Category Archives: Our Blog

Doolally

I along with thousands of others seem to be immediately hooked. I’d probably go as far as saying we are addicted to Doolally. Who can blame u?  It’s located in a nice quite street in Bandra, it’s very casual, always has a buzz, the beer is truly unbelievable, the grub is good and the price offers incredible value for money. Rs 250 for 330ml glass of world class beer just feels so right.

Since it opened I find myself dreaming about their beers and land up visiting on average of at least thrice a week. Sometimes it’s just for 2 quick pints. Sometimes it’s just because I’ve got off the sea link on my way home in the evening . I’ve even got one of the member mugs with my name on it.

The beer is undoubtedly the star of the show, with a variety of offerings and each of them with their own unique flavors, they keep you coming back for more. My favourite would have to be the Stout, though their Hefeweizen, Belgium wit beer, Belgium Farmhouse ale and their Weizenbock are excellent. There are more and I like them all frankly. Haven’t tried their cider and don’t intend to but it does seem popular as well. To get the uninitiated up to speed they are happy to pour tasting portions so that people can sample and then place an order.

They and the other brewpubs like The White Owl along with Gateway Brewing have upped the quality levels of beer available in Mumbai so dramatically that I think Kingifsher and the like will have to change their game if they want to retain quality oriented consumers.

The food though not the centre of attraction is actually very good and also different which makes it interesting. Scotch eggs, Kerala prawns, ghee chicken roast, the batter fried bombay duck all really good and all perfect to go with their beers.

No one can deny that there is a drink revolution going on in India, Doolally gives us an opportunity to drink world class delicious beer and not the crap that we’ve been subjected to all this while at prices that are affordable. Well at least since before Gateway came along.

At Doolally suddenly conversations about different kinds of beer and understanding their origins can be heard from every table and that’s something right ? Even though we’ve been drinking beer all this while we never really bothered to know the differences until now.

But Doolally has created another revolution, one that I have been watching closely. The revolution I’m talking about is the social revolution when it comes to drinking that Doolally seems to have set a tone for. I find that people are comfortable getting their kids ( very young kids as well) and even their pets to Doolally. Doolally has somehow created a vibe that is very welcoming, almost like a German beer garden. It’s this sort of vibe, openness to drinking a glass of beer that India needs. Going out for food and a couple of pints of beer if handled responsibly could also be a family affair.

Nowhere else do I see this phenomenon. It’s changing things, you see some people wondering ( My wife and I go with our twins every sunday) what we’re doing but then I also see them changing their stance when they see us having a good time. The kids freak out on the fries and we sip on a beer or two and spend our time together. Really nothing wrong with that.

Doolally 1

By Nikhil Agarwal, Sommelier and Director at All Things Nice

Suntory’s Yamazaki Single Malt Whiskey – Distiller’s Reserve

The Japanese have received world wide acclaim for their high quality, ever expanding range of single malt whiskies.  These are produced just like any single malt whisky, distilled from yeast, water and malted barley at a single distillery before a maturation of at least three years in oak casks. There are two main brands that own Japanese distilleries: Nikka and Suntory, founded by Masataka Taketsuru and Shinjiro Torii respectively.

Suntory released the Yamazaki Single Malt Whiskey – Distiller’s Reserve in Spring 2014. It is one of the two Distiller’s Reserve single malt whiskies from Japan’s oldest and most renowned distillery.  This single malt is jam-packed with superb red berry notes, gained from the whisky being matured in Bordeaux wine casks and Sherry casks. It also features malt matured in Mizunara casks, adding subtle fragrant oak notes. The palate is mesmerising, the dried berries remain lively but well-balanced enough to make room for the light oak, peach and a small amounts of spice.

Suntory

Absolut Elyx – A Handcrafted Luxury

Absolut’s best representation of luxury vodka is a premium, handcrafted vodka made from wheat and naturally filtered water. Unlike the distillation of Absolut Vodka, which is entirely controlled by computers, Absolut Elyx is a much more labor intensive and “handcrafted” process.

The vodka is manually distilled in a copper rectification constructed in 1921. Today, it is operated by a select few who have inherited their knowledge and expertise from generations of vodka makers.  The copper naturally removes traces of compounds in the spirit, purifying the vodka and adding to its unique silky texture.

Elyx is fresh, smooth and silky with aromas of sweet grain followed by spice, vanilla and sweet fruit on the creamy palate.  It is beautiful neat, but can be enjoyed on ice or in a vodka martini.

