Now you would be forgiven for thinking that my earlier story about my experience at Bo Innovation abruptly ended there (and yes it has possibly been the longest article I have ever written and it has taken me months to finish the follow-up piece), but we’re not quite done yet!
Having been carrying a Partagas Serie E No. 2 (kind of like a double-length Partagas Serie D No. 4), I remembered the fellow smoking a cigar on the terrace, and decided to follow suit – there’s nothing like lighting up a quality stogie to round off a sublime meal.
As I sat down at a table outside, the Maître D informed me that the chap whom I saw as I walked in (and he was now having a meeting with a couple of people) is in fact the Demon Chef, and politely inquired if I would like my menu autographed.
|The Demon Chef and I|
I thought “that’s fine, no dramas”, and went back to my table and lit up my ultra-fine piece of Habanos (you can tell I really dig this stogie don’t you? But how could I not, with its smooth, spicy aroma, milky rich/soft smoke sporting cacao and leather flavours).
Next thing I know, Alvin pulls up a chair at my table and introduces himself. He then pulls out his own Cuban beauty (a Bolivar Belicoso if I remember correctly) and proceeds to light it, and we start chatting.
|Cigar Ben entrance|
He has a refreshingly unique take on fine dining. As I had observed, and he confirmed, most of his dishes had their origins in Chinese cuisine – not the style that is more prevalent in Australia, where “Asian fusion” is almost synonymous with South East Asian-influenced flavours and cooking, in particular Thai cuisine.
|Bolivar Especiales No. 2 2009|
His generosity didn’t stop there. Upon discovering a fellow cigar aficionado, he insisted on gifting some rare and fine sticks to me, including a limited edition Bolivar Libertador made exclusively for the French market, a long panatela-sized 2009 Bolivar Especiales No. 2 Exclusivo Alemania, and a Cohiba 1966.
I only discovered much later that the Bolivar
Libertador was 2007 production of only 2,400 boxes, and was a sublime size of 54 ring gauge and 6.5
inches in length (incidentally, the original Cohiba Sublime is my favourite
all-time cigar ever, over and above the 1973 Romeo y Julieta Churchill I
enjoyed at Claridge’s just before the UK’s indoor smoking ban was introduced,
and the Bolivar Coronas Gigantes which were made in the 1960s which my cuzzy
bro DDski found at a deceased estate auction).
Thank you my friend.
|Bolivar Libertador 2007|
Since the Demon Chef and I caught up, I’ve learned that he has opened a restaurant in London, which one of my old school mates Simo enjoyed as part of his “farewell tour” (in the parlance of his investment banking colleagues), and his TV show The Maverick Chef has just recently kicked off.