As always I reach in time for the event. Only that this time I am shocked and surprised. The Delhi crowd that can come up with various excuses on the fly to be late are all gathered at grand ball room at Lalit Hotel in time for a Chilean wine and food event organised by Chile government. Perhaps, advance circulation of the exotic menu and mentioning that hors d’oeuvre will be served at 7.30pm while mains would begin at 8.30pm has helped.
The highlight of the evening is some of the best meats flown especially from Chile for this event, including salmon, pork and scallops. I find myself amongst friends including Subhash Arora (President, Delhi Wine Club), Sourish Bhattacharya, Reva Singh, Magandeep Singh and Chef Sabyasachi Gorai. While sipping on wine from one of the various stalls put up by the Chile wine producers, Sabyasachi mentions about his recent participation at the Master Chef Junior finale and his new show soon coming up at Zee Khana Khazaana. The concept is nice and I wish him all the best.
I am still to eat better scallops in India. The salmon ceviche is outstanding and keeps us glued near the table where it is kept. Jerk marinated lamb empanada is equally interesting but calamari is a disappointment with its tough and chewy texture. The pan seared Chilean scallops are kept near the mains but do not miss my sharp eyes. It is again a treat with its soft and melt-in-the-mouth texture with crispy fried and ginger pickle providing a bite.
A buffet is never a delight for anyone but if it can still manage to set a benchmark for many of the dishes, it must be exemplary. And this buffet just manages to do so. The queue on the mains is long. Luckily I meet a friend, Sharad, who tells me about the concept – Buffet Shark. As per Urban Dictionary, a buffet shark is a term used when at a buffet, using the tongs in your hand to steal food either a) already on someone else’s plate, or b) out of another person’s tongs. However, Sharad’s definition is different. He says start from the place which has the smallest queue. Without waiting for him to finish I move on to the small queue counter that serves baby bbq pork ribs, ravioli and grilled pork. The bbq pork even though is falling off the bone still retains its bite. Outstanding! However the star dish is the grilled salmon. Perfect crust on outside while flaky and juicy inside. Undoubtedly it is the quality of the fresh fish that is doing the magic.
There are many other lovely dishes on offer and amazing people to meet over the evening which surprisingly gets over by 10.30pm, really early at Delhi’s standard. I love Chilean mussels which are conspicuous by its absence, I appreciate Chile government’s initiative to get together food and wine companies to showcase their best ingredients and make them popular in India. I go back with hope that soon they would be available fresh at a restaurant which is closer to my place.