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Magique Dinner with Ceretto Wines (# 10/145)

Federicao Cerreto talking about his wines
Given the current economic scenario, which has not at all been alleviated by the Government’s policies with respect to the wine industry, one would think the time might not really be ideal to launch a new wine range in Delhi. However, we were honoured by the presence of a member of the Ceretto family –Federico who is responsible for export sales, to explain not only the philosophy behind the Ceretto business model but also the finer points of their wines.

The venue for this event was Magique – highly rated by the food critics both for its food as well as ambience –no surprise since it is located in the Garden of Five Senses. Our journey to Magique was made a little complicated thanks to the Metro construction in the area, necessitating issuance of very detailed and easily comprehensible directions by the Club President, Subhash Arora the previous night.

Driving thru Said-ul-Jab in its newly Metro blasted avatar, I was reminded of a cigarette advertisement in the seventies which said, “I’d walk a mile for a Camel” and salivated on the magic, a-mile-from- the- main- road Magique might offer. Once off the Mehrauli- Badarpur road and ten minutes later of a good workout for my car’s suspension saw us in heaven at Magique.

There is no doubt that Magique has one of the most romantic locations for a fine dining restaurant in the Capital region. A great outdoor lounge option backed by cooling mist fans and a DJ pushing out pulsating beats complimented an air-conditioned indoor fine dining facility replete with soft lighting and comfortable seating.

Magique was conceived and run by the celebrity chef Marut Sikka whom a lot of us have seen on his shows preparing a wide variety of lip smacking artery blockers, most of them with healthy dollops of desi ghee !

The first course of Prawn with tomato, jalapeno and wasabi sauce however went a long way in redressing my pre conceived notions about Marut Sikka’s versatility. But it was the pine nut encrusted watermelon and feta in sake and red wine reduction which paired the best with the Blange Langhe Arneis DOC 2007 – a fruit driven wine with a pale golden colour and a healthy nose, this 100% Arneis had crisp acidity and a satisfying mouth feel.

Federico claimed that one out of every five bottles of Arneis produced in Piedmont carries the very eye catching Blange label.

With black truffles being a rarity in this part of the world, a lot of us eagerly looked forward to the Crab Ravioli in Black Truffle sauce. We were disappointed as the platters of ravioli on our table were uniformly cold, a state which could not be improved upon even with en masse return to the kitchen for reheating. This led to speculating a host of theories, with the sit- down pre- plated 4 course meal with wines for 50 diners being the most plausible one. Be that as it may, it drew attention away from the Monsordo Langhe Rosso 2004 DOC – a ruby coloured wine with soft tannins and good structure.

Our next wine was a Zonchera Barolo 2003 DOCG. Made from the Nebbiolo grape, this entry level Barolo was a fruity wine no doubt, soft in tannins with a hint of oak but sadly, the fuller mouth feel of so typical of a Barolo was missing. I’d look at it as an easy drinking wine which I would love to try with some Pecorino cheese, perhaps.

Lamb chops and the Corn fed Chicken thighs made their appearance for the main course. Apart from being tepid, the Chicken thighs had imbibed the Red Wine Jus well and were soft, succulent and tasty.

Saving the best for last, Ceretto presented his Moscato d’Asti 2007 which had plenty of members asking for refills . We don’t usually have dessert wines at every Wine Club dinners and the Moscato made a case for reversing this practice. Though low in alcohol content at 5%, it had great balance between sweetness and acidity with the aromatic nose continuing on through a fruity mouth feel. If priced in a wallet friendly price band, the Delhi Excise Tax notwithstanding, the Moscato has the potential to open a very nascent sub category of wines –the dessert wine.

Federico with Marut Sikka and the staff of Magique
Despite a few behind the scenes glitches, the performance of the Magique service staff was outstanding and is worthy of mention. They not only handled diners with courtesy and patience but also made sure that those of us requiring a refill or even a repeat of any dish were quickly catered to! I am sure many of us had more than our budgeted quota of 0.8 bottles per head, thanks to their efficient glassware service.

Magique has a lot going for it and I am sure an evening with an order from the a-la carte menu would not disappoint. In fact I am thinking of doing so sometime next week to taste the magic of Magique and share with members when we meet next on the 10th of Sept at Olive which has reopened at One Style Mile today.

Arun Batra

The Chef Owner –Marut Sikka is opening a new restaurant at the DLF Promenade this fall and has promised us that the Indian food will be a totally different and of unique character with no traces of desi ghee! Editor

Arun Batra is a Delhi based management consultant, a food and wine enthusiast and a long time member of the Delhi Wine Club


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