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Threesixtyone°: Sunday Champagne Brunch with a Twist

Posted: Tuesday, 04 August 2015 12:29

 

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Threesixtyone°: Sunday Champagne Brunches with a Twist

Aug 04: The Sunday Brunch at the Threesixtyone° at Hotel Oberoi Gurgaon has been a charmer ever since they started with unlimited 10 Champagnes and sparkling wines but it has now become even better with a better choice of Champagnes and wines and a resident Sommelier who is available for guidance, making it the best Champagne drinking experience, even though bordering on binge drinking, writes Subhash Arora

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large ViewThere is a dichotomy so far as Champagne is concerned in Delhi. Due to heavy taxes, they are quite expensive and are not able to come out of the ‘celebratory drink’ category-with a price tag of Rs. 8,000-14,000 a bottle. However, Threesixtyone Restaurant at Hotel Oberoi Gurgaon offers a choice of 6 Champagnes including 2 Rose Brut: Taittinger, Moet, Mumms, Roederer, VCP Rose (being replaced by Lily Bollinger Rose due to non availability) and Moet Rose lead the charge with 4 nondescript sparkling wines. There are about 10 wines of good quality (including Le Volte de Ornellaia, Nipozzano Chianti Riserva and Rupert Rothschild Classique etc), to make your weekly quota of wine tasting complete. (For non-wine drinkers there are beers, several cocktails, and spirits). All this for Rs. 4495++ (total of around Rs. 5400 AI)!

Plain Vanilla costs Rs. 3250++ with soft drinks, thus making the notional cost of unlimited champagnes, wine, and other alcoholic drinks Rs. 1295++; around $20 for unlimited quantities of wine, beer and alcohol. This would make the wine and champagne buffet the most reasonable despite the VAT and service charge of around 25%.

The Twist

On the face of it, this is great deal but nothing new. Three years ago also they had a similar deal- for  Rs. 4000++. . So what’s new?  Firstly, the higher price can be explained away by the inflation. Quality, variety and style of champagnes are  much better and more attractive. There are 2 Rose Brut which are always 15-25% more expensive but are a better fit with more food choices because of the body and a shade of tannins in them. The wines are of much better quality and the variety is practically unlimited. What is normally available on a glass basis for over Rs. 800 a glass in the restaurant is available complimentary at these Brunches and there are a few additional wines as well.

Click For Large ViewThere are some additional tastings added every Sunday. As Rathijit Dutta F&B Service Manager who also looks after the Restaurant tells me, they have different additions to the tasting every week. This time it was a tasting of Glenfiddich 12,15 and 18 years, by the company brand ambassador who was taking the trolley from table to table and offering the taste to all the customers. I was told that the guests were welcome to taste, or drink a glass or two of the Single Malt, making it very attractive for the Single Malt fans. For details contact  rathijit.dutta@oberoihotels.com

Somm Factor

One big and important factor is the addition of a new professionally qualified and experienced Sommelier Rakesh Awaghade (about whom I wrote in a recent article) to the wine service. He goes personally with the champagne trolley to each table and not only offers the champagnes, but makes sure the refills are ready and if the guests want to know more about a wine or are interested in a particular style, he gives a helping hand to give them a drink of their choice. This gives a great opportunity to novices to learn more about wines on a one-to-one basis and quite a hands-on experience from the customer’s perspective. He even wanted me to taste the Single Malts. As I am a Vinotaler (teetotaler who drinks only wine-don’t bother looking up the dictionary; coined by me, the term  has not yet made it to the wine dictionaries), I regretted but when he insisted, I did nose them and the experience was eclectic (but not enticing enough to make me take a sip!).

Click For Large ViewHe tells me that he would like to convert all the 10 sparkling wines to Champagne. Apparently, the hotel has just signed a contract with Drappier for the Brut and Rose Brut. The family owned Champagne House that was featured in the Wine List at the recently held State Banquet in honour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would be a welcome addition. (Just to clarify, Mr. Modi is a teetotaler, though).

Don’t be surprised if he offers to show you the Patisserie after your meal. You will be pleasantly surprised to find an array of 30 wines, all selling for Rs. 345 a glass (150 mL), a deal not seen anywhere else in India! 

