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Delhi Wine Club
DWC Wine dinner: All Ayes at Set’Z

Posted: Tuesday, 03 January 2012 13:23

DWC Wine dinner: All Ayes at Set’Z

Jan 03 : A superlative wine dinner at Set’z Restaurant gave Delhi Wine Club members an insight into their culinary capabilities including outstanding service as the members enjoyed a delectable gourmet 6-course experience that climaxed with a delicious Amarone 2007 from Tinazzi, writes Arun Batra who is a long-time member of the Club.

Click For Large ViewOrganising a wine dinner for the Delhi Wine Club is never an easy task as our Club President , Subhash Arora will whole heartedly agree. The headaches have invariably always centred around the timely arrival of the wines at our chosen venue –something one could easily say ‘out of our control” given our intricate and irritating laws governing the import of wine into India and its movement between the port and the restaurant. Yet, somehow, Subhash has always managed and with 188 successful Delhi Wine Club dinners to his credit, the published date of every wine dinner always held good and we have tasted quality wines from the world over.

But then there’s always the first time and wine was not the reason!! After a very pleasant wine and tapas afternoon some years back at Hotel Aman, we were very keen to have a wine dinner at this venue once again. The opportunity came up when DLF Emporio Restaurants were taking over the multi-level F&B location that used to be tapas and Lodi and re-launching it as On The Waterfront (OTW). A pre-launch wine dinner would give Prasanjit Singh, CEO of DLF Restaurants, and his team an opportunity to iron out the kinks and for us to enjoy an evening of wine and good food at a throwaway price especially if you took Subhash’s patent “nimble fingers early bird” offer like I did!

Click For Large ViewHowever for the first time in the history of the Club, the published date for a wine dinner of 20th Dec was knocked over when OTW said they were not going to be ready and suggested alternatives towards the end of the month and after a lot of to’ing and fro’ing, the 28th of Dec was chosen. But in the interim, a visit to OTW by the powers-that-be in DLF called for unexpected changes which meant the restaurant launch had to be pushed back to mid January, at the earliest.

Hats off to Prasanjit –realizing the fix we were in, he suggested a shift of venue to Set’z, keeping the date of 28th Dec and more importantly the charges the same. Guess what! It suited us beautifully, given the reputation Prasanjit and his team built up at Set’z as purveyors of high quality multi cuisine food. The 200+ cover restaurant is full every night of the week and despite his knowing in his subconscious that the pre-launch dinner with DWC had been auspicious for the restaurant and the immense success might have something to do with us, he had to give Subhash a date for a dinner for our Wine Club.

So on a cold winter’s evening, we trooped into the bar area of Setz to be greeted with flutes of CaViTi Prosecco IGT from the Veneto region of Italy. I found this to be an entry level Prosecco good for a glass, more as a mouth cleanser between hors d'oeuvres but no more! The finger food was plentiful amongst which the sushi rolls and the chicken and leek yakitori skewers stood out. And for those of you who didn’t know, the line-up of non-veg sushi rolls also had eel in addition to the usual salmon, tuna and crab - delicious!

After the customary welcome remarks and guidance on the wines for the evening by Subhash Arora, we moved onto the main dining area for the sit down part of the evening. Set’z had done a good job of the table setup and even gone to the trouble of printing the customized menu for the evening on rectangular see thru blocks of glass.

Click For Large ViewThe Tinazzi Le Due Giare Soave DOC 2010 was paired with a terrine of mushroom with goat cheese as starters. The 80% Garganega grape based Soave was an easy drinking every day wine with its delicate flavour and went better with the goat cheese than the mushroom terrine.

Next up was the first red of the evening – an Anakena Pinot Noir 2009 from the Casablanca Valley in Chile. This light ruby coloured wine was light to medium in body, had muted tannins and paired interestingly well with the Scallops in a saffron broth. The scallops turned out to be the evenings favourite with the resident food and wine connoisseur at the Mail Today, Sourish Bhattacharya who is also the founder Vice President of the Club said “The scallops were generously proportioned and succulent, and the broth was just what you’d want in winter—the flavours were understated, so the scallops tasted just the way they were meant to be” .

The going got even better with the advent of the main course –we had been asked to decide between the Welsh Lamb and the Chicken with Foie Gras. Thanks to Subhash who had convinced the Executive chef Nick to also craft a chicken dish that could be somewhat matched with the full-bodied red wine- the split between red and white meat choice was down the middle and there were many happy members. I plumped for the lamb and was glad I did –it was just outstanding and probably the best lamb I have eaten in India for some time. Three medallions of juicy flavourful meat with a pale pink centre (I asked for medium rare) changed the way I look at Set’z capabilities which I now know can extend to fine dining and great presentation. My fellow diners who ordered chicken were not so effusive in their appreciation –the general feeling was that though the chicken was tender and fork friendly, it was a tad too dry and probably required more of the thyme jus.

Click For Large ViewThe lamb matched beautifully with the crimson red Anakena Carmenere 2008. The single vineyard wine   was smooth, dry and full bodied with a lingering plummy finish. The name “Carmenere” originates from the French word for crimson and refers to the colour of the autumn leaves and though originally from France, this grape’s largest planted area is in Chile now. I thought that the chicken might have paired better with the Pinot Noir we had the previous course but then there are some limitations in wine pairings with set menus with multiple choices.

The best wine of the evening was kept for the last course – that’s the way it usually works out at our wine dinners and this one was no different with the superlative Tinazzi Amarone della Valpolicella 2007 Doc for which Subhash had organised a cheese platter with Chef Nick. This was the perfect extra course for this ripe polished wine with a lingering finish placing the top quality Amarone up there in the category of Barolo and Barbaresco. Though the 2007 Tinazzi was classified as a DOC, it was boxing well above its weight -interestingly, the Amarone area of Veneto was upgraded to a DOCG category in 2009 in recognition of its consistently high quality. The bouquet and flavours of the wine significantly intensified if I compared my first and last sips so if you are fortunate to drink this wine again, do be patient and savour it slowly.

Despite the fact that it was weekday, Set’z was packed to the gills – nevertheless Prasanjit’s able executional team lead by Abhijit Mukherji and Suveer Sodhi delivered a level of table service comparable to the best in Delhi and enabled Chef Nick to showcase his talents admirably. With the high standards DLF restaurants have set for themselves, it would only be a matter of time when OTW establishes itself as at the top of Delhi’s dining ladder. We now look forward to receiving an invitation for a wine dinner at the OTW (when it opens) at the same prices – are you listening Prasanjit??

Arun Batra is a Delhi based food and wine enthusiast and a long time member of the Delhi Wine Club.




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