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Delhi Wine Club
DWC Dinner: I’d Walk a Mile for Wokamama

Posted: Monday, 01 April 2013 13:55

DWC Dinner: I’d Walk a Mile for Wokamama

April 01: Wokamama, the Pan Asian Restaurant located in the urban village of Nathupur in Gurgaon would beckon the gourmands venturing for the first time, to turn back without ever making it to the restaurant due to the village location and the bumpy road, but it was an excellent venue for delicious Pan Asian cuisine that went well with Australian wines, writes Subhash Arora who took the Delhi daredevils for a Sunday evening experience with McGuigan Wines and Yaldara Estate wines

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large ViewDriving to Gurgaon from Delhi on MG Road and turning right from the signal lights that mark the beginning of the Gurgaon Malls District, and the multi-storied office and residential complexes, one hits a dilapidated, bumpy road that takes you through Nathupur village, a part of the Phase III of DLF Township, yawning to turn into an urban center. If you don’t lose focus or turn back, you’d come across a restaurant complex on your left, that already houses  four restaurants, one of them being our venue for the Delhi Wine Club dinner-Wokamama, known for Pan Asian cuisine.

An elevator with an attendant takes you to the second floor and as you come out of it you realize you have entered a rather large sized casual fine-dining restaurant with seating inside on your left and a beautiful terraced area on your right which we had painstakingly selected much in advance after studying the weather chart for Delhi, for the 209th dinner of the Delhi Wine Club.  We had selected and pre-tasted Chinese, Thai and Indonesian dishes, keeping the specialised Japanese out of the ambit of the Pan Asian cuisine.

McGuigan Wines from Australian Vintage

Interesting factors had gone into the selection of wines for this event. Firstly, my personal bias took precedence. When I think of Pan Asian food, I think of Australian and New Zealand wines, not French or Italian. I prefer simpler and fruitier wines; whites go better with the food. If I choose red, I have to be careful that tannins are not overpowering in the flavours.

Click For Large ViewThe members might not know that it was exactly 5 years ago that Chateau Indage had bought Loxton, one of the wineries owned by Australian Vintage Ltd. (AVL) that marked the downfall of the erstwhile leading Indian producer. (It reneged on the deal and paid a heavy price through the court case that was settled in 2009. The winery was bought eventually by The Wine Group of Napa Valley in 2011). If you are interested in details, visit American Wine Group buys Australian Loxton

Perhaps the third largest Australian wine company, AVL has several wineries including McGuigan and Yaldara Estate in Barossa Valley. Imported by Hema Connoisseurs, this option gave us a wide variety of choices.

Since we had the luxury of a wide selection, we decided to choose all three Sauvignon Blancs in whites and 2 Shirazes in reds, giving members an opportunity to compare the different characteristics of the same varietal from different vineyards. McGuigan Black Label Sauvignon was paired with starters. Slightly off-dry, this simple, easy drinking wine managed well with most of the starters, especially taking the sting out of the Red Fish and Green Chilly and Cottage Cheese Fingers with Red Chilly & Basil. The butter and pepper garlic mushrooms were singing in the company of this wine. The mustard honey chicken was crispy and delightful but perhaps a bit macho for the wine but the overall balance was good enough to enjoy the un-ending stream of this highly recommendable item. For those keeping distance from the fried finger-lickin’ good food, the dim sums were equally very compatible with the wine. The cool breeze, live music in the background and the animated talk about the beautiful ambience and thinner than-usual attendance, made the members pig out on the starters even before taking seats in the designated area.

McGuigan Discover Sauvignon Blanc 2012 served with the zesty Lemon Coriander Chicken & Vegetable was a slightly contrived combination but when you have 5 wines to taste with 4 courses (dessert wines are generally avoided with desserts as there are not many takers even after 10 years of wine dinners) one has to take some experimental liberties. Fortunately, a wine like ‘McGuigan Discover’ with slightly fuller body, dry and yet fruity aromas and flavour of passion fruit can be enjoyed even by itself. It might not have given synergy to the flavourful soup but was also available to taste with the delicious Sum Tham Salad that followed with Yaldara Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Surprisingly, a majority of members preferred the Yaldara Estate Sauvignon and asked for many refills even as the desserts were being served later.

