Breaking bread will probably never be the same again, not at the Baluchi in any case. The recently re-invented Baluchi, at the Lalit, has introduced a rather interesting pairing of wine and bread in an essentially pan Indian context.
At their all new Bread Bar you can combine freshly made Indian breads with the restaurant's extensive wine list. It's an interesting mix. Unless you've actually tried it, you would never know that the herbs and spices of the crispy Gilafi Kulcha or the butter enriched Pheni Parantha can be enhanced with a glass of a French red wine like Cotes du Rhone 2007. These breads are served with delicious raddish, carrot and papaya dips.
After you are done savouring the breads and sampling the wines, you are escorted to your table. Redesigned by Mumbai-based architect Bobby Mukerjee, the space is done up in dark earthy hues. Brass accessories, Afghan carpets and antique hookahs add the exotic feel. Baluchi also has two private enclosures with a seating capacity of 12. Since the restaurant encourages food and wine pairings, I tried the Kashmiri style Mushroom ki Galouti kababs which went down very well with Linderman's Bin 65 Chardonnay 2006.
Argento Chardonnay 2008 on the other hand, paired beautifully with the pomegranate flavour of the Mutton Chapli Kebabs. For the main course, we tried a plate of Kombdi Cha Rasa, a tangy boneless chicken curry cooked in Konkani spices with a Green Pinot Noir 2008-a match made in foodie heaven. But this love affair with wine didn't end here. Gulab jamuns flambeed in brandy may have tasted a tad strange but were divine with Sauternes, the French dessert wine.
The well-thought-out menu manages to give you a great overview of diverse Indian flavours, from Afghani and Kashmiri specialities to Lucknowi, Karnatak and Maharashtrian cuisine, you're spoilt for choice. In case you fumble, the courteous and knowledgeable staff guide you through your meal, making it a worthwhile experience.
The Alaska Distillery in Wasilla has launched a all new Smoked Salmon flavoured Vodka. Much enthused by record levels of the fish in the US state, the distillery smokes the salmon and the resulting flavour, rich colour and essence are extracted from the stew. It is similar in spirit to Black Rock Spirits' Bacon flavoured Vodka. A good compliment to the Bloody Mary, mixologists are finding wider use of the drink. Does it taste like fish? Only one way to find out.
Queen Elizabeth must be feeling mighty chuffed. In honour of Her Majesty's 58 years in Buckingham Palace, the Chivas Brothers have released Royal Salute, a new limited edition (over 40 years old) Scotch, encased in a gold and crystal decanter. Suitably luxe, the name alludes to the gun fusillade that's fired in the Queen's honour every year. However, the real marvel is the casing; decorated in 24 ct gold with a cut crystal stopper on top. You can own it if you can spare $2,200 (Rs 1 lakh).