Gurugram: "Good food is good food, no matter where you eat it -- as long as the flavours are right." These golden words were spoken by Australian celebrity chef Sarah Todd, and they perfectly describe the delicious spread available at The Wine Company.
Todd was here on a 'Meet and Greet' session at The Wine Company, which has pulled in the young and talented chef to curate its brand new menu on its fourth anniversary.
Located in DLF Cyberhub, The Wine Company is a wine bar and restaurant which is popularising the concept of wine-dining in the Delhi-NCR region. This posh eatery features an in-house 'wine shop' where patrons can choose their preferred bottle of wine or any other spirit of their liking.
"Wine doesn`t need to be intimidating like people think it is. Wine can be fun. We want people not to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by what we are serving here; that is why I have added more Indian flavours to the menu so that I can show people that it is fine to drink wine and eat Indian food at the same time," Todd told IANS here.
And true to her word, we did get a taste of what this Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef was talking about. We were first served the 'Frose', a frozen Rose wine slushie. It is a complimentary drink started exclusively by The Wine Company.
The items that we had were some of Todd`s signature dishes that included goat cheese churros, shitake and wombok momo, flambe Kashmiri kalari (a type of cheese very similar to the mozzarella), soft shell crab pakora with pomelo salad, citrus chilli prawns, Madras curried lamb tortellini, Kolhapuri slow-cooked lamb served on paan leaves, red wine duck kulcha, Goan pork sausage bhut jolokia risotto and, for dessert, a piece of lamington (Australia`s favourite cake) with a scoop of coconut ice cream.
All the dishes were paired with a different wine to further enhance the flavours.
Everything that we ate was light, a perfect blend of Western and Indian influences. Some of the dishes that really stood out were the Madras curried lamb tortellini, Kolhapuri slow cooked lamb, red wine duck kulcha and the Goan pork Sausage bhut jolokia risotto.
The burst of flavours with every bite seemed like a party in the mouth. Who would have thought that a tortellini could have a filling of South Indian flavoured lamb or eating paan like a taco with meat or serving duck meat on a kulcha or even the world`s spiciest chilli added to a risotto? This is taking fusion food to a rarified level.
"Often, in India, people think that dishes are being Indianised. But every dish that I have prepared here, I would also put on a menu in Australia. Because it is important to realise that no matter where you serve it, food needs to be tasty," Todd said.
On infusing Indian influences into Western dishes like the tortellini, Todd said that adding the right flavour was the key.
"As a chef, I`d like to add an extra bit of something to make the food even more palatable, even more alive -- so much so that even my seven-year-old son, who has an immature palate, loves it."
For ideas, this chef visits people`s homes.
"I don`t go to restaurants for inspiration, I go to homes. Whenever I travel to India I only go to homes. I want to get the authentic flavours from home-cooked food and bring those influences in my menu," the young chef said while talking about creating a dish like the Goan pork Sausage bhut jolokia risotto.
Todd also owns a casual fine dining restaurant and beach club called the Antares Restaurant & Beach Club in Small Vagator Beach, Goa. Two years ago, she opened The Wine Rack in Mumbai which houses over 300 different kinds of wine.
Calling the Indian palate as one of the most advanced, Todd said people in this country were evolving in terms of food preferences.
"I`ve been in India for four years now and I`d have to say that there`s been a major change. We received flak for some of the items in our Goa menu when we had just started, but now people love them... People are open to trying new things and are open to it as long as the flavour is there and the food is tasty," she added.