There's a common theory that you can drink Champagne with almost anything because its flavour never really overpowers your palate. The challenge, then, is to find the ideal match for your choice of bubbly. The world may not offer much to celebrate right now, but who wouldn’t relish a moment of a pop of the cork and temporal effervescence?
Drinking is a joy where you experiment and make your own discoveries — the Options team found theirs. This World Champagne Day, explore these bubbly companions that will turn any takeaway meal into an at-home feast.
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV x Hokkien Mee
"Black magic on a plate is how I usually like to describe Hokkien Mee, my supper of choice. Not to be confused with what Penangites call prawn noodles, Hokkien Mee is an alchemy of dark soy, noodles, garlic and a host of other good things but, most importantly, lardons. Fat is where the flavour is and it doesn't get tastier or more pronounced than in this simple wayside staple that is, honestly, the best thing to wolf down after a night out larging it.
As I have termed Hokkien Mee (especially the one from Restoran Mun Wah at Jalan Maharajalela) black magic, what better bubbly pairing than with something that's the polar opposite, something whiter than white? Blanc de blancs champagne, made completely using Chardonnay grapes, is always sharp, lively, with notes of citrus and florals and boasting a good strong acidic spine — a perfect counterbalance to the noodles which can prove cloying if eaten excessively. My recommendation here? Ruinart's Blanc de Blancs. A non-vintage but ethereally elegant and goes with almost everything. A bonus point? Its voluptuously-shaped bottle. So lovely to handle, all roundness and curves." — Diana Khoo
Takeaway: Restoran Mun Wah, 155, Jalan Maharajalela, Kampung Attap, KL. 03 2144 7404. Closed on Wednesdays, 3-10pm.
Armand de Brignac x Thosai
"Thosai, chutney and sambar is a magical combination of flavours and textures that has made it a favoured choice for South Indians the world over — the crunchy, chewy, ghee-laden thosai, the grainy coconut in the chutney and the smooth, silky sambar, hot and spicy, accentuated with vegetables. It’s a simple trio of dishes, but within each one lies a great deal of complexity and balance and this is why the humble thosai is a cult favourite, even in Malaysia. This tasty crepe — made of fermented rice and lentils – has much in common with champagne in that it’s suitable to be had at any time of day.
This pairing also works well because the added sugar gives the drink a richness that complements the bold flavours of the chutney and the sambar, its acidity balances out the tartness from the fermentation in the thosai, and the bubbles bring in a layer of texture. Armand de Brignac’s demi sec, the only prestige cuvee cuvée demi sec in the world, is designed to work well with a hint of spice, making a natural pairing for Indian food in general, its balanced sweetness ideal to enjoy day or night. Much like a well-made, crispy thosai." — Anandhi Gopinath.
Takeaway: Thosai Café, Lot no : KG19W, Ground floor (next to Tesco Mutiara Damansara). 011-5146 4853. Daily, 11am-9.30pm.
Dom Pérignon Vintage 2010 x Spicy mud crab
"If you can handle a little heat, order from the kitchen of The Lankan Crabs a pair of Negombo-style crustaceans. Indonesian female mud crabs are prepared in a mild curry that celebrates the fresh sweetness of the flesh. Each spoonful, too, is rich with roe, demanding a bubbly that can hold its own with equal weight and complexity. A brut would be ideal, sharp and crisp against these warm flavours, but put a cork in the orthodox and consider experimenting with something full-bodied and generous. The nuanced Dom Perignon Vintage 2010 opens a dialogue with the crabs: tropical green mango and pineapple cede to a citrus and floral bouquet before settling into spice and pepper rounded with salinity. In such times, take a chance, be playful with your palate." — Petrina Fernandez.
Takeaway: The Lankan Crabs, 4, Jalan Kemuja, Bangsar Utama, KL. 03 2201 0128. Daily, 8am-10pm. Read our review here.
Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut x Satay
"No matter which night market I visit, and although I may make a few stops at the apam balik and roti bomb stalls, I inevitably find myself in the queue for satay. Marinated chicken that's skewered on sticks and cooked over a charcoal grill imbued with a sumptuous smoky flavour — it's perfection. The meat is juicy and the fat is deliciously charred, but it’s not complete without a chunky peanut sauce for a touch of sweetness. I'd like to pair this takeaway favourite with Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut champagne, a complex drink that is a blend of 50 different crus. Cellar master Hervé Deschamps expertly blends this champagne to create a floral bubbly that shimmers silver-gold in your glass. The crisp flavour and rich finish complement the charred and savoury skewers of satay while the sweetness from the peanut sauce draws out more fruity notes from the Grand Brut. Delicious bubbly in one hand and a satay skewer in the other — what more could you want?" — Lakshmi Sekhar.
Alternative takeaway spot: Restoran Sate Kajang Hj Samuri, Jalan Kelab, Bandar Kajang. 03-8737 1853. Daily, 11.30am-11pm (Fri, 3.30-11.30pm).
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial x Dim sum
"When it comes to weekend brunches, dim sum will always be the superior choice. Nothing beats a round table full of piping hot dim sum fresh out of the steamer or deep fried to crispy perfection. While usually served with a pot of Chinese tea, dim sum also pairs extremely well with bubbly. Its acidic and fizzy quality complement delicate seafood orders such as shrimp dumplings or rice noodle rolls. Plus, it acts as a fantastic palate cleanser for fried fare like taro dumplings or turnip cake. You cannot go wrong with Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial, a classic champagne with a bold character. For a befitting dim sum meal, Les Sense’s generously-filled premium handmade morsels are available for takeaway." — Emily Yap.
Takeaway: Les Sense Restaurant, No.8, Jalan SS 20/10, Damansara Kim, PJ. 018-268 2333. Tues-Sun, 6pm-11pm.