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.
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. sevva.hk
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. ottoemezzobombana.com
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. stockton.com.hk
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. quinary.hk
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,
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. lily-bloom.com
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. lacabane.hk
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.
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.