A Sublime Pouring & Pairing!
Sheraton Hyderabad, located in the swish Financial District of Gachibowli, celebrated its first anniversary very recently, so its pretty much still the new kid on the block, as far as the growing community of five star hotels in the city is concerned.
While Sheraton’s unique F&B offering is their pan-Asian restaurant InAzia along with the neighbouring lounge bar Chime (a marvellous listing of martinis there), their lobby cafe Link, which makes for a spacious and airy venue for both business and casual meetings, as it doubles up both as a cafe and a lounge bar in the evenings, is also getting talked about of late.
Link recently hosted an unique pairing of wines & crafted beer with signature short eats which has been launched on the menu in the evenings. The premium wines (white and red) have been selected from Sheraton Selects, a menu of premium wines rated 85 points or higher by noted lifestyle magazine Wine Spectator.
On the agenda was a blindfold (not literally, thankfully!) tasting of five wine labels, two white, two red and a sparkling wine (Chandon Brut, no less!). At the helm was Preetam Rai, the brand champion of Sheraton Paired programme, who also happens to be the assistant F&B manager of Sheraton Hyderabad.
The first wine to be sampled was revealed later as a Jacobs Creek Chardonnay (white, Australian) and was light and fresh. Label 2 was La Corte Refosco, an Italian red wine, Label 3 was a sparkling Chandon Brut, label 4 was Grover’s Zampa Cabernet Shiraz and label 5 was Grover’s Zampa Sauvignon Blanc.
No prizes for guessing that I liked Label 3 or the sparkling one the most, but the Grover’s white or Label 5 was also pretty fresh and subtle on the palate, quite a winner!
Paired with the wines were the most delectable short eats, designed by executive chef Kapil Dubey, which were unique because of their offbeat ingredient composition. For instance, how about Smoked Ocean Salmon, smoked salmon with yoghurt and truffled honey in a melt-in-the-mouth mini choux pastry? Divine, was the unanimous declaration.
On the menu this delightful bar offering is paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon, from Colombia but you may choose across wine pairings, ie you may choose to pick a Chardonnay Pinot Noir instead with your salmon.
Or Chicken Tikka Spring Rolls? Your desi chicken tikkas stuffed into Cheeni spring rolls and enjoyed with a pudina chutney or “mint dip” as mentioned on menu.
I also hugely liked the Asian Spiced Meat Balls, this despite that I am not huge on red meat these days. It was basically what we know as mutton keema kababs, tossed in Asian herbs like lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, as well as a light soy sauce which just took it to a different level.
For vegetarians, the standouts were Litchi Ke Kebab, Litchis filled with paneer or cottage cheese and spiked with pine nuts, had a slightly sweet taste and went well with the recommended Sauvignon Blanc. Also popular across the tasting table was Stuffed Jalapenos, Mirchi Bhajji if you please in a slightly Angrez avatar, ie not coated with heavy-duty besan or gramflour but panko crumb fried and with a cheddar cheese filling, seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika, in place of the spicy done to death masala filling.
While I was there as part of a blogger’s table on invite, I couldnt help reading the right side of the menu, for future reference and was happy to note that the pricing was extremely competitive, ranging from Rs 220 (for the jalapenos) to Rs 320 for the ocean smoked salmon, of course excluding taxes. Wines are priced from between Rs 900 for a Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz (Grover’s) to Rs 2500 for a Chardonnay Pinot Noir. (The serving size of a glass of wine being 150 ml).
All in all, an evening well-spent in pouring and pairing!