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Delhi Wine Club
Wine Club Dinner: SECOND Visit not THE SIN

Posted: Wednesday, 03 August 2011 16:44

Wine Club Dinner: SECOND Visit not THE SIN

August 03: Thanks to the Paris-based Winetage Investment Fund co-sponsoring a wine evening at The Second Sin Restaurant in Saket, Bordeaux wines were the protagonists at the dinner organised at the Manré Restaurant in the new Avatar for the second time. Though the food and service barely kept pace in the second half, it was a pleasant evening, writes Subhash Arora who is generally a proponent of grin-and-bear-it attitude at most stand-alone restaurants due to the inherent service limitations.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

As soon as you enter the lounge on the left side of The Second Sin restaurant in the MGF Metropolitan Mall, you are isolated from the hullabaloo of a Mall this size. There are positive vibrations with elegant décor, including furniture which is soft on the eyes and the butt. The place is very expansive and can accommodate 30 or a 100 without a problem. Of course, the music with a lot of variety controlled by a DJ on the console, with a wide repertoire adds to the charm of the restaurant and your mood- there is even a provision for live performance.

What was live this evening was an audio/visual gyan from Minoo Kohli, the Director of our co-sponsors Winetage that is in the process of bringing out a wine fund during the current month. Her informative  presentation went off very well- with the appropriate tune played by the Tokaj Hétszőlő 2010, a Pinot Gris from the Hungarian property in Tokaj, owned by the Bordeaux-based Second Growth chateau Cos d’Estournel.  The wine was dry, fruity, and pleasant on the nose and the palate with notes of ripe apples and fresh acidity. Snacks were delicious and the service generous and polite-the baked fish, artichoke and cheese bruschetta and the roast mushrooms in chopped pieces were never-ending and delicious .   Chicken pieces fried after marinating them with mustard and a coating of corn flakes was the piece de resistance that kept the members glued to the talk and the glass.

Salad Nicoise was a bit of a letdown as we sat down in the restaurant- not only because it was rather bland and ordinary, though with healthy looks. An extra dressing of something like vignarette on the side would have changed the texture and flavour completely-the crisp and crunchy garlic bread was no substitute.  French Cream of mushroom soup and the sea food bouillabaisse were both adequate and paired well with Henri Boillot 2007 which was a mineral and crisp Chardonnay from Burgundy having very fresh flavour in the mouth.  The Bad Boy 2007 was the first Bordeaux red wine which matched the soup rather well-although even on its own it was a pleasant and easy drinking red wine with a good balance but nothing to write home about.

The main course- the option of Pullet Roti or Lamb Tagine was a very good example of food and wine match. Whereas the chicken dish went quite well with Moulin d’Angludet 2007, Lamb Tagine was perfect with the Cabernet Sauvignon dominated  La Reserve de Léoville 2008, the second wine of Léoville Barton whose owner,  Lillian Barton is a Director of the Winetage Fund and hence the opportunity to taste the excellent wine. 

Unfortunately, despite the advance estimates of the break- up of the two dishes, they failed to make the cut. Chicken was too dry, the mash too drab and the jus was almost non- existent in the plate or the palate. Lamb stew did not have the proper texture, wasn’t well-cooked with a few pieces of chickpeas floating in a rather dull and diluted curry, with aromas at best bordering towards unpleasant. The wine service did not help any either, with one of the wines served too chilled and some tables getting a reversed order of wines, creating confusion. Fortunately, the Dessert left a decent, final stamp of approval on the proceedings with the chocolate cake liked by the chocolate lovers and the Mango Mousse cake being very creamy, light and delightful summer closure.

The evening proceedings were nicely summed up by a member Anil Kalra who comments, ‘Last evening was very pleasant indeed and we thoroughly enjoyed the wines though I agree with you the wine service could have been better. As far as the food was concerned we enjoyed most of the courses and the starters served with the Tokaj were quite outstanding.  Regrettably, however, both Nilofer and I were quite disappointed with the main course as the Lamb Tajine and the Poulet Roti were not up to the mark as expected of Second Sin.’

Interestingly, I had gone for the food tasting earlier to ensure the Menu and the  dishes selected were the best possible. The Poulet Roti was finger-licking delicious and succulent with a matching sauce that gave it an extra spike. Since the Club always likes to have an option for the red meat crunchers and as the wines were Bordeaux full bodied wines-a classic match for the red meats, the senior executive chef Krishan Pal was innovative enough to accede to my request and brought out the Lamb Tagine in a funnel-type dish that the restaurant has imported from Morocco.  It was so delicious that I had it added instantly to the Menu. This turned out to be the right decision with 70% of non vegetarians pre-ordering it. Perhaps, the Chef was caught unaware and what came out on the plate was nowhere near what I had tasted or expected- a particular disappointment for me since I normally avoid red meats.

The total number of pre-plated dishes might have unnerved the kitchen staff too.

The Second Sin has a specialty, the unique sauces with different flavours and ingredients they claim to concoct every morning for individual servings. For some reason, they were either missing or delayed in service, thus losing out their USP as a condiment. The wine glasses were fine but the service was unfortunately erratic; not an uncommon sight in a majority of stand- alone restaurants. But if one were generous in evaluating  service- especially since they are not used to pre-plated service for so many people at one go, unlike the 5-star hotel restaurants, the Second Sin is a nice restaurant for an evening rendezvous if you budget  an extra few minutes for the service and ask the waiter for the sauces they can offer for each dish.

Subhash Arora  


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