Chaîne Online News

Actualités en ligne / News On-Line

Malta Dinner

St Julian’s, July 22, 2012

Our last dinner before the summer break was held at the Edge Restaurant at the Radisson Blu Resort in St Julian’s.

It is a charming place, literally on the edge of a rocky promontory jutting out into the Mediterranean. A stretched canvas awning protected us from the sunshine and its gauzy white curtains fluttered in the gentle breeze coming from the sea adding to the feeling of being cool and refreshed. It was a perfect setting.

As usual, the feasting was preceded by a reception with Champagne and excellent canapés, though not too many to spoil the appetite. Rabbit is almost the national dish of Malta and so it very often crops (hops?) up in one form or other at our Bailliage dinners. This evening it appeared as an amuse bouche (photo left) in the form of ravioli served with the crispiest of crisp pancetta and a cauliflower velouté. Sancerre 2011 from Domaine Vacheron was a perfect accompaniment.

The salmon and prawn beignet (photo above right) which followed was absolutely delicious, so fresh tasting and light. We continued with the Sancerre which went very well.

The bitter orange sorbet which came next was very sharp and cleansing and made a nice break before the main course.

Roast beef and spiced supreme of duck do not immediately spring to mind as partners on a plate, but Executive Chef Edward Vella had suggested that we try something different and they were, certainly, excellent. As was the Château Saintayme, Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2009.

Chef Vella continued his theme of surprises by presenting us with a pudding of an Araguani chocolate and salted peanut tart which really set the taste buds dancing. They were somewhat calmed, though, by a lovely Madeira, a 5-year-old Reserve Broadbent Selection.

Reflection: how the chefs of Malta, along with their confrères all over the world, have developed over the years. Although it is a bit sad that our Chaîne menus will probably never again include such wonderful dishes as ‘Laħam u Patatat fil-Forn’ (selle de bœuf ‘Maltaise’ or, for the Anglo-Saxons: beef and potatoes cooked in the oven), which was the main course of the Bailliage of Malta’s first dinner. How Grand Chancelier Jean Valby kept a smiling face when he was presented with this dish will never be known. Perhaps, like me, he sometimes enjoyed simple food.

Candida Hasselman d’Alby-Ball
Chargée de Presse