The 17th of June 2016 saw dinner at the Woks Pop Up Restaurant at the Lalit Hotel, New Delhi with Mr Ravi Gurnani and Mr Charles Donnadieu taking diners through several courses of Chinese food paired with wines from York Winery.
The evening started on a light note. Unlike last time, this time the Sparkling wine (York Sparkling Brut) was served at the beginning of the evening as an aperitif as well as the end, thus allowing diners to truly enjoy and savor the taste of the sparkling wine.
This wine was a pale gold with a medium thick disk. It had definite bread like fermentation aromas on the nose. On the palate however, it was very much like a crisp green apple, with brioche. Not a very complex wine but still enjoyable.
At this point we were seated at our places on the table with personalised menus and a beautiful table setting for diners. I thought this was a good touch.
Then came the surprise course for the evening. The York Zinfandel rosé paired with what I can best describe as a spicy cheese and corn samosa. To my surprise, the spicy, hot cheese samosa paired extremely well with the tannins of the Zinfandel rosé . An interesting and good pairing.
The rosé itself was a medium deep pink – much darker than pale salmon pink but lighter than an Indian onion skin. It had aromas of cranberry and other small light berried fruits. On the palate, the cranberries continued and the tannins had good structure giving the wine a healthy balance.
The next course was the Dry Chilli Chicken Hakka Style with the York Sauvignon Blanc and the Dim Sum Sui Mai Prawns with the York Chenin Blanc. These were served with a dipping sauce made of chilies, garlic and assorted other spices.
The York Sauvignon Blanc was as I remembered it last time- very herbaceous. To my surprise, it paired surprisingly well with the prawn dim sum. I also took the liberty of trying it with the vegetable dim sum, and it went extremely well with that as well.
The Chenin Blanc was as I expected it with typical waxiness on the palate. It’s food pairing was a good combination but I felt that the prawn dim sum and the vegetable dim sum with the Sauvignon Blanc pairing was better. I liked the chilli garlic dipping sauce very much but it was a tad spicy for the wines.
The main course for the evening was the York Arros paired with the Crispy Lamb with Sesame Seeds and the stir fried Hakka Noodles. This was without a doubt a good pairing. This was deep fried spicy shredded lamb, and the red meat paired very well with bouquet and the tannins of the Arros. The only thing that I can think of that could have been done to improve the pairing was that the lamb could have been a tad less crispy as I feel like it was a bit overcooked.
The last course for the evening was the York Brut once again but with Banana fritters and vanilla ice cream in a solid chocolate cup.
This was a marked improvement on the last dinner where the Sparkling Brut was paired with the trio of Indian sweets. Here, the Banana fritters with sesame seeds were not overly sweet. In fact if anything they helped bring out the mineral nature of the wine. I also liked the contrast between the piping hot banana fritter and the cool wine and the even cooler ice cream.
To conclude, it was a good performance by York and by the Lalit. If I were to give one piece of constructive feedback to the Chefs and the team at the Lalit, it would be that the lamb course while it should be crispy, should not be overly so. Other than that, the wines and the food are well paired.