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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Billecart-Salmon at Massimo’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar

May 28, 12 Billecart-Salmon at Massimo’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar

Posted by in Champagne, Food and Wine, France, restaurants

Walking into Massimo’s Restaurant is quite an impressive experience. I was not expecting the high ceilings, supported by striped white and black columns or the polished mahogany wood and leather banquettes, or the cool marble floors gleaming under the art deco inspired sleek chandeliers. In a way, it seemed like the restaurant should have been located in one of the grand train stations built in the US during the 1930’s, New York’s Grand Central Station or perhaps L.A.’s Union Station, both springing to mind. Massimo’s has a raw bar and it was there that I was directed to take part in a champagne and seafood matching event. Massimo prides itself on their signature dish, crudo, literally meaning “raw fish” in Italian, they are very passionate about using traditional Mediterranean methods and ingredients in all their dishes. And which champagne to pair with the crudo? One of the best, of course. That evening we were being treated to a selection of Billecart-Salmon’s champagnes. I’ve always enjoyed Billecart-Salmon’s champagnes and find that they are great food wines. They’ve been making champagne since 1818 and today the seventh generation are now running the house. We were seated at the serpentine marble topped bar and watched the raw bar chef quickly chuck the oysters in front of us, while we sipped on the Billecart-Salmon Blanc de blanc Grand Cru vintage. Paired with 3 native oysters, the Roch Loch Lyne, Colchester and Irish Rock, the champagne took on a different character with each oyster. The monsterously big Roch Loch Lyne was a big and meaty and the delicate Grand Cru was almost lost amongst the saline character of the oyster. The Colchester fared better, there being more of a balance and a crisp iodine note coming from the champagne. Lastly, the Irish Rock seemed to pair best with the champagne, a perfect balance of soil and sea, good minerality showing off from both and excellent balance. Neither seemed to outshine the other and complemented each other nicely: “Those are...

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Decanter Italian Fine Wine Encounter this weekend

May 16, 12 Decanter Italian Fine Wine Encounter this weekend

Posted by in Italy

It’s that time of  year, the Decanter Italian Fine Wine Encounter. I always seem to miss it but this year for whatever serendipitous reason, I am in town and looking forward to attending the event. I had a look at some of the producers attending and some of the big boys will be there, including Castello di Banfi and Isole di Olena, there will be plenty on offer. I am looking forward to trying some of the smaller producers as well. There are going to be over 300 producers on show so there is bound to be a hidden gem amongst the fine wines. There are also going to be various masterclasses available, including Marchesi Antinori, Allegrini and Barolo 2005 – should be good and I’m sure they will have some cracking vintages on tasting. And, last but not least, there will be food and wine matching classes on offer. Tickets are still on sale, £40 per person for entry to the event at The Landmark Hotel in Central London. For more info on the masterclasses and food and wine matching events, visit  http://www.decanter.com/events or call 020 3148 4513. See you there! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Hey, Vini Italiani, what’s up?

May 14, 12 Hey, Vini Italiani, what’s up?

Posted by in Italy, wine bars

You don’t have to go far from the UK to find exciting wines and wine regions. It’s easy to forget sometimes that we are very lucky to have access to wines from all over the world. We have so many great wine shops here. I was reminded of this last week when some Texan wine blogging friends of mine were in town and we decided to do a bit of wine tasting. We visited only a few but they were quite  impressed by the range of wines and wine shops in London. One of the shops we visited was the Italian wine specialist Vini Italiani. I like that name, if you say it out loud, it sounds like you’re referring to your friend Vinny. As in “Yo, Vinny! What’s  up?” Anyway. Italy is one of my favourite wine countries because I’m always discovering a new wine or variety or sometimes, both!  Everyone knows Barolo and Chianti, perhaps Nero d’Avola  and, of course, the ubiquitous pinot grigio but there are so many other varieties and wines waiting to be discovered. I had never been to Vini Italiani but had heard about it via Twitter and Facebook and it looked like they might have an interesting selection. What attracted me more then anything were the enomatic machines. I think they are a great attraction in any wine shop and certainly make the prospect of wine shopping a lot more fun. For those of you who are not familiar with the machines or haven’t had the opportunity to use them, they are basically wine dispensing machines which use a chip and pin type card to purchase the wine. You put on a set amount of money on the card and then slip it into the machine and make your choice. The machines dispense the wines in 3 different sizes, at Vini Italiani it was 25ml, 50 mls and 75 mls, all at various price points depending on the price of the bottle, which gets deducted from the...

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Restaurant Angelus wants to help you negotiate a wine list

Jan 25, 12 Restaurant Angelus wants to help you negotiate a wine list

Posted by in Food and Wine, France, restaurants

Thierry Thomasin was the Chef Sommelier at 2-Michelin starred La Gavroche for 12 years and he’s seen plenty. From the rich and famous to the punters coming in to celebrate a special occasion, he’s been on hand to advise on wine. Thierry now has his own restaurant, Angelus, a hidden gem in West London near Lancaster Gate tube stop, a delightful brasserie de luxe serving up modern British French cuisine. The food is delicious but as befits a restaurant run by an ex-Chef Sommelier, he not only wants guests to enjoy the food but also the wine and has made helping his guest negotiate the wine list a top priority. To that end, he has come up with a special dinner to show customers how to handle a wine list. At first he had in mind a dinner for men only but the demand by women to join in has been so great that he’s added another dinner for women and is even contemplating a dinner for both men and women. We had a dress rehearsal of the dinner, a 3 course meal paired with a wine of Thierry’s choosing. Thierry introduced each course along with the wine and why he thought it would go well with the dish. He also offered up amusing anecdotes and tips on what do do when confronted with a wine list, whether it’s as thick as a bible or two pages, he gave lots of helpful hints. A few top tips, call ahead to consult with the sommelier or look online (many restaurants have their lists online) to see what kind of wines are offered. Champagne is a good aperitif, it’s always my favourite, and don’t hesitate to order wine by the glass for each course. As a matter of fact, each dish was paired with a wine by the glass from the restaurant list. There was a lot more and Thierry is a very entertaining fellow but I’m not going to give away his secrets, you’ll just...

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