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Bigger Bang for the Buck: Wines at Gulati’s Spice Market

Posted: Tuesday, 24 June 2014 11:08

Bigger Bang for the Buck: Wines at Gulati’s Spice Market

June 24: Although most 5-star hotel restaurants have kept wine prices very high, a few stand-alone restaurants have kept them quite affordable because they are driven by passion for wine. One such example is Gulati’s Spice Market Restaurant behind the Select City Mall in Saket, which has a modest Price List but most wines are priced under Rs.2000 with the Indian wines available as low as Rs. 950 a bottle, writes Subhash Arora

Photo By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large ViewWhen journalists ask or write about wine culture and the reason for its growth in India, several factors often cited are middle classes and women taking to it; travelers, students, changing lifestyle, business compulsions. One factor that is hardly ever highlighted is that there are wine appassionatos who put their passion for wine ahead of commercial objectives to drive the consumption.

Sumit Gulati, owner of the Gulati’s Spice Market behind Select City Mall, an expansion project of Gulati Restaurant in Pandara Road, is one such example. An alumnus of Les Roches International School of Hotel Management from where he did his MBA in Hospitality, Sumit is so smitten with wine that he wants to make his restaurant a wine destination. Not only would he like people to order wine with the Indian food, he would like to see shoppers visiting the nearby malls to drop in for a glass of wine with perhaps some snacks which in any case, are heavenly. Putting the 5-star restaurants to shame, he has a modest wine list but most of the wines are priced under Rs.2000, with Indian wines available for as low as Rs.950 a bottle!

Let me correct myself- Domaine Schlumberger Princess Abbes Gewürztraminer Alsace 2012 is priced at a (relatively) whopping Rs. 3300. But as Gulati admits, it his personal favourite and he has kept it primarily for his own drinking-customers are welcome to order. At this price, you may skip it and walk through the rest of the wines in the list, most of which cost less than Rs.2000. And this when the wines have to be purchased on duty paid basis-unlike the 5-star hotels and several other restaurants who buy them under the Duty Free license.

Sumit Gulati has an edge over other hotels and restaurants and that is to the consumer’s advantage. He does not have very high overheads-at least in so far as the wine is concerned. It’s an add-on product. He does not have to go through numerous committees to try to jump over the industry-created hump of ‘beverage cost’. He does not have to worry about pleasing the shareholders. Therefore, he says he is happy to put a markup of only around Rs. 500 a bottle on the purchase price which may be lower than the retail price. He is one guy who walks the talk. Fratelli Sette retails for Rs. 1650- you can order it for Rs.1900++ at the restaurant.

The pick of the restaurant is definitely the white wine, Viña Esmeralda Torres Rs.1900. A blend of Muscat de Alexandria (85%) and Gewürztraminer (15%), it is very perfumed and has exotic flavours that tame the chilies in the Indian cuisine served by the restaurant. What’s more, the restaurant has a 375 mL-half bottle for Rs.950 for a couple wanting to drink a glass each and then some. (Insist on the wine being chilled to no more than 10˚C). There are several choices of half and quarter bottles (known as airline size) too.

In the reds, the choice is limited to Torres Coronas 2010 at Rs.450- a Tempranillo, which is available only in 187 mL (airline size) bottle. Fratelli Sette 2010-the Sangiovese-Cabernet blend  is priced at Rs.1900 only. It may taste even better if you knew that it sells for $52 at the Delhi Duty Free Shop and a  5-star hotel we have written about in delWine earlier, lists it for Rs.7000!

If you are a regular at the restaurant, you might soon get tired of the limited choice. The restaurant needs to bolster the list and add a few white wines-perhaps off dry Rieslings like Dr. L Riesling or a Riesling from Chateau St. Michelle or a Riesling –Gewürztraminer blend from Hardys etc. They all pair very well with the Indian cuisine at his restaurant. Similarly, there is a dire need for red wines like perhaps a Cru Beaujolais, a fruity Beaujolais Village or a Shiraz/ Lambrusco in the red wine section.

Keeping in view the limited variety, excellent prices and several bottles available in smaller sizes but a tiny selection, the restaurant is rated (Sumit is rated 10/10 for his enthusiasm though). He would need to expand the list to aspire for 8/10 or above from delWine.

Subhash Arora

Restaurants already covered:

Hotel Taj Vivanta Surajkund

Hyatt Regency Delhi

Radisson Blu Plaza

Taj Palace

Diva

Tags: Gulati’s Spice Market, Sumit Gulati

       

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