Another Twist in the Tale

Food might be secondary when you are guzzling champagne but food is a must. They have a huge variety of Italian, Indian, Japanese and several other international dishes. But the big attraction that adds another twist in the tale is the huge central counter in the restaurant, covered with various food items. As Dutta explains, ‘At least 50% of our customers are regulars who come by around 1230 pm and leave by 4-430 pm. They need to have something different each time, so the Menu does not become stale and boring for them.’ The previous week had a focus on  Spanish cuisine but the theme for this Sunday Brunch was Nostalgic Memories. You could get several dishes from your childhood days-be it fish and chips, bread pakoras, tacos or old style pizzas. Not only would it make it more interesting for the foodies or those with nostalgic memories but also encourage them to be matched with different Click For Large Viewchampagnes and other wines.

The regular fare, as you may expect, is outstanding. The desserts are to die for, even though one has to watch out for the calories and sugar. But one thing lacking was dessert wine to go with the desserts; even the ordinary Late Harvest Chenin Blanc from Sula or the Santo from Fratelli would be prefect to get people to taste these wines and enhance the flavours. The hotel has missed an opportunity not only of adding to the experience of desserts but also promoting Indian sweet wines.

Additionally, an Indian sparkling wine would not only add spice to the portfolio but many expats (about 55-60 out of a total of 110-120 guests enjoying the binge on a leisurely Sunday afternoon) would enjoy the experience of drinking and tasting the Indian bubblies. Every wine lover worth the superlatives he uses for his wine knowledge would find it a convenient venue to compare the sparkling wines with champagne or other similar wines. Many expats might actually desire a bottle of Indian bubbly with Indian food. What an interesting opportunity it would be to compare a Moet with a Chandon!

Champagne and Childhood food match

The wide array of food and the Nostalgic Memory section gave me a never-before opportunity to taste champagne with street foods.  My personal favourites were:

-Tacos with Taittinger Brut (95/100)
-Moet Rose was a bit too tannic with Nachos and cheese –not a great match despite the strawberry flavours and the bubbles (84/100)
-Bread pakoras with Mumms –lovely (89/100)
-Bharvan kulcha  with champagne Mumms (93/100)
-Fish and chips with Roederer (94/100)
-Nachos with Moet Chandon Brut  (89/100)
-Missal Pav with VCP Rose (91/100)
-Keema Pav with VCP Rose (95/100)
-Sushi with Roederer (95/100)

Click For Large ViewThe absolute scores are not important-the high marks indicate the delectable food-wine match. What was also important was that the pedestrian street foods got elevated to new heights for my palate. Where else could I try the combo anyway? I’d think twice before opening a bottle of champagne costing over Rs. 6000 with paao bhaji without being declared ‘insane’ by the family!

Speaking of the bottle, I timed myself and drinking measured quantities, consumed a full bottle of Champagne (not illegal but disapprovingly too much) in about 3 hours after which I felt I was slightly floating but did not walk through the beautiful water body and was in perfect senses to call for the driver.

Too good to be true

The Champagne Bruch with a Twist seems to be too good to be true. I had a guest from Mumbai at a Delhi Wine Club dinner who was so astounded that he said he must plan to come to Delhi around a Sunday next time to enjoy this experience-which I recommend to every champagne and wine loving gourmand. Plan for a 4-hour stay and get a designated driver. Tell me if it was not the most relaxed Slow Food you ever enjoyed for a small sum of $20 for a buffet of champagnes and wines- food paid and served extra, of course!

Subhash Arora

For an earlier article on Brunches, click here We Recommend: Taste of Taittinger & Ten wines at Trident Brunch
For a recent article on Hotel Oberoi. Click here Bigger Bang for the Buck: Hotel Oberoi Gurgaon Deli

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Tags: Sunday Brunch, Threesixtyone, Hotel Oberoi Gurgaon, Gurgaon, Taittinger,  Moet, Mumms, Roederer, VCP Rose, Lily Bollinger Rose, Moet Rose, Le Volte de Ornellaia, Nipozzano Chianti Riserva, Rupert Rothschild Classique, Rathijit Dutta, Rakesh Awaghade, VinotalerDrappier   

       

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