Asia Seven- Clarion Collection Dinner (#9/180)
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Posted: Friday, 05 August 2011 15:41
Asia Seven- Clarion Collection Dinner (#9/180)

With a wine dinner at The Second Sin Restaurant accompanied by fine Bordeaux reds under our belt merely three days ago, it was a tough call to organise another one in such a short time. But a persistent request from A S Wadhwa, the CEO of Nature’s Bounty whose principal F W Langguth was visiting India  only for a couple of days, it was a courtesy we had to afford.

Several members had been asking for a wine dinner with Champagne only. While it would be a great idea – I am a great proponent of bubblies with proper balance especially for spicy Indian foods or flavourful Pan Asia dishes, it is quite an onerous task with the excise duty along touching the duty free prices.  After thinking carefully, the light bulb in my brain started flashing. Why not try Blue Nun Sparkling Gold with Chinese and Pan Asian Cuisine? Wadhwa was quite pleased as Asia Seven in Clarion Collection Hotel is owned partly by his boss Amit Burman though the two companies are totally independent in their working.

An incognito tasting at the restaurant was quite satisfying. The staff and management were also quite excited about a wine dinner for the first time when I approached them with a proposal- just the right attitude we expect from our restaurant partners and we had no reservations in selecting the  venue.

There was another motivational factor too. Though Blue Nun is a big supermarket (export –only) brand like Jacobs Creek, Carlo Rossi, Frontera and Two Oceans, their sparkling wine (known as Sekt in Germany) is a quaffable bubbly. The slight sweetness would go well with the spicy Pan Asian food. One has always been amused by the Punjab revelers drinking and demolishing  this wine because of their belief that the gold chips floating in it make them virile and it has aphrodisiac effect.  One evening might not make tigers out of our young-at-heart members but would certainly make a good story and hence we decided for the evening to be a multiple dish Menu including starters, soup, main course and dessert to be accompanied by the sparkling wine only. We stuck to our practice of sit-down dinner and did not agree with the suggestion of a buffet.

Tucked away in a corner of the Clarion Collection, the Asia Seven restaurant has a decent sized bar inside and a small 30 seats restaurant which was exclusively reserved for us. The other clients had the option of eating upstairs in a rather large room. There is also a sitting area outside which could be interesting for a party or another dinner for 40-50 people when the weather is conducive to sit outside and enjoy the outdoors.

The evening started with an introduction of the company and Patrick Langguth who is the Asia Sales Manager and  the grandson of Wolfgang Langguth- the Scion of founder Franz Wilhelm Langguth. Patrick was short and sweet in his presentation. When a member quizzed on the quantity of gold in the Gold Edition of the bubbly, Helmut Seibert, the export manager quietly slipped me the information and we made it into an instant guessing game. The estimates for the 22-carat gold chips in the bottle varied significantly. But the answer of $1000 gold in 12,000 bottles (one container), came from a guest- Radka Neumannova, Director of Czech Tourism in India and Australasia. Her prize? One bottle of the bubbly.

Prawn Har Gow, a dim sum like preparation served individually in a soup spoon, Chicken Shumai and Fish Satay were all delicious with just the right texture and spices. Sushi platter passed the muster too. Vegetarians had a delightful time going through unending wild mushroom glass noodle spring rolls, Dim Sum and dumplings with a vegetarian section for the Sushi lovers too. The bubbly stayed in the shadow of each dish-the slight sweetness balancing the slightly chili-hot dishes. By the time we sat down for dinner most members were in a satiated happy mood.

Tom Yum Soup was not as hot as one would like but the flavours and aromas beckoned you for more. The appetite kept on building up and the main course dishes were welcome into the plates, thanks to  chef having done a great job in making the Basa fish just the right subtle flavour with ginger. Although not a fan of red meats, I devoured the Wok fried lamb and am salivating while thinking about it. The Kari Ayam Chicken did not have a fair playing ground to show off in front of the fish and lamb dishes although on its own it was an excellent combination with the Ginger Mushroom Fried Rice which was certainly the most delicious cereal dish.

Again the Gold Sekt handled all these dishes as well as those from the vegetarian section quite nicely, thank you. Even the small portion of red chilies cut and added as the condiment to the food was no problem for the off-dry sparkler.

The evening turned out to be an informal dinner in an informal atmosphere and the waiting staff was quite relaxed but polite and always at your beck and call. If it were an exam for food and service, the restaurant and the staff passed it with flying colours. If it were a test for wine service, one can only say that it was an easy test and they cleared it with aplomb. We had a very small quantity of white and red wine for those who would insist on them as purists.

The real test would be another time when we have our usual 5 wines. Since the usual DWC dinners have 5 or more wines to be served to sit-down invitees, it would be interesting to see how the restaurant copes up with the usual challenge.

Several members were happier that the dinner got finished earlier today. Service at the table like we had this evening was easier and faster than a pre-plated service. But it cannot replace a dinner where fine wines are served and have to be enjoyed very leisurely with each course.

Subhash Arora



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