Category Archives: Media Articles

HRA | All in a day’s work

HRA - Prowein - Nikhil, All Things Nice - November 2018 issue - page 11

Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recently conducted a session of Food Safety Supervisor Training in Advance Catering in collaboration with HRAWI in Mumbai on November 2, 2018 at Four Points by Sheraton, Navi Mumbai. About 35 participants attended the programme. These trainings were also conducted at The Pride Hotel, Pune, on October 31 and at West End Hotel, New Marine Lines, on November 1.

ProWein, one of the world’s largest wine and spirit exhibition platforms, hosted the ProWein Education Campaign in association with sommelier Nikhil Agarwal for the first time in India. The educational seminars were scheduled at Sahara Star Hotel in Mumbai and were targeted towards decision-makers in the HORECA trade. Agarwal hosted three tastings to a packed house of
60-plus guests. It included a malt whisky masterclass, blind tasting of Indian and international wines, and exploring Australia’s wine regions. The audience were a mix of sommeliers, wine consultants, restaurateurs, hoteliers, retailers, importers, winery representatives, wine experts, and wine makers.


Eat Stay Love | High on style: Hong Kong


There is something special about Hong Kong: a city that offers a slick mix of top-end Western lifestyle, vivacious energy of the East and friendly people from all around the world. The city’s food and drink culture is amongst the finest in the world with quality as high as those towering structures all around. You have to be really unlucky to walk into a place that didn’t do a super job. No matter how often I visit this city, I am always surprised by just how many bars there are and how busy they all get on most nights. Here are a few of my favourites:
Sevva: Modern equivalent of traditional diyas wow guests as they
enter this rather fashionable destination situated in the penthouse
of the iconic Princes Building in Central. The bar is swish and the
outside deck offers brilliant views of the city.

8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA: Head to the three Michelin-starred
Italian restaurant for great food, tasty cocktails and its fantastic
wine offerings. The bar is headed by one of India’s top mixologist,
Devender Kumar whose popular drink—Optimist is a must-have.
It is an exhilarating mix of Bacardi Carta Blanca, ginger and honey
syrup, lime juice and basil, which goes well with the authentic Italian
flavours served here.

Stockton: Thanks to its extensive whisky collection, this space is
ideal for whisky aficionados, but its menu also features great cocktails that are named after some of the greatest writers of our time. The Persian rugs and deep sofas add to its classic charm.

Quinary: Helmed by ‘Diageo World Class Hong Kong’ and ‘Macau
Champion,’ Antonio Lai, this bar has made it to ‘Asia’s top 50’ and
the ‘World’s 50 best bars’ list multiple times. It showcases a rotary
evaporator and other equipment used for redistilling and slow cooking their own flavoured spirits.

J.Boroski: Give your adventurous side a treat at this invitation-only
bar hidden away off Hollywood Road. A brainchild of New York
mixsultant Joseph Boroski, the bar does not have a cocktail menu.
Here the bartender asks for your preferences and creates a cocktail in front of you. Ezra’s Ln, Central, Hong Kong

Iron Fairies: Designer extraordinaire Ashley Sutton’s highly
anticipated bar is also perhaps the most whimsical place I have
ever been too. It is inspired by Sutton’s experiences in iron
ore mines in Western Australia. The décor transports you to the
set of Mad Max Fury Road with countless iron butterflies floating
over your head. I go there for a couple of drinks before
wandering down the rabbit hole. LG, 1 Hollywood Road, Central,
Hong Kong

Lily & Bloom: The two-storey restaurant and bar has consistently
been awarded dining and cocktail accolades. This is the city’s hottest
modern American restaurant that turns into an intimate lounge on
the weekends. The cocktails are fantastic and the bartenders are at
the top of their game.

La Cabanne: I chanced upon this cosy wine cellar & bistro when our
group of sommeliers decided to go in after a long day of tasting. The
bar focuses on wines from all over the world. While the spotlight is on French wines, drops from small artisan growers throughout Georgia, Australia, Chile, Spain and Italy are also scattered throughout the list.

