An intimate gathering gets the taste of the culinary magic that the Executive Chef and his team at Hyatt cooked, paired with some elegant Spanish wines from Torres.
It was a night that the 50 odd guests will not forget in a hurry. Wine pairing dinners can be very formal and the setup often breaks the intimacy that good food and wine are to be enjoyed in. Led by the General Manager at Hyatt, Sinead O’Reilly-Henell, the team worked upon a setting and hospitality that was both intimate and warm. The Rox Bar was the perfect setting for the evening in which fine Spanish wines were to be enjoyed with a delightful dinner menu – as per the electronic invite that was sent by the ever-smiling and gracious public relations manager, Mohini Shrestha.
I caught up with Ms. O’Reilly-Henell before the guests poured in. As I sat with her on an immaculately prepared table, she explained that the purpose of the evening was to have a relaxed, themed evening, a break-away from the norm of the hotel, and to educate people on some very good quality wines from Torres. She mentioned that the evening was made possible in conjunction with Amit Agrawal from Alliance Distributors (Greenline), distributors of Torres Wines in Nepal. Amit, who joined us a the table, was very optimistic about the first wine-pairing dinner for Torres wines. He added that although Spanish wines were available locally for quite some time now, somehow they have been associated with cheaper varieties. With the introduction of Torres the aim was to break the perception and give connoisseurs a taste of some classy Spanish varieties.
Sommelier Josep Plana, very suavely dressed, took on from where Amit left. He shared that his hope was that the invitees had a good time and appreciate the finer notes of Spanish wines. Based in Tokyo this was his maiden visit to Nepal and he hoped that the market will warm up to the brand after this introduction. Plana talked passionately about the five decades of history of the Torres brand and how in 2016, for the 6th consecutive year, the prestigious British magazine Drinks International ranked Torres as the Most Admired European Wine Brand.
My next catch was Executive Chef Gopi N. who had seasoned his hands for more than two years with the team at Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, after his stint at Hyatt Regency Chennai. Gopi flipped open the menu and started describing in earnest how he had planned the entire menu. This was then sent to Josep, who had the task of pairing the wines available in Nepal, to the Chef’s creations.
All of this was happening before the guests started to pour in. As the entrees made their rounds amongst the soft laughter and greetings, one could already sense the build-up to the dinner. Around 7:30 we were ushered in from the balcony to the dining tables and the formal inauguration to the evening was made by the General Manager herself with an introduction to the Sommelier.
The food, elegantly plated and garnished, made their way to the tables along with some wonderful wine. First were the pan-fried scallops to which the dark cherry red Torres Atrium, Merlot 2013, was the perfect accompaniment. With the beetroot and thyme tagliatelle came my pick of the evening – the fantastic Torrres Coronas, Tempranillo 2013. The brilliant ruby colour and the delicate fruity and floral notes played music on the palate. Chef Gopi’s masterpiece, the herb-crusted rack of lamb was some of the finest lamb meat I have tasted, that came with crushed potatoes cleverly mixed with delicious crab meat. The Torres Gran Coronas, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserva 2012, with its intense fruity and spicy nuances was the perfect backdrop. The finale to this fantastic menu was the dark chocolate marquise, with crunch and granola mix, almond rocks and micro herbs. That was offered with an extremely aromatic Floralis Muscatel, Oro, Torres.
Testament to an extremely successful evening, the guests lingered on till the late hours of the night. I left having been conquered heart, body, and soul by the wonderful wines that are Torres.
Michael Kobold of Kobold watches fame, rated the food as ‘out of this world’. Kobold who substitutes chocolates for alcohol (he hasn’t drunk in 37 years) makes his own chocolates.
Dr. Amit Khanal along with wife Supriti was present to celebrate their 9th wedding anniversary and rated the overall food and menu combination as excellent. They were all praises for the ambience at Hyatt and the warmth of hospitality.