Elyx bottle

Elyx

Cardhu Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

Cardhu

In Scotland’s heartland of whisky making – Speyside – you will find a distillery with a most intriguing history. The distillery was set up by John Cumming, who had previously been a whisky smuggler.  In early 1800’s his wife Helen Cumming distilled the first gallon of Cardhu, the only malt whisky to be pioneered by a woman. For many years Helen Cumming produced only the smallest quantity of malt whisky in Cardhu’s little still, as quality was her main focus. She continued to contribute to Cardhu’s success well into her 90’s.

A much-loved single malt, Cardhu is easy-going with clean, crisp oak and sweet malt flavours of honey and home-made caramel squares. This is one for the sweet-toothed.

Could We Be Running Out of Prosecco?

Prosecco+Hills

Prosecco experts claim that shortage is upon us and this lovely summer bubbly may not flow quite as freely this year. High demand and unexpected weather conditions have resulted in limited production of Italy’s most popular sparkling wine, a brand in itself.

Last year’s harvest was very poor, and down by up to 50% in some parts, so there is a very real possibility of a global shortage,” Robert Cremonese, export manager of Bisol, said in an interview with the trade publication The Drinks Business.

“We’ll find out how big the problem is in August when the brokers release their stock. At the moment we don’t know how much Prosecco they’re holding on to.” Cremonese added.

Another reason for this shortage is that global demand for Prosecco has risen sharply over the last several years while supply is still limited. In 2014, Prosecco DOC sales increased by 27%, according to the Italian news organization Italy24. Wine. Wine consumers over the world consider Prosecco as a less expensive, easier to drink alternative to Champagne. It has whizzed past its French rival as the best – selling sparkling in 2014.

 

 

The Ruffino Dinner at the Sahib Room, Palladium Hotel

I’ve had the pleasure of dining in the Sahib Room at the Palladium Hotel twice, the first time was when it launched and then again at the Ruffino dinner hosted by Sula last week.

Both times have been incredible and I think it is Chef Angad’s brilliance and Palladium’s hospitality that make it so special. Chef Angad specializes in North West Frontier cuisine with an expertise in Awadhi, Hyderabadi, and Kashmiri cuisines. He actually didn’t say much when I thanked him, but his colleagues who I spoke with the next day said they weren’t surprised, as he’d rather have his food do the talking. Well Amen to that!

Way back in my days with Sula, I had the opportunity of placing the first order for Ruffino to India, so I wasn’t going to miss this dinner for anything.  In my excitement, my guest and I were the first people to arrive. The dinner was hosted to welcome Joe Milner – Regional Director Asia and Jake Jacob, VP Asia of Constellation Brands. Ruffino is part of the Constellation Group – the world’s largest wine company.

The evening started off with Ruffino’s Orvietto Classico served as an aperitif. This easy drinking wine with lovely fresh, fruity and floral notes was served at the Sahib Rooms bar area. After a few glasses we were ushered into the restaurant’s plush dining space.

What followed was Chef Angad’s magic, a slew of dishes that included avocado and bamboo shoot tikkis, smoked spring lamb, grilled tiger prawns all of which paired really well with Ruffino’s Chianti – a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I had not tasted this wine in about 13 years and was pleasantly surprised by how well the wine worked with the food.

For the main course we had an indulgent black dal that I devoured along with the Kashmiri hand pulled lamb and biryani. This was served with a more serious wine, Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale, a Chianti Classico Riserva. By then I was completely satiated but pure greed made me ask for another glass. I really do like this wine and the label is just stunning. Dessert was delicious with the now fabled Kolkatta paan ice cream. You’ve got to try it. If you had to switch off the lights and have that served to you without disclosure you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that it wasn’t actually paan.

The wines and the company at my table were great and the Sahib Room managed to put me into a Sahib like food coma once again. With a number of great restaurants attempting to modernize Indian food springing up across the country, I am actually very glad that the Sahib Room has chosen to stick to tradition and I think that we can all raise a glass or two of Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale to that.

By Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal, Director at All Things Nice

Palladium Hotel's Chef Angad
Palladium Hotel’s Chef Angad
Ruffino's Riserva Ducale pairs perfectly
Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale pairs perfectly
Jake Jacob,Vice President Constellation Brands Asia
Jake Jacob,Vice President Constellation Brands Asia

Image 4 Blog

Joe Milner, Regional Sales Director, Constellation Brands Asia
Joe Milner, Regional Sales Director, Constellation Brands Asia

Gateway Brewing Co.

