Bangalore restaurant reviews On Invitation

Highland Nectar - ITC Royal Gardenia

Tuesday, June 01, 2010Me! In words

We eat out quite a bit, largely for the love of experimenting. The one thing we have come to realize is that there is hardly any cuisine that is not available at one or the other of Bangalore's restaurants. How authentic they are and how true they stay to their theme is a different question altogether. But for those restaurants that serve with a passion, they are rarely off target. So what becomes the next level of an evening out in the gastronomic world - its the complete experience - the ambiance, the decor, the attention to detail, the personalized service and most of all the unmatched quality that is served to you.

We had one such experience this past Saturday. It was at the ITC Royal Gardenia. The evening began at the Highland Nectar. The name is representative of the Scottish whiskey heritage and that is the house specialty - an array of whiskeys that can boggle the senses any connoisseur of the drink. Of course, Highland Nectar is not only about whiskeys. It has an amazing collection of champagnes, spirits, wines, sparklers, Prosecco and for the finishing touch - cigars. There are also a range of cocktails, mocktails, mojitos and flavored martinis to choose from. The USP of Highland Nectar is that each and every one of the drinks is made fresh. Once you place your order, the bartender begins from scratch.

A look at the bar counter

Chips with salsa, crunchy green peas

Our host for the evening for Gaurav Soneja, Beverage Manager, at the ITC Royal Gardenia. Since I am not a whiskey person, I asked him how he would introduce a lay person like me to the drink. And this is what he did. Two tables were joined together to give us the space. A tasting table top, with four glasses were placed in grooves. The table top was representative of the whiskey regions of the world. Gaurav was introducing us to the best - Scottish single malt whiskeys.

A view of the tasting table top

Scottish whiskey is from four primary regions, Gaurav explained - Highlands, Speyside, Islay and Lowlands. The whiskeys that come from each of these regions carry a distinct aroma. Whiskey is all about the water and each region's water plays an important role in characterizing the whiskey that comes from its distilleries. We began with the Highlands region and a Glenmorangie original. The water from the sandstone mountains of the Northern Highland has 10 times more mineral content than soft water, imparting a distinctive character to the Glenmorangie whiskey made with it. With the hard water also Glenmorangie manages to make an impression of very light and estery: citrus fruit, vanilla wet grass, floral, honey and oaky nose. On the palate its sweet and summery, lemon, orange, coconut vanilla , dried apple and the finish is Soft oak honey and species . Its light to taste and actually is the personification of the name Highland Nectar.

We next moved on to Speyside. Gaurav told us that he told us although Speyside is widely associated with granite, it is not the only rock to be found there. Many distillers outside the central Speyside area, based around the towns of Dufftown, Rothes draw their water from the springs that are dominated by either quartzite’s or old red sand stone. Example of the former include Cardu. It has a medium body and charred smoky taste nose is of dried grass and a heaviness of chocolate on the palate its clean, coconut, light mixed –peel notes. The finish is a mix of sweet and dry and sat perfectly with us.

Now in between this, we were brought Highland Nectar's signature dish - Wasabi Prawns. These prawns were laced with wasabi and came with a creamy dip. Delicious best describes their taste. The kick of the whiskeys and the punch of the wasabi worked perfectly to bring on that level of pleasant happiness.

Wasabi Prawns

Back to the whiskeys - we moved on to Islay and a whiskey called Ardberg. The water of Islay is light and soft and less in minerals thanks to the hard granite rocks. This water is considered to be the best for the whisky as very soft water helps in softening the malt. Islay is sunnier than the other islands and has a fertile land suitable for the cultivation of barley. The area is a mix of coal and soil and the barley is placed over a burning mix of this peat. The result is a whiskey with a strong aroma of coal, reminiscent of your days at grandma's home especially for those of us down south. The whiskey itself is very strong (at least for me).

Another look at the whiskeys

We rounded this tasting session of with a Glenkinchie from the Lowlands. This whiskey was refreshingly light, almost to the point of blandness. It had a very floral aroma and was a beautiful end to a very educative session on whiskeys. Another starter was served and this was the Chicken Pot Stickers. Chicken Dimsums seared for a second or so on the grill. Pleasant and very filling, something that I really need to keep doing when I indulge.

Chicken Pot Stickers

To finish our evening, I had a Cosmopolitan and Sudhakar a Bellini. The Bellini had a sparkling wine base and almost immediately I wished I had opted for it. The Cosmopolitan was faultless with its classic spike of vodka, sourness from freshly squeezed lemon and the slight bitterness of the triple sec Cointreau.



This first part of our evening was in an ambiance that only heightened this alcoholic indulgence. The high back chairs were extremely comfortable, even for someone with my short stature. The bar counter bathed in underwater styled blue lighting added to the comfort. Highland Nectar has a malt vault that can have whiskey enthusiasts pining for a look. This evening at Highland Nectar was a prelude to another wonderful part - dinner at the West View Grill.

The Ambiance

To give you an idea of what came next - Enoteca - a wine tasting table, an all-woman managed restaurant, foie gras amuse bouche, live grill counters, main course selection such as Spanish Chorizo, Sand Lobsters, Australian Lamb Chops, 7 varieties of dessert, Cheeses and Coffee. Look for this review on Friday...

Address: #1, Residency Road, Bangalore - 560025
Phone: 22119898
Cards Accepted: Yes

Parking: Valet

These are additional photos of the ambiance as well as of Karen and Deigo who perform here.

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