Eat Stay Love | Tapas Treats with Chef Omar Allibhoy

Eat Stay Love teamed with All Things Nice for an exclusive dinner in Mumbai and Delhi.


Earlier in June this year, critically-acclaimed Chef Omar Allibhoy, of Tapas Revolution, London, was brought down to India by All Things Nice to give epicureans a taste of his famous contemporary tapas styled cuisine at two exclusive dinners hosted at the JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu and Hotel Pullman New Delhi Aerocity. The young chef collaborated with Vishal Atreya, Executive Chef of JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, and Ajay Anand, Culinary Director of Hotel Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, to offer an eight-course meal in each of the two cities. During the course of the evening, Allibhoy kept guests entertained with stories from his childhood. He also spoke about his own evolution as a chef, and of his family’s connection with India— his great-grandfather was originally from Mumbai.

The scrumptious tapas was complemented with wines from France, Argentina and Chile, selected and paired with the courses by Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal, CEO—All Things Nice, who co-hosted the evening with Chef Omar Allibhoy. The menu featured Jamon Iberic Con Pan Con Tomate (melt-in-your-mouth Iberian acorn-fed ham that Allibhoy had especially brought with him); Arroz Negro (black seafood rice cooked with squid ink); Pulpo Fritto (fried octopus leg served with mash, smoked paprika and olive oil), and Chuleta de Cordero Moruna (grilled marinated lamb cutlet served with grilled spring onion with nuts and tomato sauce). The menu for vegetarians did not disappoint either. There was the beautifully-plated and delicious Paellas de Verduras (saffron-infused vegetable paella), Berenjenas Rellenas de Pisto (baked aubergine filled with pisto and gratin with béchamel) and the simple yet tasty Pan Con Tomate (grilled bread with garlic, tomato and evoo). The dinners were attended by guests like Christian Rummel, Ignacio Ducasse, Sunil and Krishika Lulla, Sanjiv Walia, Sarika Shetty, Naveen Chawla, Gaurav Gupta, Gagan Rai, Prabodh Agrawal and Sharad Puri. Also seen at the event were: Frank Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, Jose Ramon Baranano, Ajit Pai, Tarun Khattar and Tristan Beau de Lomenie. The wines for the evening were courtesy of Flipsydee, ASPRI, Agnetta International and Grover Zampa and included wines from producers like Robert Giraud’s, Chateau Timberlay, Mythic Mountain, Valdivieso, Bodegas Sierra Cantabria and Concha Y ToroV. Remy Martin VSOP Cognac Fine Champagne was served with Cream Catalona for dessert to round-off the intoxicating evening. Presented by All Things Nice, the event was held in collaboration with Media Partner – Eat Stay Love, Luxury Mobility Partner – BMW Navnit Motors, Airline Partner – Qatar Airways, Wine Partners – Flipsydee, Agnetta International, Aspri Spirits, Grover Zampa, Cognac Partner – Remy Martin, Hotel Partners – Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, JW Marriott Juhu Hotel, and Glassware Partner – Lucaris.

Eat Stay Love | A Brave New World by Nikhil Agarwal

This is a fascinating time for whisky enthusiasts. Gone are the days when the entire world of whisky would be broken up into what the folks in Scotland made or what the Americans drank. In fact, even in Scotland and America, people are choosing rebellious artisanal brands over well-known commercial labels. Malt lovers are wandering off the beaten path to explore the more exotic and the unknown. And they haven’t been disappointed. Stellar quality whisky is currently being produced across the world from Japanese brands that have taken the world by storm ever since the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 won the title of ‘World’s Best Whisky 2015’, granting it a cult status; to its neighbour, Taiwan, who has introduced Kavalan, an instant favourite amongst collectors since its launch in 2008. India too has had its own tryst with whisky. Some distilleries have gone and done what would have been considered impossible—making single malts that are truly world-class using local ingredients. And then there is Australia’s island state of Tasmania where several distilleries have started creating magic, taking advantage of the gifts given to them by nature. A word of advice to venture capitalists looking to invest, put your money here. As for whisky lovers, they can now explore this sacred water of life from different parts of the world just like wine connoisseurs have been doing for decades. I, for one, am eager to see what we discover on this journey. Here are some labels that have caught my attention in the last year or so from my travels around the world.

