The idea that patience is a virtue – one that pays off – has been extended into arguably one of the coolest brand collaborations we’ve ever heard of, something that was explained to us when we attended the LOUIS XIII Gourmet Experience at One&Only’s Nobu Restaurant recently.
For the uninitiated (me, before I was invited to this stupendous experience), LOUIS XIII is the world’s most luxurious cognac: every bottle is the culmination of up to 1 200 eaux-de-vie sourced from Grand Champagne, the finest vineyards in Cognac, France. Each hand-blown crystal decanter contains the work of several generations of cellar masters, as it takes up to 100 years before it’s finally ready to sip.
LOUIS XIII feat. Pharrell Williams
I happened to be seated next to LOUIS XIII’s charming private client director Jörg Pfützner, who gave me the lowdown. Are you ready for it? Last year, the cognac hooked up with Pharrell Williams to create a song called “100 Years”, but you won’t be hearing it any time soon. It’s set to launch in 2117 – and only if we take care of our environment – as the track’s been recorded on a clay disk stored in the cellars of LOUIS XIII, in part of France expected to end up under water if we don’t get a grip on global warming. In short, it could be something our great grandchildren’s generation get to enjoy – or literally melt like an ice cap if we don’t play nice with the planet. Yoh!
Six-course gastronomic journey
But let’s get back to Cape Town, and more specifically the LOUIS XIII Gourmet Experience at Nobu: a six-course sensory journey that perfectly complements the spirit, whose notes include myrrh, honey, dried roses, cigar box, leather and figs.
The menu comprises fire sensory states:
Harmony: Scallops and foie gras with vanilla miso and balsamic reduction
Contrast: Langoustine and caviar with crispy shitake and gomma dressing
Decadence: Black cod New York-style with yuzu miso and kataifi
Epitome: Chilean sea bass and dashi ponzu
Elevation: Slow-cooked wagyu beef with truffle rice
Each dish was utterly delicious but the stand-outs were Harmony and Decadence. The melt-in-your-mouth scallops and foie gras served with a vanilla miso and balsamic reduction made me want to lick the plate. (But I didn’t, because I’m a classy lady.) It set the tone that we were truly in for a treat.
The black cod, Jörg’s favourite, was also sublime. The fish itself was so perfectly prepared, it fell apart with the touch of a fork, its delicate flavour brought out beautifully by the subtle citrus of the yuzu miso dressing.
As for the pillow-soft wagyu beef (barely cooked to beyond rare), it served to surprise and delight as it was flambéed right at the table. It added a wonderful dash of celebratory flair to culminate a very decadent dinner that certainly wasn’t short on voila! I also really enjoyed the truffle rice it was served with. In fact, calling it “truffle rice” kind of sells it short, as to me it was more like a creamy, dreamy risotto that could easily hold its own as opposed to being served as a complement.
Speaking of compliments, the service at Nobu is second to none. Being famously clumsy, I managed to drop my serviette three times but, in each instance, it was swooped off the floor within seconds and immediately replaced. Eagle-eyed attention aside, everyone was incredibly knowledgeable (in order to present the experience, those involved have to participate in extensive training) as well as friendly and warm. Sure, you’re getting an experience that’s out of the top drawer, but I appreciated that it was delivered without a dash of snoot.
In short, whether you appreciate the world’s finest cognac, love good brandy, or simply enjoy superb Asian-inspired food that’s elevated to an art form, the Louis XIII Gourmand Experience at Nobu Cape Town is going to knock your socks off.
By Leigh van den Bergh (aka Lipgloss Girl)