Most of the bars are located in a very odd and difficult place. Some you have to struggle to find, although it makes everything much more interesting when it comes to it. 

To enjoy the perfect whisky is not only about drinking, there is so much more around the whisky that creates a higher satisfaction. From the glas, the water, the service, and even the ice (even though I prefer whisky to be neat) needs to be handled with a certain care.

1. Glen Boutique Bar (Beijing, China) ***

A bar with a history since 2008 and a whiskey collection of close to 200 kinds, mainly single malt whisky from Scotland and a very nice selection of Islay whisky, actually all 8 Islay houses are represented in the bar. Some special representations are also available for special request. Just ask the owner Wilfred Kwok for further services or talk to the amazing bar tender that is probably one of the most skilled and professional bar tender in Beijing. This whisky place is ranked as number 1 in Beijing because of its service, quality, environment, innovative ideas and detailed perfection.

2. Ichikura (Beijing, China) ***

Very specialized whisky bar focused with the outmost highest standard when it comes to whisky and cocktails. The bar tenders are very serious and take time with their cocktails. Upon order it can take up to 15-20 minutes before serving you the cocktail. It is very important for the bar tender to make the drink as best as possible. The bar is also very hard to find, it is on the right side of the Chaoyang Theatre and from the outside it looks like a dump. But when you enter the bar you understand its importance of ambiance. The whisky selection consists of more than 200 varieties and you will be amazed by its professionalism.

3. ER (Beijing, China) **

One more Japanese whisky / cocktail bar that offers exceptional service and mixing techniques in Beijing. The skills in these Japanese whisky bars are very skilled and professional. They beat most of the 5 star hotel bars around the country and this is a perfect example. ER in Beijing located close to Lufthansa Centre offers around 100 different kinds of whisky and superb service. A must try in Beijing!

4. Bar Promise (Beijing, China) **

Probably the smallest bar you can find in Beijing with only 15 seats a long the bar, excellent bar tender service and a very strong selection when it comes to whisky. The service style is very Japanese with a whisky tradition focused on the Japanese side. The large polished round ice cubes or to drink the whisky with a half of the glass with water is the typical way of the Japanese whisky culture. 

5. Bookworm / Q-Bar (Beijing, China) *

Among all the bars that has been selected for best whisky selections, these two candidates are the only one that is not a whisky place. They have other focuses but with a good variety and selection of whisky and that is why we have given the 5th place a tie.

Bookworm offers 40 kinds of whisky on the shell however it changes depending on the amount of frequent travel the owner does abroad. Bookworm is a library / restaurant that arrange several events focused on different gastronomic experiences.

Q-Bar offers a variety of 30-40 varieties of whisky on its shell. The selection offers some interesting finds from
Islay and the Highlands of Scotland. The bar is mainly focused on cocktails and drinks. They are supposed to be the best cocktail bar in the city.

Written by: Alexander Yü

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Top 10 Favourite Hotel Restaurants in the World

Hotels can provide you with the utmost luxurious experience when it comes to food & beverage. Sometimes hotels main revenue is the restaurants and bars. That is why it is a crucial importance for hotels to stay innovative, strong on the market and create ideal events for keeping the marketing and strong positioning of the hotel in this highly competitive business. We at Western Taste have listed the top 10 hotel restaurants in the world that we have tried.


1. Le Louis XV - Hotel de Paris (Monte Carlo, Monaco)

In the hotel de Paris in Monaco lays one of the best French restaurants in the world with all amazing food qualities you can imagine when it comes to the western world of cuisine. However there is a price to pay, a high price with a total average price of 200 Euro a head. The restaurant is owned and managed by the world famous restaurateur Alain Ducasse which many claims to be an artist in the kitchen. Service here is known to be the best in the world with no exceptions that the customer is always right. A have to visit at least once in a life time.

2. Tang Court - Langham Hotel (Hong Kong, China)

2 Michelin stars restaurant and one of the few Asian restaurants in the world that has received Michelin star ratings. Tang Court reflects the classic timelessness of the Tang Dynasty, Chinas golden age. You may dine assured that only the finest freshest ingredients make it past the watchful eyes of our ever alert chefs and into our very creative kitchens. Many international critics have claimed this restaurant to be among the top 10 hotel restaurants in the world and indeed it is.

