Sake and Spice, Not Your Everyday Food and Wine Match

Jul 01, 14 Sake and Spice, Not Your Everyday Food and Wine Match

Posted by in All, Food and Wine

I was recently invited to a Sake and Spice dinner at Moti Mahal in Covent Garden. I was intrigued by the whole concept of sake with Indian cuisine because when I think of curry, sake does not immediately spring to mind. However, the dinner was a real eye opener. Below is the menu:                                                                                                                                                                                              Karraree Bhyein aur Salad  Crisp fried lotus Stem and sprouted lentil salad Fukukomachi Junmai Daiginjo – Kimura Brewery — Sagar Rattan Seared scallops with sesame seeds, coriander and tamarind, served on top of crushed lime and cumin peas Atago no Sakura, Junmai Daiginjo – Niizawa Brewery Tandoor roasted lamb chops with kashmiri chillies, Black lentil stew, — Barra Peshwari Mint ‘n’ cumin paratha Fukukomachi Daiginjo – Kimura Brewery (2012 IWC Grand Prix Champion Sake) — Murgh Biriyani Fennel scented chicken cooked with aromatic basmati rice in a sealed pot, Okra ‘salan’ curry, Pomegranate raita Kimoto Classic Junmai – Daishichi Brewery (served warm) — Aam Shrikhand Mango yoghurt Panna Cotta, peanut ‘Gajak’ crush Kimoto Umeshu – Daishichi Brewery The dinner was hosted by Sake expert Natsuki Kikuya and Barry McCaughley, Beverage Consultant for Moti Mahal. Barry gave me his thoughts on Sake and why he thinks its time has come to move beyond its traditional sushi menu home. What makes Sake suitable to pairing with food? Primarily it is the 20 different amino acids in Sake (greater than any other alcoholic beverage, 7 times more than red wine)...

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Moti Mahal dinner and wine

Jun 17, 12 Moti Mahal dinner and wine

Posted by in Champagne, Food and Wine, restaurants

Not long ago I was invited to Moti Mahal for a Taittinger dinner and was pleasantly surprised by how well champagne went with Indian cuisine. Not long afterwards, I wondered how well Indian food went with other types of wine and so found myself invited back at Moti Mahal to see if it wasn’t just champagne that could stand up to the spicy flavours and aromas of India. Moti Mahal was originally established in Delhi back in 1959 where it was one of the few fine dining establishments in India. Moti Mahal came to Covent Garden in 2005 and Head Chef Anirudh Arora is very much inspired by the Grand Trunk Road of India. The Road is one of the oldest and longest roads in S.E. Asia, running Bengal to Afghanistan. As you can imagine, the cuisine varies as much as the road itself. Anirudh wrote a cook book highlighting the forgotton recipes of the road in collaboration with Hardeep Singh Kohli. The book is available online and Anirudh uses some of the recipes at the restaurant.It’s a beautifully photographed book and just leafing through my copy was enough to  make my stomach rumble. But, I digress. The dinner we had was called the Awadh Menu and it’s a menu based on the Princely States. Tandoor glazed homemade fennel paneer, tandoor roasted jumbo prawn, spicy lamb kebabs, king fish simmered in tangy curry,stir fried chicken masala, black lentil dahl, crispy fried lotus stem and raita along with an assortment of breads and rice – phew! This was a meal fit for a King. We started the meal with champagne cocktails, I had the Bengal Tiger which listed cumin as one of it’s ingredients, along with Black Smirnoff Vodka and passionfruit pulp. It was deliciously fragrant and an indication of the flavours and aromas to come. The meal also came with a very fresh tomato and veg salad that you made yourself at the table. The ingredients were humbly presented on a wooden board. It...

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Mint Leaf Lounge – winelist and a Conundrum

“I’ve seen it all, from Blue Nun to now.” So said my charming host, Gerrard McCann, GM of the Mint Leaf Lounge, situated smack in the heart of the City, referring to the changing wine tastes of British consumers. Gerrard had invited me to check out Mint Leaf’s wine list and do a bit of food and wine matching. Gerrard’s philosophy regarding wine lists is to try and list wines that you won’t find on any other wine lists. To that end, Mint Leaf only sources their wines from small boutique distributors and look for rare and unusual wines to offer on the wine list. The list is divided (mostly) not by region or country but by the type or characteristics of  the wine. Hence, they have headings such as “crisp, refreshing & fruity”, “full & creamy”, “fine wines & rarieties” (for the reds), “soft & fruity”, “round & spicy” and “curiosities & fine wines” (for the whites) as well as the more traditional Bordeaux and Burgundy, to help their guests choose the appropriate wine to enjoy with their meal. I found an eclectic mix of wines on the list: Duck Pond Chardonnay from Washington state, Petit Mansang sec from France to a Fiano Mandrossa and everything in between. There was a smattering of Sancerres and Pouilly Fumes as well as white Burgundies to round out the list. A fine balance between Old World and New World, not too many choices but not too few, there seemed to be something for everyone. The reds were the same, with some fabulous choices, Amalaya Malbec by Colome, one you don’t see often on lists but such a winner, Joseph Phelps ’06 Le Mistral and a not too extensive collection of Grand Cru and 1er Cru classe Bordeaux. I could go on and on but if you really want to know more, have a look at the list here. Since we were in the City, they also have an extensive selection of champagnes, from Jacquart to Krug...

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