 

Gateway 1FoundersFermantation Tanks filled with Beer

A few years ago, the only beer we were familiar with was the one we were subjected to by the ‘King of Good Times’. Home-brewing was uncommon; there were no regulations, no ingredient supplies and worst of all absolute lack of awareness of craft beer

Mumbai got one its first micro-brewery when duo Rahul Mehra and Krishna Naik quit their jobs to get into the business of beer. They were joined by Navin Mittal armed with a Business Degree from Clark University and over 20 years of experience in product development and marketing. What started off as secret beer making sessions in their kitchen turned to beer workshops for a few enthusiasts. In 2011, they established a business plan to supply beers on tap to various restaurants and bars in Mumbai.

Gateway Brewing Co. the brainchild and hard work of this trio, has paved the way for other craft breweries to establish themselves. In a way, they have authored the unwritten book on setting up and marketing a micro-brewery in Maharashtra.

If you want to rediscover beer as you know it, make sure your weekend plan includes a visit to any one of the thirty plus restaurants or pubs Gateway Brewing Co. is available at.  The really quirky names of the beers just add to the mystery of discovering craft-beer. So are you a Doppelganger or Like That Only?

Keeping It Cool With Chandon Summer

All Things Nice and Chandon India hosted a super cool summer party for our guests and members at Please Don’t Tell last Saturday. We opened a few bottles of the new Chandon Summer collection and must say that we absolutely love the chic new packaging.

A selection of three refreshing Chandon based cocktails were served with delicious canapes. All in all, it was a fun social evening with people who really know how to enjoy themselves.

Chandon Keep It Cool Packaging Image 1 Image 2

Our Iconic Cloudy Bay Wine Dinner

Cloudy Bay dinner at Four Seasons (13)

Cloudy Bay dinner at Four Seasons (43)

Cloudy Bay dinner at Four Seasons (34)All Things Nice and Chandon India hosted an iconic dinner with Cloudy Bay, New Zealand’s most famous winery, at the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai. Over 35 guests enjoyed an evening of fabulous wine paired with an outstanding menu by Chef Chaitanya Sharma at The Kitchen, a quaint little space that allowed everyone to be in close quarters to the live action in the kitchen.

The wines served were stars from the Cloudy Bay portfolio – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and finally Te Koko, a unique style of Sauvignon Blanc. Some of Chef Sharma’s creations included the Sous Vide Tiger Prawns, Truffled Potato Gnocchi and the Roast Lamb Loin in Butternut Squash Puree. In our opinion Cloudy Bay offers super high quality wines that arefull of freshness and finesse and you cannot but help fall in love with them. We weren’t surprised that this evening turned out to be such a great success!

Here is a look at the outstanding menu we enjoyed

Pass Around Canapés

Asparagus Fricassee In Mini Bouchees (V)
or
Goat Cheese And Walnut With California Grape (V)
or
Home Cured Salmon In Rye Baguette
or
Smoked Chicken And Green Apple On Whole Wheat Crisp

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand

First Course

Roasted Baby Beets With Arugula, Shaved Fennel, Pommery Honey Dressing (V)
or
Sous Vide Tiger Prawns With Cauliflower Puree And Pickled Root Vegetables
or

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand

Second Course

Truffled Potato Gnocchi, Toasted Pinenuts, BeurreNoisette (V)
or
Roast Lamb Loin, Butternut Squash Puree, Glazed Confit Carrots, Thyme Jus
or
Cloroudy Bay Pinot Noir 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand

Third Course

Platter of Brie, gruyere and chevre with wheat crisps

Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2011, Marlborough, New Zealand

Petit Fours

SUBMIT YOUR SENSES

Submit (56) Submit (63)

All Things Nice unveiled its latest culinary concept SUBMIT, a unique wine dinner experience where we graciously asked our guests to submit their trust and their senses as we took them on a culinary journey like none other. Palladium, Mumbai shut down the entire mall for us, playing host to an intimate dinner in a completely darkened space except for the lights emitting from candles.

The vast empty space created a sense of luxury, with the 5 course dinner paired with fantastic wines from around the world. The first course was accompanied with a piece of art by Govind Sah highlighted via projected light, illuminating one specific space. The second course saw an interesting abstract installation by designer Lekha Washington, while the third course was served while a violinist played Vittorio Monti from a corner of the room. Writer and columnist Anil Dharker eloquently and very gracefully read poetry just before the main course. This unbelievable journey took this wine dinner experience to a whole new unchartered territory.

We had a spectacular selection of food and wine for the evening; white chocolate caviar with Rene Mure Signature Riesling, smoked salmon with Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, scallops with Blackstone Pinot Noir, lamb chops with Prunotto Barolo and finally Belgian dark chocolate with Montalto Passito di Moscato.