Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

IWFS Delhi Royale - Great ambience, food and wines!

November 20th 2014

Sheesh… just back from a belly buster in Taipei, straight into a back to back sake session at Ginza Sushimasa at Le Meridien and an IWFS dinner the following day. Everything comes at once sometimes. Writing this the day after, definitely got that tired, both ends burning kind of feel. Bit run down with all the partying. Need a break. Now writing six days later, feel much better. It is amazing what a couple of nights off the booze can do for you. Good sleep and total recharge of the mental and physical batteries. Yes.

This would be new IWFS Committee member Bachan's first organised function for the IWFS in KL so naturally we would support. It also helped that the wines looked very tasty and with the whole bunfight coming in at under RM200 it was an easy yes for us.  

Notwithstanding, an underwhelming turnout of 31 was slightly disappointing though in truth not unexpected. Members tend to shun both Chinese and Indian cuisine functions for pretty much the same reasons - they can prepare far tastier and more authentic food at home for a fifth of the price so why bother? 

Whilst I understand the argument and have some degree of sneaking support for it, I do feel that ultimately one should feel comfortable with sacrificing some element so as to benefit the whole. Company first, then other aspects will fall into line. Sometimes putting ones preferences above the company of friends is not entirely good form. Though if the entire bunfight feels overpriced, then drop it like a hot stone.

The Delhi Royale is located in a block of shophouses at the Tun Razak end of Jalan Yap Kwan Seng. For those who remember the old Eurodeli (the building is still there, it is now the Songket) it is the block that now hides it from the main road. The blurb on the Delhi Royale said that it is being operated by the same group that operates the the “Sip n Dine” in Chandigarh, Punjab. This group has a legacy of 25 years of operating North Indian Fine Dining restaurants. The Delhi Royale is set up along the same high standards by this group and it is one of the very few fine dining restaurants serving North Indian Cuisine in Kuala Lumpur.
Oi Camera Boy - Any fear of any wine coming to this table?
Headed by, er, Head Chef Mr Raj Gurun (extensive experience in Chandigarh, Delhi and Dubai for eight years) his team of chefs all hail from India and are experts in the various dishes that they cook. Seems most of the ingredients used in the preparation of the dishes are imported from India. This is particularly true of the spices used, whereby the chefs seek to ensure that the food tastes as authentic as it can.

The blurb also claimed the "service staff do perform to a very high standard." Well….   not initially on this night. I had to get some extra pours of fizz on at least two occasions whilst the staff were running around in the kitchen. Also snatched a beer for Big Tony. In fairness, this was the start of the evening and the staff were frantically obeying the order of the kitchen and getting the food out and served while it was hot. Aside from this initial blip, the rest of the evening in service terms was very good.

We parked around the back which was spacious, easy and wonderfully free. In total contrast to the night before when we had to pay RM35 to park at the Meridien. Horrendous parking charges. Our friend had to pay RM44 - we were horrified. Absolutely the last time I will go there, good restaurants or not. I do not see how any hotel is justified in charging such prices. Let them rot.

Large welcoming doors invite entry into a beige, black and brown high ceilinged space with not overcold airconditioning. More a modern Western feel than anything with some well placed art which nicely avoided the usual tacky Moghul style drapes and cushions one often finds in such establishments. Very relaxing and comfortable, and nicely swish and pleasant.

Paneer Papri
We got welcomed with the Queen Adelaide NV Sparkling Fizz. Bright and lemon gold, the slightly sweetish bubbles would prove the perfect foil for the spicy fire of the starter food. Lovely and light with excellent balance across the whole. Not too crisp, not too sweet, dancing across the top of the mouth and taming the fire of the food. A brilliant food friendly wine, and perfect with this spicy fare. 

The IWFS was also offering beer with the food since some members felt that only beer was a good match with Indian cuisine. Well, and maybe, and so the restaurant had sourced Kingfisher Beer to be made available to those who wanted it. In fairness, the restaurant had gone out of its way to source the beer, so kudos here. It was coming in large tall glasses which felt a bit too much especially after the excesses of the previous weekend and the present delicacy of the internals, so I snaffled a drop in a champagne flute to taste. Felt a bit thin after the fizz, though nutty enough to maintain interest. Though clearly was just not in the mood for beer on the night. No problem - the wines would prove well enough for the food.

