By Ankit Sinha
Gurgaon, Feb 24: Awareness about pairing cocktails and food in the capital and the NCR region has increased over the years with the advent of several European-style fine-dining restaurants.
With an intelligent and eclectic mix of tequila, vodka and whiskey, along with hearty lamb, chicken and pork flavours, Sandys Cocktails and Kitchen here has an array of tastes to offer.
However delicious a cocktail may be, its taste gets a dozen times better when paired with an ideal dish containing the right flavours. At an especially curated dinner table meet at the restro-bar, the guests were served exclusively crafted non-vegetarian and vegetarian menus which encompassed an array of lip-smacking yet elegantly flavoured dishes.
Imagine savouring a Vesper cocktail (inspired by the James Bond movie "Casino Royale") enhancing the citric flavour of a Bratwurst -- a German pork sausage -- in cosy environs with wooden interiors inspired by Bavarian architecture and blues and jazz playing in the background.
But that's not all. As the taste buds begin to tickle and yearn for more, the next dish, a chicken Caesar salad, which includes Romaine hearts, garlic melba with grilled chicken and bacon bits, comes along with its accompaniment, a cocktail named Last Tango in Modena.
The cocktail comprised bell pepper infused tequila, slit green chilly, passion fruit pure muddled with basil and shaken with orange juice and lime juice. Garnished with rose petal ice cube. The green leaves and the grilled chicken flavour went well with the passion fruit and chilly flavours in the cocktail.
After that were served the Hungarian Goulash, which included a hearty lamb soup, with carrots, potatoes and onions, seasoned with paprika and served with the interestingly named Smok'd Celery Bloody Bitch cocktail. The cocktail had an interesting combination of vodka and tomato juice and a combination of other spices, with Sandys' own twist - adding spiced juice with smoked sea salt, lime and celery juice foam.
In the main course, the braised lamb shanks was cooked in its own juices and served with globe artichokes, green pea and truffle risotto, sautéed spinach and shallot confit and was served with the simplest cocktail of the evening, the old fashioned whiskey cocktail.
Lastly, guests were served with the new age Tiramisu, which included mascarpone, Kahlua, Savioardi and served with Espresso Martini with Hazelnut Foam.
Sandeep Verma, owner of Sandys Cocktails and Kitchen, said the vision behind the restro-bar was "an instant concept, as I always wanted to open a cosy homely place with a soul and character of its own".
"I wanted to create a place with a soul and character rather than building it. I always wanted to incorporate five elements -- earth, air, water, fire, ether -- and wood as the sixth element should be the umami effect of Sandys hospitality 'athithi devo bhava'," Verma told IANS.
Besides, Verma also has a bar school running at his establishment.
"The place was designed in a manner where we could conduct professional bartenders coaching during the day, from Monday to Friday. Weekends are for our guests and customers to learn their favorite recipe or learn more about whisky tastings or wine appreciations. We take pride in creating good cocktails and we love sharing recipes with our patrons," he added.
Update: 24 Feb, 2016