Sarah Todd has hit the jackpot!
Atmospherics: Ever since its inception, The Wine Company has been known for its superior, user-friendly wine list with unbelievably value-for-money pricing, but except for its famous karari roti, as large as a sombrero, nothing on the menu was particularly noteworthy. Suddenly, in comes Sarah Todd who is the consultant chef for the group’s property in Goa, and lo and behold, the food has catapulted it to stratospheric levels. It is not strictly Indian regional food: many dishes exist in western cuisine and have been given playful Indian tweaks by Todd, incorporating spices. Other dishes are based on a central ingredient that has taken Todd’s fancy during her travels around the country and have been given a western spin. The result is that each preparation is unique to The Wine Company. So, if you do spy them on other menus, it will be the sincerest form of flattery at work.
Table talk: It takes a feisty lass from Melbourne to fill churros with goat cheese and pair them with a spicy chilli dip (Rs 475). It is the same with kalari cheese (Rs 495), made by the Bakkarwals of Kashmir. It has made an occasional appearance on menus in Delhi, but this version, grilled in an cast-iron pan, then flambéed with Old Monk rum and sprinkled over with chopped peppers and chives has an unexpected twist of brilliance that serves to bring out the chewy texture of the kalari. Madras curried lamb tortellini, burnt butter and coconut sauce (Rs 725) is an effortless bridge between Italy and ‘Madras’: the tortellini are perfectly formed, yet the pulled lamb has mild desi flavours, while the sauce does not let you forget the coastal Indian touch: it is the balance of each country’s ‘voice’ that makes it work. Even better, however, is Kolhapuri slow-cooked lamb on betel leaf with avocado raita and crisp boondi (Rs 625). The assertive spices of the lamb are tempered with the rather astringent betel leaf.
Plus and minus: There’s a young Australian couple who helps with the kitchen and service, brought in by Todd herself, who add brand value to the restaurant. On the minus side, the menu is rather too long and our quinoa and edamame biryani had been scented with kewra!
Must try: nasi goreng with cottage steak, butter chicken pastille; lamington
Food: 4.00; Service: 4.00; Décor: 3.50
22-23, DLF Cyber Hub, Sector 24
Open from 12 noon to 1 am
Credit cards; alcohol
Meal for two: Rs 2,500