The wonderful Mutton Gullafi
The two Canapes were very good and set the tone of the food being spicy without being too hot. The Mutton Gullafi starter was standout, well excellent with good spice and a brilliant match with the slightly sweetish Queen Adelaide bubbles. The Paneer Papri cheese had a crunchy nut coating which lent good texture to the somewhat firm cheesey interior, which got nicely set off with the yoghurt mint and chili sauce on the side. 
The 2012 Santa Rita Gran Hacienda Chardonnay came out and initally felt a bit thin. A second somewhat more chilled taste showed good balance, no oak with a good steel nose of banana and papaya. Mid weight, good around the mouth and a pleasantly long finish with cleansing grip. Very nice, very easy but with enough complexity and character to pique. Another very good food wine.

Yakina Shorba soup and Pappadums
The Starter Yakini Shorba soup came across like a thin Mulligatawny, a bit on the watery side with spice and mince (presumably) lamb which felt a bit undercooked and tartare though it lent a lovely texture to the broth. Tasty enough and a standout for some of our Indian members. 

"Oi, Camera boy. Where's the food?" "Take yer photo first then maybe...."
We had both plain and black pepper poppadom to pair, the latter of which supercharged the soup into a flaming burning blitzkrieg of tastebud ripping fire. The plain was fine. Perhaps plain Paratha might have been better to soak up the broth, but then we Brits would say that - must soak up everything. I broke up the poppadum into the soup as directed by my neighbour who seemed to know about these things. It softened up the crispy thing and took the heat out of the poppadum pepper.

At this point, the food service got a bit slow. It was the gap between first and second rounds of food and seemed to go on for a good while. didn't time it, but began feeling decidedly hungry after a while. Some speculated that Bachan had put the fear of the Governor into the heart of the manager who as a result wanted all the food to be perfect. And quite right too - the Governor can be withering when he needs to be. 
IWFS Winemaster and Committee member Prakash with IWFS member Andy Davison
It was ultimately worth the wait. The curries were magnificent - textured veggie sauces and spice without burning. The acompanying rice was also excellent - a kind of oaky biryani style of individual grains that tasted of wheat and tea. We got some veggie kind of thing of sweetcorn and peppers which had me diligently separating the pepper out from the other bits. We also got plain and garlic naan bread which was most welcome.

This was accompanied by the third wine, the 2011 Repolusk Roter Traminer, Obergalnz from Austria and which was oh so lovely. Soft layers, a medium light mouth with spritzy riesling apricot fruits, a zappy lovely ring going down the throat like bells in an Austriain village church. A true food wine for Indian cuisine, whose spice and fire let a pleasant perfumed mouth shine through. A lovely, lovely wine. 

Chicken Tikka Masala, Garlic Naan, Pudhina Paratha, Corn Salad and Aloo Gobi.
We also got some spinach. The combo of all this curry, naan, veg and wine was an amazing mix of tastes - spice, hot, carbo, spinach, yoghurt, sweetcorn - a melange of crunch and bite and liquid fire rolling around the mouth and melding into flame and fire on the tongue. Which the Roter squashed and doused so very, very nicely and sweetly, with sugar water and lychee Turkish Delight coming through.

There next came the Chicken Tikka Masala which was magnificent. Creamy texture on the sauce with a perfectly well cooked bite on the bird. Lovely spice - heat without burn. Someone said that this was not so much authentic North Indian as more North London, claiming the dish had its origins there. Well and maybe. Google Research seems to point to Glasgow as the place of origin in 2009, though I have memories of eating something wildly similar on the streets of Bangsar in the mid 1990s. Tonight's offering was wonderfully tasty. Worth a return for this. Perhaps the chef is a Scotsman?

The 2012 Porcupine Ridge Syrah came out to accompany. Initially a bit apprehensive to the idea of a fiery Shiraz with this kind of food, this wine was light and fruity and clearly an excellent food friendly wine. Balanced, an easy drinker but possessing some depth and layers. Not overly complex but enough to tease with chocolate, damson and dark plum notes.

Fresh Tiger Prawn, Garlic Naan and the brilliant Vegetable Briyani
The Prawn Curry was… not quite right somehow. The prawn felt a bit off - not entirely fresh and somewhat soft in the bite. The sauce also felt a bit iffy. In contrast, the Mutton curry was excellent - firm, full, spice taste. With the single grain rice with its excellent crunchy lightly firm bite, the combo was brilliant. 

