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 Series featuring the Grand Trunk Road

Mar 28, 14 Moti Mahal Dinner Series featuring the Grand Trunk Road

Posted by in Food and Wine, London, restaurants

I attended a dinner recently at Moti Mahal in Covent Garden featuring the culinary and cultural heritage of the Grand Trunk Road. For those of you unfamiliar with the GTR (as it’s commonly called) is an ancient trade and military route that linked the East and West of India for centuries. The road was crucial in the process of migration to Britain and has close links to Britain today. The GTR is dear to the heart of Moti Mahal chef, Anirudh Arora whose cuisine starts its journey in West Bengal continues through to Benares on the banks of the Ganges to Delhi, up to Amristar, through the hunting country of the Punjab, across the rugged mountains of Peshwar’s Khyber Pass and into the heart of Kabul. I have dined at Moti Mahal a few times and each time the food has been excellent. The dahl has to be the best I’ve had in along time and the kulfi ice cream is not too sweet or too heavy. The evening I attended was the first in the series and featured a talk and the photographs of Tim Smith. Tim (former writer for The Observer) works on long term photographic project and his main interest is Indian and Asian culture. Throughout the dinner, we were treated to a beautiful slide show of Tim’s photos with a running commentary on the who, what and where of each photo. Moti Mahal is featuring a series of dinners over the next few months, including a Beer and BBQ evening, in collaboration with a number of London’s upcoming microbreweries, a talk from an acclaimed filmmaker and an Asian wine pairing with New Zealand wine-maker, Matt Thompson. For more information, visit the Moti Mahal website. *All photos courtesy of Moti Mahal   Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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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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Taittinger and Indian cuisine – can it handle the spice?

Apr 30, 12 Taittinger and Indian cuisine – can it handle the spice?

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

My regular readers know of my fondness for champagne, some might say obsession, but can I be blamed when champagne is such a versatile wine? Just when I think I have found the best food matches for champagne, along comes a new combination that makes me add another feather to champagne’s cap. I was invited to dinner at Moti Mahal to see what Taittinger could do when paired with Indian cuisine as well as meet Clovis Taittinger, the next in line at Taittinger. Clovis was in town last week to show off what his family champagne can do when paired with Indian cuisine.Clovis is known as a bit of a wild man and upon meeting him, I could see why – rushing down the stairs, slightly disheveled hair with impish smile and friendly air. He’s like a French, slimmer, darker version of our Mayor, Boris Johnson – and just as amusing. He had us all chuckling within 1 minute of opening his mouth,  something about the Kama Sutra and champagne, I think. Anyway, Clovis went on to tell us a bit about what he thinks makes Taittinger special – the quality and consistency of their wines is their calling card. Their wines are made with a high percentage of chardonnay which they believe gives them the finesse, elegance and delicacy that one expects from Taittinger. When queried about the best years, he replied he doesn’t remember the years, just the moments. A good way out of giving a straight answer he later admitted! While nibbling on an assortment of canapes we sipped the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blanc Brut 2000. Made from 100% grand cru chardonnay it’s a charming wine, Clovis defining it as a “dancing champagne” and if any champagne would do that, it would be the Comtes, great as an aperitif. Roasted beetroot and peanut salad with a lentil dumpling and yoghurt Chaat was served with the Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé NV. The sweetness of the beetroot was enhanced by...

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