Earlier this month, The Oberoi Bengaluru hosted a beautiful dinner celebrating the power of women, on the eve of International Women’s Day. The dinner presented in association with La Cave and Penfolds – was a 7-course meal curated by Chef Nimisha and paired with some truly fine vintages. We started the evening at The Polo Club, with bottles of Koonunga Hill, Autumn Riesling 2014 being poured amidst introductions and conversations. The wine was nice, crisp and fresh. This range was actually found by legendary winemaker Max Schubert, in his quest to discover good white wines back in early 1970s. Personally among white grape varietals, Riesling is my preference – aromatic and wonderfully balanced. And this wine was just a beautiful start.
For dinner, we proceeded to be seated at Le Jardin, and were handed in the specially made menus for the night. Each dish was paired with a wine from various Penfolds ranges, but that’s not all. Each dish drew inspiration from iconic women and their personas, and that was rendered as modern Indian cuisine. Sounds intriguing right? It undoubtedly was! The Bride or Singhara Carpaccio was an amuse bouche inspired from Indian brides. Water chestnut, tamarind chili glaze and pomelo – served beautifully in an earthen kalash with fairy lights.
Shatvar and badam shorba came next, titled The Healer. This was a delicious salad in a soup – asparagus, almonds, goat cheese kofta and micro greens were almost therapeutic. This soul nourishing soup was dedicated to Dr. Rakmabhai, one of the first practicing women doctors in India. This was paired with Koonunga Hill, Chardonnay 2015.
The next course was perhaps the one I was looking forward to the most, and it definitely superseded expectations. The Begum was chicken khichda bitterballens with pulled chicken, broken wheat with delicious raw mango chutney. Inspired by the culinary heritage of Lucknow and Rampur, this rendition of khichda was dedicated to Rekha’s performance in Umrao Jaan. Paired with this was the first red of the evening – Koonunga Hill, Seventy-Six Shiraz Cabernet 2016 – a medium bodied red with peppery notes and a nice lasting finish. Aged in American and French Oak, this was just perfect in nose and palate.
The Millet Pothi Choru was the next course – comfort food at it’s best, and thus dedicated to The Mother. With this, we were served BIN 128, Coonawarra Shiraz 2015. The wines produced in the Coonawarra region are world renowned. And the BIN 128 is part of The Penfolds Collection made of 100% Shiraz. Rich and complex, just the wine could be my meal! The Ice Maiden came next – sorbet of fresh guava with black salt and roasted cumin. Yum.
For the next course, I opted for was The Creator. A dish that brought Bengal and Kerala together in a mélange of flavors with kasundi salmon and prawns with moilee sauce. Beautiful and surprisingly subtle. This was paired with the BIN 407, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. The wine itself had so many different expressions, highlighting the multi-region, multi-vineyard blending. It just lingers.
And in conclusion, was The Queen of Hearts dedicated to the enchanting Maharani Gayatri Devi. Ghewar and kesar rabri with pistachio ice cream. A sweet ending to this wonderful dinner! We had Chef Nimisha and Sommelier Devati walking us through each course of the menu, while Madame La Cave Madhulika and Pinky ensuring we are all sated and happy. More power to these ladies!