In 2009 I had helped make a presentation on the Indian wine industry that was presented at the Hyatt International Wine awards in Santiago, Chile. This presentation went in depths on the evolution of wine consumption patterns in India and, how in India, wine was considered a pre-event cocktail drink and was rarely paired with Indian meals.
We have come a long way since then and it is quite heartening to not only see Indians including wines in their overall dining habits but also start cooking with it, as is quite evident with the recently released book by Chef Varun Inamdar “Celebrate Life, Food and wine” which uses wines to recreate some traditional Indian dishes.
Taking this gratifying trend forward, Sofitel at BKC recently hosted a Chaap & Tuscan festival where they featured New Zealand Lamb Chops marinated and cooked with Indian spices and paired with some beautiful Italian wines from the region of Tuscany.
New Zealand Lamb Chops and Italian Wines, two magical phrases, paired together were good enough for us to go and give it a dekko. As we took our seat next to the bay window of the very beautifully lit Zyran at the Sofitel, the chef came and explained his vision towards creating the Chaap menu. The famous lamb chops, and I concur with the chef here, have long been used as a visual ambassador to fine dines around the world, however, they have also always been associated with continental and French grills.
I commend the effort of the chefs at Sofitel to take this luxurious produce and create an entire Indian lineup out of these delectable morsels of premium meat.
The first platter that was served to us that day was the Kerala Pepper Lamb Chop which had been marinated with classic dry spices from Kerala along with strong flavors of onions, mustard and curry leaves. Though the meat was slightly tough, the flavors were delicious and not overpowering, thereby letting the meat shine. This was paired with a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon from Col Di Sasso. The full bodied delicate blend had low tannins and complemented the dish perfectly and had us craving for more.
The next rounds of chops were called Tawa Chaap Lazeez which were grilled and finished with a smothering of a robust Punjabi style tomato based sauce. The chops here grilled to perfection with a slight pink center and were paired with a Tuscan Santa Cristina which I felt, overpowered the robust spices of the Tawa Chops. It wasn’t a bad pairing but in comparison with the previous one, I thought it to be slightly cheaper.
Our final tasting was that of the Awadhi Chop Korma which had prominent saffron flavours in a rich mughlai kind of sauce. I think the creamy subtle sauce worked quite well with the lamb chops and thought of it as the best rendition so far. What made this experience even better was the pairing of the Chianti Classico Peppoli with this dish. As I write these lines, my mouth once again drools thinking of this lovely combination.
As we rounded off this meal with an amazing dry fruits laden gulab jamun and kulfi from Jyran, I couldn’t help but appreciate the vision of the chefs for bringing such fine elements of two different parts of the world to create such a lovely Indian menu. What’s commendable is that despite of using heavy Indian spices, the chefs managed to highlight the natural flavours of the meat and great effort by their resident sommelier for creating a lovely pairing lineup for the dishes thus created.
Though Chef Saha has moved one from Sofitel to other destinations, I am happy to see that his legacy follows through his team and I look forward to many more innovative food fests from team Sofitel over the time to come.
Meal for Two without Alcohol: Rs. 4000 with taxes| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Timing: 10:00 to 23:30
Wheelchair Access: Yes
Address: C-57, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400051
Telephone : 022 6117 5000