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MT 18 September 2016

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maltatoday, SUNDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2016 34 Food Exclusively imported by Charles Grech & Co. Ltd, Valley Road, Birkirkara T: 2144 4400 Nipozzano Vecchie Viti 2012 Frescobaldi, Toscana The Frescobaldi family selected Vecchie Viti to continue the tradition of reserving a private-collection wine for each new- born family member. This wine, sourced from the oldest, and most deeply-rooted vines at the Castello Nipozzano, displays superb complexity and harmony of all its components; it matures 24 months in large oak botti, in accord with venerable Tuscan tradition. Nipozzano Vecchie Viti 2012 is an intense ruby red that introduces a bouquet of floral bergamot and orange balanced with spiced scents of coffee powder and jasmine tea. When tasted it is balanced, complex, fresh and persistent. The tannins blend well with the body resulting in a wine that is silky and harmonious. The wine's acidic component is noteworthy and joins elegantly with the alcoholic content. RACHEL AGIUS THE summer weather has kicked into high gear year. Between the blazing sun and that hairdo-destroying humidity, a lot of us are inclined to emerge only after sunset. With the evenings being a little cooler, diners of- ten want restaurants that can offer a good outdoor dining experience as well as a well cooled interior incase the mercury rises too far. One such restaurant in Duo, located on the Qawra seafront at a pleasant walk's dis- tance from the often-chaotic nightlife of Bugibba. Sit outdoors to catch that lovely salty sea breeze or sit inside to enjoy the ec- lectic décor. Either way, you can count on a memorable dining experience. My guest and I were welcomed to Duo by a conscientious waiter, who would then check in with us regularly throughout the meal. We were seated indoors on this occa- sion and took a look at the menu and spe- cials for the day as we enjoyed an aperitif. The options are pretty well-balanced be- tween meat and fish, interspersed with some unexpected entries – I can't say I've seen many menus with a velouté on offer. We made our selections and were present- ed with a sort of minimalist take on brus- chetta while we waited, thinly sliced bread toasted to a satisfying crisp and served with a moreish hummus, topped with tiny toma- to and onion cubes, like a stripped back salsa. The starters were both delicious and visu- ally striking. You could tell that whoever made them has a very specific idea of how they wanted these dishes to look. I tucked in to a Danish Camembert wrapped in filo pastry; a decadent, melty, irresistible parcel of deliciousness, paired with the counter- point of forest fruits. The addition of fruit to savoury dishes proved to be a theme dur- ing our meal and was used to good effect. In fact, sautéed cherries accompanied my guest's pan-fried foie gras, alongside a beau- tiful golden brioche. Next up came the pan-fried duck breast for me and the pork medallions for my guest. The duck was paired with a date and greens saladette, expertly heaped, and strips of mango – again, a sweet/savoury combi- nation that worked exceedingly well. The duck was crispy on the outside and had a beautiful colour gradient inside. A bird well done. The pork came with what I first thought were beetroot rounds but turned out to be blue potatoes, which have a simultaneously familiar and unusual flavour. The meat sat atop a mound of apples, cooked in apple brandy. There were sounds of approval from both ends of the table. There is no dessert menu – you'll need to ask your waiter what Chef Tonio has pre- pared on the day. Alternately, you may be able to get a word with the chef himself, as he often emerges from the kitchen to check on his diners, a practice I feel more chefs should take on. I had a crème brûlée, my go-to choice when it's on the menu, and my guest opted for the lavender panna cotta. The first thing we noticed about these dishes was their size. If you weren't full before, these babies will certainly do the trick – a nice change from the smear of ice cream or the single bite of chocolate fondant some other res- taurants present you with. The brûlée had a proper, crunchy crust to crack through, unleashing the delicate treasure beneath. The lavender panna cotta was a wonderful lilac colour and encircled a rich strawberry reduction for the perfect pairing. A scatter- ing of berries completed the dish. With its indoor and outdoor seating, Duo makes for a good experience whatever the weather. Though I didn't get the chance to sample them this time, the formidable cocktail menu looked like lots of fun and its offerings will certainly make for suit- able refreshment on those balmy summer nights. DUO RESTAURANT TRIQ IL-QAWRA, QAWRA. TEL: 21578236 EMAIL: TONIO@DUORESTAURANT. COM.MT WEB: WWW.DUOMALTA.COM Resto of the week WINE OF THE WEEK Whatever the weather at Duo PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAY ATTARD

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