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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Thursday, 29 July 2010 10:44

Visit flavors P'tit Bar in Delhi

Tarsillo Nataloni, the Italian owner of Flavors Restaurant has opened a petit bar and restaurant to serve French food and perhaps the most attractively priced wines in Delhi, that should entice any wine lover in town to visit the bistro for a meal or a glass or a bottle of wine without burning a hole in the pocket.

I chanced into the bar a couple of night ago as Flavors was overflowing with ye young faithful enjoying their pastas, pizzas and the dolci in an animated atmosphere and the manager suggested checking out the recently opened Flavors P’tit Bar across the small garden, in the community center in Defence Colony.

A rather small place with informal sitting for 50 persons (including the open balcony on the first floor), it has a petit Menu, petit wine list and a pretty French lass Yasmin to welcome you in ooh-so-French style. Is it a bar or a restaurant- you wonder aloud, looking at the limited menu and the seating arrangements? ‘It is a French style bistro with food as my mother would cook it,’ she volunteers. ‘One can relax here and have a meal and conversation at the fraction of what it would cost in a 5-star hotel with stiff waiters,’ she chuckles. I would observe later that she is warm and friendly with every customer and has both men and women charmed-many seemed to be repeat customers already.

But what impressed me the most was the wine list. Rather limited in repertoire, with under 20 Italian and French wines, prices are the most reasonable in town and this could be its USP, though the French food lovers would love the place for the dishes as  well, starting from the French onion soup. ‘A majority of our clients are French who seem to have discovered what they have been missing in Delhi-the casual French cuisine,’ says Yasmin. It appears the word has spread fast among the expat community- around 80% of the customers are expats, though the numbers would change once the locals hear about it.

Most of the wines are priced around Rs.1500, including VAT and of course, the 30% excise duty on the MRP (the maximum retail price, declared by the distributor) in Delhi, besides the high customs duty. No doubt, the quality of wines is entry level to a notch better, but it affords a good opportunity for the newer wine generation to try a bottle if you are a party of 3 or more. Otherwise, there are a few select options including a Prosecco Frizzante to order by the glass at Rs. 250 each (125 mL). Good deal but I recommend that you should check out and make sure the bottle has been opened the same day to ensure freshness, till the bistro has installed some wine conservation equipment.  

All wines are priced at Rs.1350-1650. The only exception is Moet and Chandon Brut champagne which at 6500 is also fairly priced. In case of doubt, order Cortese Piemonte at 1450 or Pinot Grigio at 1500. There is not much choice in whites anyway and I hope Tarsillo Nataloni, the owner adds a couple of choices like Verdicchio, San Gimignano or perhaps Grillo. For reds, I would recommend Barbera at Rs. 1450 although he insists his Chianti is excellent. I am intentionally producers and vintages

When I entered the bistro last night, it was packed with young people, even though it is relatively new. They have not even got down yet to getting the proper wine glasses. The average age appeared to be 27-28; perfect age to get into wine and perfect place to try out a glass or two. Apart from the regular menu they also have a dish du jour (costing Rs. 350-400) and Nataloni who is passionate about wine and is always scheming to encourage his clients to try out wine, is contemplating pairing wine with a few dishes and mark down to Rs.150 (taxes extra) a glass when ordered as a package (this is precisely what I had recommended in my previous blog-but this is his original idea). He is already considering increasing the quantity to 150 mL, saying the customer should get enough wine so even one glass suffices with the dish

After crying hoarse against the unfair system and procedures including high taxes to sell wine in restaurants, Nataloni is now resigned to the fact that he is in India and not Italy, and taking positive steps about wine promotion within the existing imperfect system.

It is worth visiting Flavors P’tit Bar in Defence Colony and ordering a glass of wine just to say cheers to him for his efforts to promote wine-with food and do write to us about your experience.

Subhash Arora 


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