Just as for the Spring Season (see April 28th post), my favourite Indian Restaurant has been offering a Summer Seasonal Menu – 5 courses with matched wines. Last week I and a companion had the pleasure of trying it. You can see the summer menu by clicking…

This post will comment on the food of course – but also on the wine matching – which (for better or worse) I bear some responsibility.

The Amuse Bouche is Kanji Bada  paired with  Codorniu Pinot Noir Brut Rosé Cava
This is a  lentil  dumpling with mint cumin water, with accents of tamarind, cummin and radish with chilli-dusted cucumber. A lovely introduction and the Rosé Cava has more depth and grip than most cava, it balances the savouriness of the dumpling well. However the hot-and-cold notes from the cucumber offset the dumpling well but call for a different sort of wine (a sparkling Saivignon Blanc?). So an interesting lead in from the food and wine – but they are on partly separate paths…

The Starter is Bhatti ke Bater  paired with  Moscato Deakin Estate
This is quail breast tikka, served with a water cress salad, and figs and melon chutney. This was a slightly risky match, the salty spice of the tikka and meatiness of the quail are quite deep flavours and are beautifully balanced by the sweet elements to the side. So a lower alcohol, residual natural sweetness, Muscat has the lightness and sweetness to lift the pairing. I thought it worked really well (if I say so myself): refreshing, light and supple with the sweet and spicy elements of the dish. Lovely!

The Fish Course is Machhali Simla Mirch   paired with   Organic Chablis (Jean-Marc Brocard)
Tandoori John Dory with crab pachadi accented by green pepper and pea with a baby plum tomato salad. Lovely food, the gentleness of fish with a very unami crab and the slightly sweet accompaniments, to be honest I thought the tomato salad superflous, though very nice. The wine is a warmer style of Chablis – and a good thing here – the steely citrus line giving way to a warm mineral line that dances round the crab in particular. My companion, intolerant of fish, had a stuffed pepper dish of similar spice balance which was lovely  – and the wine a great match. As usual, a Chablis Grand Cru would have done the food better justice!

The Main Course is Shaljam Gosht   paired with   Rioja Valdemar
Pan roasted rack of lamb, lamb turnip masala, wilted broccoli & carrot, cumin mash potato, and Rogan jus. This was a staggeringly good dish – at the apex of Indian fine dining IMO. The proportions of each element perfectly thought out, the lamb beautifully cooked, and the flavours intermingling and counterpointing wonderfully. The pleasure led us to a discussion of 10 best ever restaurant dishes [A duck trio in Périgueux;  a grilled Chaource salad in Chablis; a tasting menu in another Périgueux restaurant (!); lunch at Le Manoir; a sea-bass at Hart’s; a slow cooked beef dish at Perkin’s…..] for this would be among them… With this the Rioja is the right sort of wine, but can only play support and with so much pleasure in the dish that’s no bad thing…

The Dessert is Rasagullah with strawberry ice cream    paired with  Nederburg Noble Late Harvest (South Africa)
A milk dumpling served with strawberry ice cream and blueberry compote, a lovely light complex of flavours and an almost frivolous, light pleasure after the foregoing meal… The wine, a very orange peel, sweet warmth botrytis wine – didn’t so much offset the food as become another colour on the palette of the dish… Very good.

Just a great meal, not only the individual dishes and wines (the Muscato the the most surprising success) but the whole arc of the meal, building through the early dishes to a crescendo with the lamb and winding down with a memorable coda with the dessert. I recommend it – there’s only just over a week left of this season though… go get it!