The Quiet Man 8 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey, Ireland Recently launched in India, this coveted bottle is for the collection. It offers sweet and crisp floral fragrances with notes of vanilla and oak. On the palate, it leaves a hint of honey, warm vanilla and spicy oak, and ends with a smooth finish.

Woodford Reserve, USA Woodford Reserve is a Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey crafted from 51 percent malt. It is aged in charred oak barrels, which lends it a rich flavour and amplifies its nutty characteristics found in the original Woodford Reserve.

Amrut Rye Single Malt, India
Amrut Rye Single Malt is the first Indian whisky to be elaborated exclusively with European rye. With this, Amrut has become one of the few distilleries to be producing with rye. Aged for five years in American oak casks, this is a fruity and delicate dram. On the nose, it is white peach, caramel, roses, bread dough and cassia buds, while on the palate, it leaves notes of cherry, papaya, sauerbraten, cocoa, lemon and caramel bite candies. The finish is refreshing with subtle flavours of lemon, melon, dry sand, quince, honey, wood shavings and lime.

Kavalan Soloist, Taiwan
Owned by King Car Group and named after the indigenous group that inhabited the region, Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Single Cask Strength is a delightfully complex, multidimensional single malt whisky with vanilla, fruit and coconut highlights. Matured in hand-selected fresh American ex-Bourbon casks, the whisky is available at cask strength. Unlike some distillers, Kavalan does not control the climate during maturation and adds no colouring for consistency, which leads to greater evaporation, giving a lower yield and making the final product even more valuable.

The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year Old – Scotland
A personal favourite, this 14-year-old single malt is matured in traditional oak casks for 14 years, and then ‘finished’ in barrels that previously held Caribbean rum. Rich, sweet and creamy toffee on the nose combines with fresh fruit notes. On the palate, the malt is rounded with vanilla and sweet oak essence with a fruity character that develops with time.

Yamazaki 18 Years Old, Japan
The award-winning Japanese single malt features a rich flavour of mature autumn fruit. The nose has raisin, apricot, café au lait, Mizunara (Japanese oak) with blackberry, strawberry jam and dark chocolate. The finish is long, spicy and smooth. We suggest you savour this exquisite elixir by itself, either neat, or with a splash of water or ice.

Lark Single Malt Whisky Classic Cask, Australia
Celebrating the distillery’s use of quarter sized casks, this complex tipple is distilled with Tasmanian (Franklin) barley and malted at the Cascade Brewery. The lightly-peated brew resembles a Scottish Speyside or Highland whisky in flavour. It is double distilled in locally-crafted copper-pot stills and aged in small, 100-litre oak casks. The spirit is matured for five to eight years in these small barrels, which have a much larger surface area-to volume of liquid. This allows a faster rate of evaporative losses and a considerably shorter maturation period than that required by the larger barrels commonly used in Scotland.

Rampur Vintage Select Casks, India
Distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Rampur is a non-chill filtered single malt, refined and matured in the foothills of the Himalayas. It features rich fruity top notes, which are toffeeflavoured in the background with hints of honey, dried fruits and balanced spices. This handcrafted potion offers an all round balanced taste with malty and creamy vanilla. Shining in all its glory in beautiful golden amber, Rampur will leave your taste buds with a rich and long finish.

Longmorn 16 Year Old, Scotland
The master distillers have used the perfect balance of first, second and third fill ex American oak and ex-sherry casks aged 16 years or more to infuse this premium malt with natural ingredients, including local spring water, barley from Moray and peat from nearby sources. It is fresh and green on the nose with notes of ripe pears and sweet vanilla, as well as hints of creamy chocolate. On the palate, the whisky is rich and compact thanks to the high level of tannins that develop with a vinous character and spice.

