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