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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Monday, January 25 2010. 18:35

Restaurant Feature: Gastronomical Delight with Masi at Taj

In what may be a mere coincidence, Veneto based Masi presented a dream gastro-oenological experience at the beautiful Taj Mahal hotel from January 18 -21, encompassing Vinitaly India in which it had participated in 2007 as a member of the Grandi Marchi producers of Italy. Subhash Arora reports.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

While there was a scramble for plates for the buffet lunch laid out for the media in the foyer of the banquet room at the Vinitaly India venue at the Park Hotel, a real gastronomical experience was beckoning at the nearby Taj Mahal Hotel at the Grill situated at the Chambers on the top floor.

Masi wines imported in India by Brindco played an important supportive role with the beautiful locale and infra-structure provided by the Hotel, with its gold plated cutlery and white gloved waiters.  But the chief protagonist was the Venetian Chef Andrea Messini, assisted by his sommelier wife Lara Perotti, on an assignment by Masi to impress the buds of discerning Indian palates.  Taj is a fairly exclusive hotel but the Chambers is exclusively for its members. Apparently, only members could cherish the dream preparations by the Chef during the promotion.

Chef Messini and Perotti, with an international culinary and oenological experience of 20 years, not only work with Masi as consultant chef and sommelier team, but also own a small and exclusive restaurant of their own on the eastern side of Lake Garda. The 30-cover seafood-specialty restaurant does not normally take more than 10 customers on a strictly pre-reservation basis. At a minimum of € 100 a plate menu without wine, it is the cooking of Chef  Messini that attracts the locals and the admirers a couple of hours away.

The menu of the day is decided in the morning, depending on what is available absolutely fresh. Chef Messini goes early morning to the suppliers and picks out every thing from tomatoes to shrimp to lobster. Of course, all the pastas are home made and fresh every day, based on the bookings. ‘I believe in bringing out the best out of the fresh ingredients. I don’t go for molecular gastronomy etc, though I do experiment all the time,' says the Chef.

And the Chef displayed some of his dexterity with the Degustation menu. For instance the first dish was a tomato terrine with shrimp and lobster ; great presentation and flavours. But he had added a few sea salt grains on top of the tomatoes, the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and 2 small pieces of tangerines with a sharp acidic kick, that made a lot of difference. Needless to say the dish was a perfect match with the Soave.

Every dish that followed had the special magical touch and made the eating experience a gourmet’s delight, thanks to the Chef and Lara who had matched the wine perfectly with each dish. The grand finale was the hard cheese with Amarone, decidedly the signature wine from Masi.

Bringing food and wine from the kitchen/ bar is also an important part of the experience. This is where the Taj Mahal hardly ever slips up. And at the Grill, excellent service is always a given.

The gala dinner that was to take place at the end of the promotion was a steal at Rs.3200 a head. It is a pity that the Taj had reserved the event only for the members at the Grill. One can appreciate the need to limit, but it would have been a far better idea to at least invite members from their own data base for the event, so they could find out what the culinary art from a great chef can do to good wines-bring true synergy that is always the objective and is possible with Italian food and wines.

Subhash Arora

Degustation Menu


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