FnB Magazine – Food and Wine Pairing by Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal

Food and Wine Pairing by Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal, CEO at All Things Nice

The role of hotels and restaurants to get people in India to drink wine along with their meals whether when out or at home cannot be overstated. If our restaurants and hotels can create programs that make it easy for their guests to understand styles of wine and what would best be suited to eat along with it, the scenario of wine consumption in India would be a very different story.  Importers and producers unfortunately do not have the ability to engage customers directly in the numbers or frequency that hotels and restaurants are able to and that is why the experience or guidance the guest receives at an establishment is paramount. It not only translates in the experience they have when dining out but also what they will pick up and utilize when they go home.

I would recommend every hotel to have a Sommelier for each of its restaurants if not atleast one for the hotel itself in addition to having a highly trained team and certainly a Sommelier at every top end stand alone restaurant that takes its wine program seriously. Most consumers are baffled by the notion of pairing food and wine and would be happy to accept advice. In addition if the style of wine is shared in the form of a description below the name of each wine, a good wine by the glass program to enable experimentation and perhaps a few suggested pairings I am sure that the program would be a winner. Until we get tot that stage here are a couple of very simple suggestions when guiding guests through their wine and food choices that you should keep in mind to elevate their experience.

You should pair wines that are light bodied  – Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio with lighter style dishes and fuller, heavier dishes with heavier bodied wines – Oaked Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon come to mind. In a nutshell keep the body of the wine (the weight/intensity of the wine on your tongue) in line with the weight of the food.

Just as important is the dominant flavour.  The dominant flavour of what is being eaten is the one that we should be looking to pair with the dominant characteristics in the wine. This is especially true of Indian cooking where the typical paneer or chicken is often just a medium for the taste of the gravy. The same applies to pasta for example. The choice of wine would largely depend on the sauce and not the spaghetti itself.

How is the being cooked? Is it stir-fried, cooked in the tandoor, grilled, roasted etc.? Different styles of cooking will give the ingredients different textures and flavours and therefore accordingly you would need to find a wine to match.  Stir-fried vegetables will take on oil and will need a wine with good acidity to break through the oil. At the same time that same vegetable when grilled will take on some char and weight and would go well with a wine with some tannins and body to match.

Talking about stir-fry, oily or for that matter fatty foods need acid to cut though the fat, so pick a wine with good acidity when eating something fried or simply oily. Wines with good acidity pair well with salty foods as well.  To give you an example – Chèvre has a lot of fat and when you take a bite of cheese and then sip on a chilled glass of wine with good acidity, the acid cuts through the fat opening up the cheese in your mouth.

To finish, a very simple pairing  – to pair sweet food with a dessert or sweet wines. Keep in mind that the wine has to be sweeter always. A sweet dessert with a Late Harvest wine or another style of sweet wine will give your guests a dose of culinary pleasure that will blow your mind.

Last but also very important is that India has one of the greatest culinary traditions on the planet. Our cuisine changes every 100 kilometers and is very different from north to south and east to west. Not suggesting wine to go along with Indian food is a sin and any of the above pointers can be applied to Indian food as well.

For example a Vada Pao with an oaked Chardonnay or a prawn curry with a chilled dry Riesling. Kebabs with medium to full tannic red wines are standard and I promise if you get a guests to enjoy a chilled rose with an aromatic biryani you will earn their respect.

As you can see the examples are varied and the idea is to show you just that – variation. Guests come to your restaurants and hotels for pleasure and giving them a good glass of wine to go along with their food will do just that.

Authored Article - Nikhil Agarwal - Food and Beverage Magazine - August 2018 issue


Vogue – Spanish tapas is summer’s newest food trend

Vogue – Spanish tapas is summer’s newest food trend 
Celebrity chef Omar Allibhoy breaks it down. 
The metropolitan cities of India like Mumbai and Delhi may play host to a wide variety of international cuisines, but there are still some that are not easily available. For example, we often find ourselves craving beautiful Spanish flavours; especially tapas. But our tastebuds can look forward to some respite from this near constant pining. UK television’s darling chef, Omar Allibhoy, who is known to create a tapas revolution in England, will be coming to the country soon to host two one-night only dinners—one at Mumbai’s JW Marriott in Juhu and the other at Delhi’s Pluck at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity. As he gears up for his special nights, we got the celebrated chef to talk about his love for the Spanish appetisers, and share his ultimate guide to summer tapas with us. Scroll on for all the details.