A cool Thursday evening in New Friends Colony in Delhi witnessed a cool gathering of a convivial bunch of people from all over the world. The Yum Yum Tree hosted the evening on the restaurant’s intimate terrace (which certainly kept the smokers happy throughout the evening). The wine dinner was themed ‘France, France, France!’ and was an attempt at matching some classic wine styles from France to the East-Asian cuisine that Yum Yum expounds so well.
The wine highlight and unanimous favourite was the 2004 Grand Cru Gewurztraminer from producer Pfaffenheim’s Steinhert vineyard. Almost five years old, this wine was a magical partner to crispy zucchini ‘soldiers’ in a fragrant, hot yellow sauce. The maturity of the wine, along with the ripe lychee and brown spice notes were perfect with the dish.
The evening began briskly with an amûse-bouche of preserved lime soup paired with Champagne Pommery – a smart, classic Brut-style bubbly. We moved onwards and upwards, to the 2006 Chablis from Albert Bichot’s Domaine Long-Depaquit, paired with duck and cherry hargao or steamed dim sum and glass noodle sui mai; the pairing was subtle but enjoyable. Crunchy prawns with oat flakes and crunchy tofu with sesame and onion (another winner that evening) completed the Chablis pairing.
Then came the Gewurztraminer. Accompanying it were two well-conceived dishes – crisp sea bass in a creamy five-pepper sauce (red, yellow, green, black and white pepper) with batter-fried zucchini ‘soldiers’ in the hot yellow sauce. The dish was overwhelmingly good.
Rosé has always been an ideal match to Asian food, particularly a rosé with just the right balance of acidity and fruit flavour. Dry rosé from the south of France in particular – such as the 2006 Laurent Miguel Cinsault Syrah Rosé, with its savoury, somewhat spicy flavours – married perfectly with salty, succulent pork and crisp seaweed. The dryness of the wine allowed the succulence and sweetness of the pork to sing out loud.
Burgundy and Bordeaux, two classic wine regions in France, stood up adequately to the main course of the evening, classic chicken with cashew nuts accompanied by steamed spinach with ceps mushrooms. Both Louis Jadot’s Pinot Noir 2005 and Hèbrard’s (the former owner of Cheval Blanc) Le Petit Trianon from St. Emilion 2003 – a wonderfully juicy and powerful Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend – matched the texture and meaty flavour of the dishes perfectly.
By this time, dessert was an effort, but a necessary effort. Rich chocolate brownie cake and strawberries and figs dipped in Belgian chocolate were accompanied by Yum Yum’s signature Gianduja chocolate martini. The perfect way to end a perfect evening!
This dinner was the second in a series of wine events known as the ‘chinaWine Chapters’ at the Yum Yum Tree. With these sorts of efforts, The Yum Yum Tree is fast establishing itself as a serious wine venue in New Delhi and indeed in India.