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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Friday, January 22 2010. 13:55

Wine Club Dinner: Satisfying Sakura Experience

In recognition of the growing numbers of Delhi Wine Club members residing in Gurgaon, a dinner with Japanese cuisine was organised yesterday at Sakura Restaurant, owned by the Metroplitan Hotel of Delhi. Club member Arun Batra reports

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Gurgaon- resident members have been braving Delhi’s ever worsening traffic logjam to be on time for our Wine dinners,. As a toekn of appreciation, the Club decided the venue of our 2nd  meeting of the year and #154 since its inception, as Sakura Restaurant, in Gurgaon.

Sakura is the first branch of the award winning and leading Japanese restaurant of the same name located at the Metropolitan Hotel in Delhi. In fact, with probably the exception of the Bukhara which opened a New York branch in the 1980’s, this branch of Sakura at Times Tower is probably the forerunner of a trend which I see happening in the near future where hotel chains will attempt to spin off some of their successful restaurant names into stand alone restaurant chains.

The decor at Sakura in Times Tower is very similar to the original right from the red welcoming curtains at the entrance to the minimalistic décor and clean furniture lines .The table and place settings were indicative of the hard work  that the restaurant managers Ashim Rastogi (Delhi Sakura) and Ashish Mathur (Gurgaon) and their team put into preparing our evening under the direct supervision of the F &B Operaions Head of Metropolitan Hotel, Rajesh Khanna. The perfectly aligned set of wine glasses with a custom printed menu card at each seat was worthy of note.

Unlike most wine dinners where we first gather for an aperitif with pass around snacks before sitting down to dinner, the Sakura management felt that their Kobachi items would be best enjoyed seated. So with our glasses of Solbri Cortese DOC 2007 from Piedmont we sat down to enjoy our Salmon marinated in sweet vinegar sauce and the Mushrooms in olive oil and chilly.

Our next white – the Verdicchio dei Colli di Jesi Classico 2008 Moncaro- had a very marked fruity bouquet, good body and a smooth finish. This versatile wine-on the 'We Recommend ' list of delWine recently, made from the Verdicchio grape paired excellently with the both the hot batter of the Prawn and Vegetable tempuras, as well as the cold sushi rice of the California rolls.

After an interesting red bean soup came the favourite of the evening , the Kastelaz Gewurztraminer Alto Adige DOC 2006 from the stable of Elena Walch- a leading winemaker from the Alto Adige region of north-east Italy. This complex golden yellow wine has been rated with “3 glasses” by Gambero Rosso on a number of occasions and lived up to its high rating with a spicy yet floral nose , concentrated flavour and pronounced aromatic nuance on the finish. It paired well with the Chicken Sarada salad and promises to be a winner when matched with lobster and other shell fish.

To accompany the main course of either a Salmon or Tenderloin steak done Japanese style on a mound of sticky rice , there was a surprise in store for us – 2 Burgundy reds served simultaneously which gave our members an opportunity to immediately compare the nuances of both. This welcome variation to our standard one wine per course and 2-3 different varietals within a colour group was possible by planning 2 wines of the same grape varietal for the main course.

Pinot Noirs have always gone down well with Salmon in addition to being a classic with steak –though here the Laforet Bourgogne 2006 Joseph Drouhin had the edge over the Bourgogne 2006 Bouchard Aine. The Joseph Drouhin was more ruby coloured like a typical Pinot Noir, with good structure, pleasing personality and a fruity palate . The cherry coloured Bouchard was well balanced though with a slightly woody undertone.

Chef Hitoshi Shigaki rounded off his presentations for this excellent evening with a trio of desserts and looked a very satisfied man as he took the applause from our appreciative members. In addition to good food ,the service was quick , efficient and very friendly. He gracefully accepted a bottle of wine with multiple bows, as a token of our appreciation

Japanese food is not an easy cuisine to match wines with especially for a pre plated sit down multi course dinner and kudos must go to Subhash Arora for having so painstakingly selected and organized the wines to harmonize with the menu. Domo arigato !!

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


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