Foodie adventures

A birthday we will never forget

Tuesday, December 04, 2012Me! In words

There are birthday celebrations and then there are birthday celebrations... this year for Sudhakar's birthday I gave him what I call an experiential birthday. Spread over the weekend, I planned exclusive sessions for him on all things that he loves to do. 

So we started with an amazing bread baking class with Monika Manchanda of Sin-a-Mon. We followed it up by going for a movie (which we both love). In the evening we had a surprise party, where the party walked into the house and did not lie in wait for the birthday boy. The next morning, Sudhakar was gifted a djembe. He then got a 2 hours in a friends studio to play the drums and record a solo. Lunch was at Teppan, since we love sushi and then he was booked for an Ayurvedic head to toe massage. 

And finally was something I am very proud of putting together. Sudhakar is really into wines right now and so I got in touch with Michelle of ITC Gardenia and asked her to help with creating a dinner that would pair wines with each course. She put me the able hands of Shatakshi Sood, Manager of West View and Ayesha Nallaseth, Chef, Westview. I was given 3 and 4 course dinner options each paired with an Indian or International wine to choose from. 

I settled for a three course menu each paired with an international wine. What you see below is our meal that stretched from 7.30 PM to 11.00 PM and was worth every minute of it. 

While we were waiting for the tapas to come we were started off on some bread, straight from the oven on to the plate. It was really fresh and hard to stop at one. No matter how many times it was replenished, it got cleaned out each time 

Oven fresh bread

Our first wine to go with the tapas was a Vina Esmeralda. From what I managed to gather from my good friend Google is that this is a Spanish wine with a fruity base (I think I can vouch for that). I can actually stop at saying that it did pair brilliantly with both the vegetarian and the non-vegetarian tapas that followed. 

Course I - Vina Esmeralda with cold vegetarian and non-vegetarian tapas

The tapas were so many and so brilliant - the skewers had beetroot on a citrus base of some sort with a small sprig of cilantro - a real fresh feeling in the mouth. A mix of salads and stuffed bokchoy. There was also a lovely mousse, though I couldn't dissect it. A couscous preparation and some chilled mushrooms in a light dressing. 

Vegetarian tapas (above and below)

Close on the heels of the vegetarian tapas came the non-vegetarian ones - a squid salad shot in the glass, some beef carpaccio, jumbo prawns in a spicy marinade, cured meats and chorizo... there was no stopping at this spread. And the wine really helped. There was also a seafood platter that came out with some fresh oysters, which we ate just as we have seen on TV (yes this is the first time for us). There were mussels and a interesting prawn salad on a spoon.

We would have loved to go on and on with the starters but it was time to move on to main course and second wine and we needed the space for it.

Non-vegetarian tapas

Seafood platter

I had selected fish as the main course for both of us - fillet of Bassa with pistacho and grana padano pesto and a Scottish Salmon with horseradish and fennel cream. While I assumed that we each would get our own main course, we were each served both preparations... now how is that for a surprise! Sudhakar opted for baked potatoes on the side and I mashed potatoes. The main course was served with a Marques De Riscal Rueda which my good friend Google says is a Spanish wine and which really brought out the flavor in the fish. I honestly preferred the salmon over the bassa but both fish were grilled well and tasted great.

Fillet of Bassa with pistacho and grana padano pesto
and a Scottish Salmon with horseradish and fennel cream

My main course with the Marques De Riscal Rueda

And then came our last course - dessert - West View has a rotating dessert menu and we had six to choose from. I went in for the peach or was it apricot cheesecake with a berry coulis and Sudhakar opted for the classic creme brulee. This was accompanied with a Red Diamond Merlot. Unfortunately, the food and the wine put me in a slightly "happy" state and I missed taking a photo of the dessert with the wine. But it was a red wine that went (at the risk of sounding like a broken record) brilliant.

The cheesecake with the coulis had a nice tang to it and even Anoushka who normally runs a mile when she sees desserts like this had a bite. The creme brulee had the perfect crust the cracked sweetly when tapped with the spoon. 

Peach/Apricot cheesecake 

Creme Brulee

This was the glowing birthday boy when it finally sunk in what the last event of the day for his birthday was going to be. At the end of the meal, just before dessert, Rita, who handled our table that day rolled in a coffee based cake (coincidently, the birthday boy's favorite flavor) and Anoushka got her wish of singing happy birthday and cutting cake. 

Believe me when I say that I honestly did not expect this to go as well as it did. I was doing something like this for the first time and the team at West View totally made it worth our time and of course money. This meal came in the Rs 9000 bracket mainly because of the wines. But would I do something like this again for another special occasion - I most definitely will and I have my eyes set on EDO.

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