Click For Large ViewWe thought the snacks, soup and the salad were delicious. But we did not know the best was yet to arrive at the Main Course. There was a wide choice of dishes that offered a kaleidoscope of flavours and textures well matched with McGuigan Discover Shiraz Viognier (Langhorne Creek) 2010 and Yaldara Estate Shiraz 2011. Banana Fish Indonesian Style was the proverbial ‘to die for’. I loved it with the previous white wine though the slight smokiness and spiciness made it a good match with the lighter bodied McGuigan Shiraz because of the Viognier in the blend. Chicken Water Chestnuts & Black Pepper, Lamb Burmese Curry were simply delightful though the vegetarians claimed vociferously that their Stir Fried Chinese Greens, Stir Fried Zucchinii, Bokchoy Bean Curd & Exotic Mushroom in Black Bean Sauce and Mix Veg. Sweet Chilly Lemon Sauce were more delicious than the non-vegetarian fare. Even the Ginger Capsicum Fried Rice and Veg. Hakka Noodles had a personality and a whiff of superiority about them and could take on both the Shirazes. Here again, Yaldara Estate was the preferred choice though I found the McGuigan more amenable to my palate; it was also a bit more complex.

One would have thought that there would be no room for dessert after the seemingly overdose of the multiple dishes. But the Date Pancake and the Honey Glazed Noodles with Vanilla Ice Cream - a staple dessert in most such restaurants - had requests of encores. It was perhaps the general atmosphere of bonhomie and the music that beckoned a few members to get up and shake a leg that kept the members asking for some of the wines served earlier.

The restaurant owned by the seasoned restaurateur Sameer Puri who opened Lotus Pond in 1992 and the Ranch, knows his Chinese, Pan Asian cuisine well. Under the stewardship of the General Click For Large ViewManager Surajit Sanyal and his deputy Kaushik, the restaurant serves excellent fare-at least going by our selection. A few apprehensions expressed by a few Gurgaon resident members seemed to have been ill founded this evening but the team would do well to keep in mind that one bad experience for a customer can not only keep him or her away forever due to several other choices available but word of mouth and websites like Trip Advisor and Zomato are at his beck and call. The sentiments were best expressed by our members Anil Batra and Anurag Mehrotra who had tasted the food but could not come for the dinner due to pre-commitments. Said Anurag, ‘I really regret missing one the best wine dinners but unfortunately I am not in town on this day and wish I could change my programme.’ 

"I'd walk a mile for a Camel!" used to be the catch-phrase slogan used by R. J. Reynolds manufacturing the carcinogenic sticks, during the years that I spent in the US and more. An avid anti-smoker, I would perhaps run-in the opposite direction. However, I would walk a mile off the MG Road on the Village Nathupur Road to go for another dinner at Wokamama, especially when the weather is nice enough to enjoy sitting on the terrace. Of course, I’d prefer driving on a Sunday evening when the traffic on MG Road is thin and it takes barely 40 minutes to traverse the distance from the South Delhi city center.

Check out their website or call 9958919191 for details.

Subhash Arora

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Tags: Yaldara Estate, McGuigan



Leah O'Shea Says:

McGuigan Wines has recently received an amazing accolade, being named the 14th most admired wine brand in the world (up from #19 position last year). This is an outstanding achievement that is a testament to the great work being done on the brand by all facets of the business. This result see’s us beat out some of the world’s best producers and ranks us the second most admired wine brand in Australia, in front of Wolf Blass, Yellow Tail, Jacob’s Creek and Wyndham Estate. Thanks. Ms Leah O'Shea, Key Account Executive Asia Pacific Australian Vintages Ltd.

Posted @ April 24, 2013 17:05


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