3. Amber - The Landmark Mandarin Oriental (
Hong Kong, China

With 2 Michelin stars gives the restaurant an edge but also top standards. Amber is one of only seven Michelin two-starred restaurants in Hong Kong and it brings truly a culinary experience to its test. Perfect harmony balance when it comes to the combinations of flavours in the dishes. Chef Richard Ekkebus signature dish “Dungeness Crab in 5 Textures and 4 Temperatures”, “Langoustine with Iberian Pork Belly” and “Tasmanian Salmon with Kyuri Cucumber” are just some of the outstanding dishes that have contributed to this latest honour.

4. Gordon Ramsay - London West Hollywood (
Los Angeles, USA

Gordon Ramsay’s first restaurant in Los Angeles in this award winning hotel brings dining to another level. Gordon has always been famous for its cursing and short temper however his food standards and quality perfection is among the highest in the world. We believe that the little things that make a place stand out and this restaurant absolutely provides it with the outmost individual service.

5. Matsalen - Grand Hotel (Stockholm, Sweden)

The celebrity chef Mathias Dahlgren has been awarded 2 stars for its prestigious abilities in Matsalen at Grand Hotel in Stockholm. He has also been awarded 1 Michelin star in the other restaurant in the hotel Matbaren, but that is another story. Matsalen used to be a traditional French restaurant before Mathias time at Grand Hotel. Even tough Mathias has respected the foundation and tradition at the restaurant he brings something more to the table stronger innovative –ideas, -cooking and modernizing with amazing improvement of the place.

6. Blue Lobster - Shangri-La (
Beijing, China)

When it comes to strong innovative dining it is Blue Lobster at Shangri-La Beijing that has it. It is probably one of the most innovative cooking styles I have seen in China however since the Asian celebrity chef Brian McKenna from Ireland left for Park Hyatt in Beijing, most of the gastronomic experience changed as well. It is still top quality but not as exciting as it was before. That is why it is only number 6 on the scale.

7. Barolo - Ritz
Carlton (Beijing, China

Very nice Italian restaurant that provides absolute luxury and perfect service for the guests. The food provides is at the highest standard and you can enjoy the most of its ambiance. Try the risotto that is ladled into a Parmesan wheel, dusted with luxurious shavings of black truffles, giving it a flavour that’s intense, salty and earthy at the same time. The price is good to, around 400 RMB per head. Ask for the sommelier when it comes to wine selection. You can easily get lost in their enormous wine list.

8. Al Mahara - Burj al-Arab (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

This underwater themed restaurant begins with a mock submarine ride from the reception to the dining area. Also adding, though not as enjoyable, is the cold air temperature. As the name (which translates to oyster) suggests, the dishes here are mainly seafood, though there is fusion with other meats and Asian flavours. The surroundings make you feel as if your food was plucked freshly out of the ocean. With a dinning experience as exciting as this, it is no wonder that this place was named one of the 50 best restaurants in the world.

9. Sureno - The Opposite House (
Beijing, China)

Must be the most fabulous design hotel I have ever seen. The famous Australian wine critique Jeremy Oliver has been here, Mr Gaja himself and many other experts within food & beverage has done amazing events with food and wine in this hotel restaurant. Please try their seafood soup for starter and enjoy either the best pizza in Beijing or go for Numerous of five star hotels have opened restaurants in the last year in Beijing however there is only one that stands out more than the others; a must visit is the Opposite House.

10. Made in China - Grand Hyatt (Beijing, China)

When it comes to Beijing Duck people usually talk about Dadong Kaoya, however not many knows that the amazing luxury hotel, Grand Hyatt in Beijing serves probably the best Beijing Duck there is in China. The reason is that the duck is prepared upon request. If you want the duck you need to request it in before hand and it will be made only for you which mean that the quality of the food can be provided individually.

Written by: Alexander Yü

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Restaurant Review: Restaurant Grill

Part of the restaurant group of F12 and one of Melker Anderssons more successfull dining places in Stockholm. This restaurant gives you very interesting interior design with different sections of different themes. It is also one of the most popular lunch places in the city with a queuing line worth waiting for.

The food is obviously grill and provides great meaty dishes. However for the person that is interested in fish or seafood you can also have smokes shrimps or grilled tuna.
The quality of food is very nice and the raw materials are one of the best for a great bargain price. The restaurant could fool you and give you an impression of high prices however the cost is not that high but rather surmountable.

The wine list is very nice and is perfectly matched to its dishes.

With its reputation I would like to been treated with a much better experience at Grill during dinner service, with the lack of attention from waiters and slow service it made it not as high as expected from F12 Group.

Overall the food is good but not great, the meat is a bit to salty and the service is very slow.

Grade: 3,5 of 5

Drottninggatan 89 
113 60 Stockholm
Phone: 08-31453

Written by: Alexander Yü