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Delhi Wine Club
DWC Wine Dinner: Tuck-a-Tuck at TK with Sicilian Wines

Posted: Friday, 20 January 2012 17:36

DWC Wine Dinner: Tuck-a-Tuck at TK with Sicilian Wines

Jan 20 : Tucked in a corner on your left before you come out of Hyatt Regency to go to the swimming pool or the China Kitchen is TK’s Orient Grill that turned out to be a grand venue for ushering the 10th year of Delhi Wine Club with members having unique opportunity of interacting with 7 experts from Sicily and enjoying 11 Sicilian wines with a Menu specially charted out for the evening, writes Subhash Arora

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Hyatt Regency has been a favourite haunt for the DWC members  for wine club dinners and the events are booked out within the day of announcing a dinner at any of its restaurants because of the past excellent food and service record. But TK’s oriental Grill had always been elusive as a venue and the only exception so far.

The restaurant serving Japanese, oriental grills and Teppanyaki cuisine is still going tuck-a-tuck, even16 years after opening in 1995 with a quality that has been maintained well. It’s a favourite spot of hotel guests and several regular loyalists who keep the 50+ cover restaurant busy every night; they like the Teppanyaki style of cooking, sitting in front of the open grill where chef prepares  the dishes with the meats. vegetables and the sauces selected or recommended by them. Open seating on single chairs implores you to talk to your companion, while watching the chef-each has his own signature style of doing the  tuck-a-tuck.

But last Monday was a special evening for the restaurant as well as the members.  A group of 3 Sicilian producers, along with consultants and the Director of the Institute of Vines and Wines were staying at the hotel where a Master  Class was to be held on Sicily the next day. What an opportunity to usher in the 10th year of the club (founded in 2002, 189 events ago)!  We had managed to import extra wines and the management could not say no, for once, to make it a unique evening for the DWC members.

The evening started with two self-service sushi stations with vegetarian and non- vegetarian rolls. The light straw coloured sparkling wine from G Milazzo with green shades,  made in the classic Champagne style from Insolia and Chardonnay had rich bouquet and was fruity, zingy, creamy and crisp- a perfect way to start the evening. Deviating from the usual dinners with one or at most two aperitif wines, we had organised 6 wines to taste before starting the sit-down dinner:

Milazzo Spumante Metodo Classico G.Milazzo                        
Grillo Sicilia IGP 2010 Castel Venus                                          
Kore Grillo Sicilia IGP 2010 Cantine Columba Bianca                       
Frappato Sicilia IGT 2010 Feudo di Santa Tresa (Biologico)  
Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGP 2010 Castel Venus                             
Cartagho Nero d’Avola IGT 2008 Mandrarossa (Settesoli)              

Grillo was light, fruity with plenty of citrus and peaches and easy, pleasant end. Owner of Castel Venus winery, Giuseppe Lucchese  and the Managing Director of Colomba Bianca, Leonardo Taschetta ( relatively short in height, he likes to call himself the little President of a big company- the co-operative is supposedly the biggest wine company in Sicily ) were both present to talk about their winery and the wines. There was not a single person who said he or she did not like the wines (I presume they were honest about it as some of them can be quite vocal about wines at times).

Frappato red varietal was a true darling for all because of its lightness on the palate, cherry-like aromas and flavours and its fresh crispiness at the cool temperature of around 14°C. Cartagho, a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato, was darker and fuller bodied with more complexity and tannins and definitely needed some food.  It was also not as dark and full as a couple of the Nero d’Avola varietals we tasted later.

We started the sit-down with Miso soup with shrimps, spring onion and wakame. Slightly light on shrimps, it went nevertheless, quite well with the Grillo. This was followed by Pan seared assorted mushroom salad brought pre-plated and paired with Rampante DOC Etna Bianco 2009 Cantine Russo.This typical white wine from Etna had a nice personality of its own. It was very floral with mineral character in the flavour though it was slightly austere. It starting heavy discussion with some members unsure whether they liked it at first attempt. Generally, members with evolved palate loved this wine though a few of the newer drinkershad a reservation.

Usually there is a multiple choice of main course with several ingredients with even more number of sauces and vegetables to mix; this could make the chefs go crazy .serving to the full house of 43 guests. So we had broke down the main course  into 3 dishes, each pared with a particular wine, giving the members an option of tasting any of the 7 wines organised for dinner and left-over bottles from the tasting-including some common wines; there were 1 wines to savour.

Sliced basa, red onion, lemon butter soy was excellently cooked and many felt that this was the best preparation for them ever. TK’S shredded chicken, eggplant, black bean sauce was a fairly good match with fruity and mildly tannic Nero d’Avola. Lamb bulgogi, potato, spring onion, ginger, sesame oil and the option of Teppan grill assorted vegetable and  Thai green curry, was a delectable and perfect match for the 2 labels of Nero d’Avola tasted as the last main course ably assisted by an unending service of egg fried rice  and vegetable fried phad thai noodle.

Chocolate truffle cake with vanilla ice cream  is the house specialty that was served as a combo with Flambé strawberries with whipped cream. But the highlight was Moscato della Torre Bianco Moscato di Noto DOC 2010 Marabino  which was  delicious wine and would be -with any dessert .Passito  di Pantelleria DOC 2007 Abraxas,is also the sweet wine that  may be drunk witlhut any dessert also but enhanced the taste of the dessert. The  unique wine made from Zibibbo grape and was a big winner this evening.

The visitors were very impressed and happy with the interactive discussion throughout the evening and the food quality and service. The pre-plating of each dish with fixed sauces selected by the Chef, was an experiment that was an innovative format and was highly successful, thanks to the pains taken by Kumar Shobhan, F & B Director. And his right hand man Abhay. The staff seemed to enjoy the evening’s warmth and bonhomie and the servers and the chef were both quite relaxed.

Clearly both TK and Sicilian wines were the winners this evening- in my parlance both of them were tuck-a-tuck and set the tone for the Master Class on sicilian wines the next day-also held at the Hyatt Regency.

Subhash Arora

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