Vino Tiempo Reviewed January / February 2010
The Chic Vino Tiempo Wine Bar in The Regent Village
Sun, sea, sand & Vino Tiempo Paradise is now complete!
Oxtail Pepper Pot Soup with Provolone Crouton
At first glance you may be wondering if you made a navigational error of sorts. An establishment of this caliber is typically found in far–off cosmopolitan cities like New York City! And while Vino Tiempo may seem a little out of the ordinary for this generally quiet island, this sophisticated and elegant Grace Bay hotspot has quickly become one of the most popular nightspots on Provo. Sheer style and pure panache aside, Vino Tiempo has achieved the ultimate balance. The ambiance may be chic and stylish, but the attitude is completely unpretentious and informal, where you’re invited to “feel right at home”.
Chef’s Selection Meat and Cheese Board with White Moroccan Anchovies
Having had the pleasure of enjoying Vino Tiempo on a few previous occasions as a ‘before doing this’ or ‘after doing that’ venue, this night we decided to spend the entire evening... and an absolutely memorable and engaging evening it was – tasting and grazing our way through some wonderful wines and a medley of marvelous dishes. The décor is contemporary, tasteful and welcoming with warm and appealing earth–tone hues, plush and comfortable lounge seating with sofas and ottomans, faux–finished walls and impressive columns. The U–shaped bar is quite spectacular – a design well thought out to encourage collective conversation between more than just your neighbour; with fashionable and trendy halogen lighting that brilliantly illuminates the sleek and glossy wood bar top. Smooth jazz and easy–listening lounge music complete the affable and totally relaxed atmosphere.
Garam Masala Oxtail Spring Rolls with Cilantro Chili
Vino Tiempo features the first... and only Electronic Wine Dispenser on Provo. Quite the high–tech anomaly, the Wine Station operates on a ‘debit card’ system and is a unique way to showcase wines, offering a weekly selection of four reds and four whites in three portion sizes; a one ounce taste, a three ounce half glass or a full five ounce glass. Debit cards can be purchased in denominations of $30 and up or can be customized to suit your needs.
Vino Tiempo’s Asian Tuna Tartar on Crispy Wontons with Coconut
VT’s menu invites you to ENTICE, EMBARK, EXCITE AND ECLIPSE your way through a distinctive menu of 80 Old and New world wines and champagnes with no less than 20 vintages by the glass that change weekly; and an exciting and alluring selection of tapas, cheeses, meats, flatbreads and decadent desserts. While we are all devoted and dedicated wine aficionados, we were briefly diverted... tempted to embark on our journey with VT’s Signature Cocktails – a Bambarra Grape Mojito, an intensely fruity VT Sang–ria in Blanco or Rosso with marinated grapes, apples, oranges, peaches and lemon; and my lethal but extraordinary Lemon Grass Ginger Martini.
Marinated Angus Strip Beef Kebabs with Lemon Mint Raita
Our host for the evening, operations manager Peter Redstone was knowledgeable and genteel in his craft, happy to plot our course and offer his suggestions for wine selections and food pairings alongside Vino Tiempo’s supervisor, Molly Mathers – attentive and absolutely delightful. Particular consideration is warranted to the entire VT team – including Gerald Ambroise and Juan Aquino, part of the talented Culinary Team.
Après cocktails, a 2008 Sokol Blosser Pinot Gris from Oregon proffered luscious fruit and spice aromas with a fresh yet rich, crisp mouth feel. Invigorating and zesty, this wine had our palates poised to experience the mouthwatering aromas and concentrated flavours of Oxtail Pepper Pot Soup. A tantalising and rich oxtail broth fragrant with allspice, star anise, scotch bonnet peppers and tender pieces of oxtail arrived in a covered bowl, with the sautéed vegetables unexpectedly on the side prompting Peter to invite us to “play with our food”. Serving the vegetables on the side keeps them crisper so that you can add them at your own pace, or experience the different flavours and textures on their own. A Provolone ‘crouton’ is perfect for dipping and soaking up every last drop of those intense oxtail broth flavours.