Ghulab Jamun and Khulfi. Or maybe it's the other way round...
It had been decided to throw an extra red to the gathered and the lovely 2010 E Guigal Cotes du Rhone made its appearance. And diosapperance, they were a thirsty brood tonight. Good light fruit, strawberries and cherry. Medium texture, full and fresh in the mouth, firmish tannins. This one is a young  drinker and we certainly drunk it young tonight. The ice cream was tasty and reminiscent of the brilliant one we had at Extebarri in San Sebastian - a hit of smoke and tea about it to add a sly afternote to the meal. 

Bachan thanking everyone - members, staff, chefs
In all, a good evening. Food was charming and tasty in a charmingly relaxing atmosphere. Service was ultimately good, though the early absence of wine topups and the mid meal lull needed mentioning. As said, the wines were perfect - not too complex, yet with balance and grace across them all. Perfect foils to tame the fire of the food and with enough range of tastes and mouthfeels to enhance and illuminate. Would return for the food and ambience. The Delhi wines on show looked a shade ordinary, will have to find out what their corkage is. You may need to take Prakash and his wine selections!!

Delhi Royale
No. 33, Lots 2 & 3 (Ground Floor) , Wisma Longrich,
Jalan Yap Kwan Seng 50450, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dine-in hours:
Lunch :- 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Dinner :- 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Aman Aggarwal ( Managing Director) : (+6) 012 - 458 1102 
Vivek Patel ( Banquets & Events Manager): (+6) 010 - 430 5797
Dev Kaphle ( Restaurant Manager): (+6) 011 - 2311 8445

Phone: (+6) 032 - 165 1555, Fax: (+6) 032 - 164 9555
Mobile: (+6) 012 - 458 1102

GPS Coordinates & Position: 3°09'48.0"N 101°42'53.9"E

Well, Bindi me...
Paneer Papri
Mutton Gullafi

Yakini Shorba soup
Pappadums – 2 types

Palak Paneer, 
Aloo Gobi, 
Makhni Dhall, Bhoondi Raita
Salad, Corn
Achar, Onions in Vinegar
Chicken Tikka Masala
Garlic Naan, Pudhina Paratha

Mutton Masala, 
Fresh Tiger Prawns in thick curry
Vegetable Briyani

Ghulab Jamun

NV Queen Adelaide
This sparkling has a delicate pale gold colour. On the nose it has a fresh, lifted bouquet with attractive fruit and subtle yeast character. Made from Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, it is full flavoured, yet soft, elegant and well balanced. It finishes dry with the traditional Brut sparkling style.

2012 Santa Rita Gran Hacienda Chardonnay
Made from grapes sourced a single vineyard in the village of Corgoloin. A 100% Chardonnay with stone fruit hints and green apple skins. The palate is refined with a spine of minerals overlaid by melon and fresh citrus fruits. There is refreshing acidity on the finish. (WYH)

2011 Repolusk Roter Traminer, Obergalnz
Roter Traminer, cousin to the Gew├╝rztraminer is a rare red grape varietal in Austria accounting for only 2% of Austria's wine production. Weingut Repolusk is renowned for their award winning wines grown on the mountain terraces in Styria.
The wine evokes fine aromas of rose blooms with the floral notes of traminer fruit. The taste is reminiscent of spice with honey accents. It is elegant with a lingering finish. 
(Falstaff 92/100) .

2012 Porcupine Ridge Syrah
Grapes from a vineyard in Swartland were fermented with selected Rhone yeast strains and the wine was matured in French oak .
Rich and powerful dark fruit flavours with loads of pepper and violets. Well structured palate with smooth tannins and lingering mouth feel. Judicious use of oak adds to the profile without overpowering the fruit. Good density with a delicious aftertaste. 
(From Winemaker’s notes)

2010 E Guigal Cotes du Rhone
This cuvee is typically a blend of 50% Syrah and the rest Grenache and perhaps some Mourvedre. Guigal is known throughout the Rhone Valley for paying the highest price for generic Cotes du Rhone, and that in large part explains the quality of this wine year in and year out. It enjoys an extended upbringing in foudre and stainless steel tanks and is always a dense ruby/purple-colored wine with lots of blue and black fruits intermixed with notions of kirsch, licorice, lavender and spice. Supple and surprisingly intense, this delicious effort can age for 4-5 years. (Wine Advocate 89).