Thursday, January 20, 2011

First food bloggers dinner of 2011! (Thank you Four Seasons Wine, UB group and Melissa!)

2011 kicked off fabulously for our bloggers meets with the first Mumbai Food bloggers dinner of 2011! (And if this one is anything to go by, we are going to have some fabulous dinners this year.)

I was thrilled to be able to pull together an almost perfect bite of a Mumbai Bloggers Dinner to ring in 2011 for our (growing) tribe of foodies that eat (or drink), shoot and leave! Over a fabulous meal of great food and matched wines old friends met again, new friendships were made and we shared our experiences of blogging through the year that was and the year to come.
And what a crazy dew days it was getting it all together, with mails going back and forth between me and Melissa Serao of Grey, planning the where, when and how, planning menus and sending invitations. But it all came together in the end, thanks to Melissa who did all the groundwork and on the 19th about 18 bloggers (the most ever) settled down to a degustation dinner.
The dinner was at Olive in town and I was terrified I would not get there in time, because I had a packed day with two stories to deliver and a cooking demo across town at Nature’s Basket Powai AND a school errand to run for Natasha but someone up there loves me because I managed to get to everything on time that day even a photo finish to the Bloggers Dinner arriving about 5 minutes past 8. Thankfully my journey itself was kept stress free with nagging a certain Mr. Knife and Mr. Lotsafood AKA Shanky to get there. The Knife made it, Shanky unfortunately could not. And he was missed as were others. Although Purple Foodie was NOT because she is off tripping the food fantastic in ITALY! I am sure her blog post on her return will be a treat.

Our dinner was hosted by UB wines who have a large portfolio of spirits, that often overshadow their portfolio of wines consisting of the brands Barrique Reserve, Bouvet Ladubay and Four Seasons at which Abhay Kewadkar their Chief wine maker took us through a wine tasting degustation dinner of dishes matched with UB wines. The wine and food matches and the knowledge behind them that Abhay imparted was illuminating and the arrangements orchestrated by Melissa were perfect. UB Wines, shone through.
I have to say here, that Olive on the other hand, did not showcase themselves well at all. The staff was politely SURLY and the food could have been MUCH better. No restaurant of this calibre should be allowed to get away with that sort of behaviour at any time, but especially when it is a privately planned special meal such as the one UB wines organised with so much care. (Olive in Delhi by that measure is far more gracious and the food is excellent). Which is unfortunate, because the setting, the clink og wine glasses and the candlelight gilded our dining experience with a touch of magic!

On that note I would like to invite you to check out some of Mumbai’s FAB food bloggers who weave their own special magic around food, be it recipes, restaurant reviews, pure food writing, you will find it all on our list! So what if print media does not give foodwriting space (a personal grouse with me is that in a food obsessed country like India we have a stagnant food writing industry!). But thats a post for another blog and another day. You can get you fix of some great food porn via these links. Bookmark them and celebrate them everyday because they work a lot harder to get you that post than most food press (with a few esteemed exceptions)! , ,,, -,,,,!/HungryMumbai,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
The month of January is named after the two headed Roman god Janus, who has one head looking back and the other facing forward. We have all bid farewell to 2010, drawn up our New Year resolutions, kept some (and even failed with some by now) and are squarely looking forward to all the new things 2011 holds in store for us. And I wish all these yummy folk a great 2011!

The players lined up...
...In more ways than one!

Salad Course
Options Wine Cured Grape and Goat Cheese Salad OR Smoked Salmon Salad

I chose the Grape salad, but I snuck a bite of the other one from the generous Tara’s plate, turned out mine choice was sound. The elements of the salad were great, with a lovely fresh crisp greens, succulent grapes and a delectable honey yogurt dressing, my only grouse was that the salad could have been better mixed. I also felt the restaurant could have been more generous with the Feta on the grape salads as they could have with the smoked salmon on the Salmon salad. UB’s choice of the Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc with this, however was sound. The varietal characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc include aromas of green peppers, asparagus, gooseberries and herbs which pair very well with green leafy vegetables, making it an ideal pair for salads. The crisp acidity of the wine also cut through the creaminess of the dressing leaving the palate refreshed. The 3.5 bits of Chevre that were on the salad were a heavenly match with the Sauvignon Blanc.

Appetiser Baked Fillo – Wrapped Brie OR Char Roated Prawns

I think this was possibley the best course for me, I ordered the prawns and got two succulent juicy perfectly charred prawns. Could have had a few more for sure! The Four Seasons Viognier served with the appetizers with its classic ripe fruit aromas of peach, pear and apricot with a floral hint of violets compliment the delicate prawn meat with its hint of sweetness, its fruity rich flavours cutting through honey and carbon notes of the char roasted prawns,

A foods ey view of the table!
Main course - Moroccan Vegetable Tagine with Cous Cous OR Chicken Shish Touk OR
Braised Lamb OR Roasted Fillet of Beef

I chose the Roasted fillet of beef, it was beautifully presented, with two lovely salt encrusted pieces of meat. The sauce and seasoning were perfect, unfortunately the meat was tough. I thought the vegetables could have been cooked better as well and the mushrooms were too sour. Thankfully the Four Seasons Merlot and really really nice Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon were served simultaneously with the main courses and helped wash away the sour grapes feeling of I should have had the lamb (which was very good, I know cos I snuck a piece of the Knife’s plate). The Merlot with its soft tannins and ripe black fruit aromas especially plums helped cut through the vinegary-ness of the mushrooms and the The Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with its rich bouquet of blackcurrants, ripe red fruit, a touch of spice was a good pairing with the proteins in my red meat its evolved complex barrel aged nature the wine enhancint the perfectly seasoned slightly salty crust of the meat.
Seeing the light in a glass of wine!
Dessert ! the Cheesecake was yummy, the cremebrulee disappointed!


Sassy Fork said...

Cheers to you Rushina! Have a wonderful year! Can see everyone had a blast!

Gaurav said...

it was a fun evening.. thanks for setting it up Rushina.. look forward to hanging out soon.