South Caicos Lobster Patties with Thai Yellow Curry Sauce
A hint of smoke infused the melt–in–your–mouth Asian Tuna Tartare, stacked between deliciously crispy layers of wontons for a most appealing presentation. A myriad of tastes and textures flourished including almonds and cilantro and the unexpected discovery of sultanas. A Ponzu Sauce offering citrus notes of lemon and lime with soya and chili flakes was an idyllic union. Topped with double–baked shards of coconut this was a unanimous favourite.
Raita, an invigorating condiment popular in Indian dishes commonly called upon to tame the heat; was in perfect harmony here at VT with Salmon Carpaccio – divine, yet absolutely “clean and simple”. Delicate and tender, the salmon veritably dissolved on my tongue – wonderfully augmented by the zesty yogurt, cucumber and citrus Raita with a ‘nutty’ finish imparted by the avocado oil.
Bambarra Rum Cake made with Bambarra Reserve Topped with Vanilla Ice Cream
Full of flavour and scoring a pleasurable intensity on the ‘heat’ scale were two varieties of patties; served with accompanying dips and sauces that simply increased the pleasure factor. First we sang the praises of the Beef Patties. “There’s a kick – but it’s a nice kick”. Savoury and tender ground Angus beef was enveloped in crispy pastry and the kicker – Sriracha Cilantro Dip. Sriracha is a hot sauce named for the city of Si Racha in Thailand. Think sweet, think hot, think garlic! Now, fill that flaky little tartlet with curried South Caicos Lobster and couple that with a Thai Yellow Curry Sauce... an outstanding coming together indeed. “Love the curry” was the universal feedback where little feedback was actually proffered due to the all–around compulsion of finger licking!
The Marinated Angus Strip Beef Kabob is one of my dining companion’s favourites at VT. So much so, that there were no negotiations when it came to considering this menu item. In the company of a cool and lively Lemon Mint Raita these lightly marinated kabobs left a reminiscent and lasting ‘déjá vu’.
At some point during this fabulous evening of gastronomic ‘grazing’... and I can’t quite put my finger on when, we switched to a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley – Sanctuary. Intense hues of deep ruby reds and concentrated aromas offered up berry, spice and ‘jammy’ characteristics – amazingly rich and smooth with a long and lovely finish.
A definite must–have is the Garam Masala Ox–Tail Springroll with Cilantro Chili. Luscious and succulent ox–tail and garam masala (a special blend of Indian roasted spices) is cooked long and slow and ‘rolled’ into a cigar–shaped spring roll and served with a remarkable dipping sauce. These marvelous and memorable oxtail ‘cigars’ are an acceptable and completely innocuous addiction, ingeniously served in a cigar box! Innovative and original Gourmet Flat Breads and made–to–order Panini’s flaunt some of the most inspiring and eclectic toppings, and while the Genoa Italian Flat is a popular menu frontrunner, I was totally tantalised by the Taj Flat – Tandoori tuna, artichoke, onion, mint and cilantro. Other notables include a Foie Gras Torchon, Camembert En Croute pleasingly matched with honey and VT’s enormously popular Roasted Garlic Lemon Hummus.
And now, for the most celebrated and engaging coupling of all – wine and cheese. There is nothing more extraordinarily pleasurable and enjoyable than the mouth–feel of a fabulous wine together with the infinite flavours and vast textures of the world’s all–embracing abundance of gourmet cheeses. Vino Tiempo’s Mixed Board was the personification of taste and an unreserved gustatory delight. Just to mention a few – a Chef’s Selection of cheeses, meat and seafood included Norwegian Smoked Salmon, white Moroccan anchovies, gypsy salami, Delice de Bourgogne, Gres de Vosges, and Brillat–Savarin encrusted with candied papaya that tasted like a cheesecake dessert. The homemade tomato chutney and natural honey were complementary and appropriate condiments.
And for the finale, Bambarra Rum Cake. Made with Bambarra Reserve – a remarkable ‘sipping’ rum all on its own – it was marvelous in this delicate and warm, spicy cake; or indulge in the decadent and divine Dark Chocolate Tart.
Paradise is indeed now complete!
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