In winter, long lunches feel slightly longer than in the warmer seasons – and for good reason. For Luke’s Kitchen chef Luke Mangan, cold-weather lunches are unhurried, taking in multiple courses across a whole afternoon.
“For the long lunch, I might get everyone seated and have two different entrees in the middle of that table and people can just share,” Mangan says. “Then with the main course I’d do the same sort of thing, and you might bring out some cheese and then dessert later. It drags the day on, doesn’t it? You’ve got more [time] and it’s not as rushed.”
Mangan has one other must-have at a winter long lunch: a well-chosen wine. Getting the pairing right can elevate the whole meal, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
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The subtle art of not killing flavour
Food and wine pairing is all about how the flavours of each component blend together, so it’s worth understanding what your chosen wine and dish bring to the table. “It’s important to try the food itself first, and try the wine itself,” says Mangan. “It’s not all about the wine as such, because the food and wine have to work [together].”
Naturally, it takes a bit of trial and error to find the perfect pairing, but as long as you don’t drown out one element, Mangan says you’re on the right track. “When you taste the wine and taste the food together, neither are killing each other, it’s blending and working well together – I think that’s the key to success,” he says. “A Sauvignon Blanc is quite fruity and sweet, so you don’t want to match that with something that’s fruit-driven and sweet as well, because I think you’re clashing there.”
Winter means reds but not always
In winter, we often turn to bolder red wine styles like shiraz or cabernet sav – wines with plenty of fruit, tannin and alcohol. If you’re leaning this direction, you’ll want to pair something that can stand up to the wine’s power and not get overwhelmed. “I have a good range in my Cellar at Kimpton which I have designed around a dinner party vibe. A rare roasted venison loin or fillet would go great with a shiraz or a cabernet sauvignon,” says Mangan. “Perhaps a braised beef as well, because they’re both strong dishes, intense in flavour … you need something bold to stand up to it.”
Winter lunches aren’t exclusively the domain of the big reds, though; there are plenty of other ways to go. Dishes like barbequed or roast chicken, whole fish with Asian greens, or rare roasted tuna on braised lentils are among Mangan’s winter lunch staples. Dishes like these beg for lighter wine styles like pinot noir, rosé or even whites. “A lovely Riesling with a beautiful sashimi might work really well, or barbequed prawns with some Asian flavours,” says Mangan. “Even a Chardonnay would work well.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Kimpton Margot Hotels. Bookings for Luke's Kitchen can be made here.