Le Meridian, located in proximity to Rashtrapati Bhawan, Vijay Path, India Gate and Connaught Place, has had an imprint on my life ever since I went to school. My daily transport (when I was not bunking) would circle around Le Meridian and find its way onwards to Ashoka Road. So, for almost 10 years I was driven through the same road that crisscrossed the magnificent structure. As I grew up, I grew in awe too about Le Meridian and its opulence, where in my previous life (I live another one now) I relished the burgers in its coffee shop and gyrated my hips on numbers being belted out in CJ’s – Gurdas Maan and Nazia Hassan were a hit those days – Ohhh Punjabi. And! Yes I did save up for that peg (could not afford a greg) of scotch too with the meagre pocket money I used to get (Psst: Don’t tell my folks). Yes! I am talking about late eighties and early nineties and it was super fun as we knew it then.
When Pawan Soni asked me to accompany him to the Blogathon at Le Meridian, the ghosts (Casper types) from the previous life appeared and egged me on. So I was dreaming about the atrium with its capsule lifts even before I manoeuvred my car into the familiar precincts and handed the key over to the valet like a typical Ohhh! Punjabi … which I am incidentally.
Post sec-check, we approached the function board and could not find the mention of the event or the venue. These darned electronic boards don’t work well, plus they are really slow. What we discovered that there were some docs were doing their doc thingy all over the place. Stumped, Pawan got the invite out on his kali beri and herded me to Eau de Monsoon which is where we were supposed to be. Seems it rhymes with eau de Cologne someone said … Oh! Maybe I did while speaking to myself … an original was maybe what I used a long time back.
I was just happy walking in that spacious lobby once again, even though the brightly lit coffee shop on the left had gone and replaced with a darker cousin. The walkway ahead was filled with ornaments safe perhaps guarded by miniature bomb proof showcases. As we entered Eau de Monsoon, we walked into a really warm hall with a lot of cheery people. We were received appropriately by Akshita Jain and introduced to Meena Bhatia and Anasuya Basu – the stalwarts behind the success of what Le Meridian is today and our hostesses for Taste of Discovery with Le Meridian. Anjali Mehra, the head honcho of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, also joined in to welcome us and made us feel totally at home.
As we were introduced, we were also inundated with a choice of cock-mocktails. While Pawan opted for something green I opted for something white. Not satisfied with my white I found something orange and requested for an addition of some tequila to the same after which it became an accomplished drink for me – I don’t know if they have put it on the menu hence. Anasuya perhaps spotted me playing around and offered me a home creation – an espresso martini which was splendid as concurred by all I shared it with. I even saw few others secretly ordering for the same.
During the *tail drill, I ended up meeting some spectacular people, bloggers like Sangeeta Khanna & Rekha Kakkar, in their own realms and making an astounding global impact. These multifaceted personalities were as amazing verbally as they were with their cameras. I literally surrendered to their proficiencies and immersed myself into the wonderful conversations. Since it was Pawan who was taking pictures from our end, I was rest assured that the photos would be vivid.
Then the wine fairies took over and made us all float to the room of mirrors; the very modern & classy cellar of Eau de Monsoon that housed some of the nicest of nectars available in New Delhi. A selection of wines sourced from world over very diligently displayed as per their regions made me swoon till I found some Indian wines tucked under the Californian ones. Paucity of space I was told by Simon the Sommelier.
The culinary tryst was yet to begin and we were ushered to a swanky private dining room flavoured warmly with really sassy artificial lighting. This is where we were going to embark on the Taste of Discovery with Le Meridian. The degustation menu was already there and to work the menu aptly with the right wines, Super Sommelier Magandeep Singh came in with his special selection of an Austrian White – a 2010 Gobelsburger Grüner Veltliner and a Red from the Land of Kiwis – a 2009 Villa Maria, Pinot Noir. The idea was to pair the wine selection successfully with the specially crafted menu for the afternoon. There was a “vino” with a suspense too and planned for later.