Monday, July 26, 2010
Six Wines and Six Dishes at Indya Bistro
643 Rathdowne St
Ph: (03) 9347-6387
Indya Bistro is a casual modern-Indian restaurant located on a busy section of Rathdowne street (near Cafe ZumZum and other Melbourne foodie favourites). They recently hosted a "Wine and Spice Night", matching 6 courses with 6 wines for $49. Even though this represents excellent value, I was lucky enough to be invited along to the event. I think it was supposed to be a one-time-only thing, but it turned out to be so popular that they held another session the day after!
Indian food is notoriously tricky to match with wine - I'd always just choose beer - and the point of the evening was to showcase some great matches in a menu developed by sommelier Patrick Walsh and Indya's head chef Wilson Gomes. Ever since Sandra started working at Moortangi Estate, I've become a lot more interested in food-and-wine matching, and I was sure it would be a delicious and informative night. According to our waiter, the wines they've chosen are on the sweeter side, to counteract the spiciness in the food. We noticed the wines were quite fruity and citrussy, and quite light. There was only one red, and it was a pinot noir.
Each of the 6 wines was poured as each course was brought out. With the detailed tasting notes they provided, this gave us a good chance to really taste and appreciate the matches. We sat with Thanh and Ling, and I think it was good to sit in a small group of food-minded friends so that we could discuss our opinions over the meal. I was (obviously) impressed with the many Germanic wines and varietals on offer.
1. Spinach Paneer Delight with NV Stefano Lubiana Brut, Granton, Tasmania
This was a lovely starter - warm spicy spinach, topped with crumbled paneer, on little flat-bread triangles. It's the type of dish I can imagine served as a canapé at a function. (Although having said that, I could have easily eaten a huge bowl of that spinach for dinner and been quite happy).
2. Spicy Stir-fried prawns with 2008 Dr Loosen "Blueslate" Riesling, Mosel, Germany
The prawns were quite tasty, well-cooked and coated with a nice mixture of spices. The riesling that accompanied was slightly sweet and citrussy, and made a good match.
Sandra doesn't eat prawns, and they kindly substituted some spicy grilled chicken pieces instead.
3. Chicken Chettinad with 2009 Hunky Dory Tangle, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand
This was a mild and creamy chicken curry. Although I enjoyed the curry itself, we found this to be the least successful wine match of the evening - the combination of the spices and the Hunky Dory somehow tasted murky.
4. Honey Galic Gobi Florettes with 2009 Pitnauer Blaufränkisch Rosé, Burgenland, Austria
These cauliflower florettes were the hit of the evening! The florettes were covered in a sweet and garlicky coating that had a slight crispness to it. I thought it was similar to a Chinese honey chicken from a suburban Chinese take-away, just executed much better. Absolutely addictive. We've already decided that we must come back to try these again. The acidity in the matching rosé worked well with the sweetness of the cauliflower.
5. Pondicherry Fish curry with 2008 Villa Wolf Gewürztraminer, Pfalz, Germany
The fish was our least favourite dish of the night - whilst the sauce itself was nice, the fish was slightly dry and very salty, especially because it wasn't served with rice.
6. Marinated Lamb with 2008 Delta Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand
We finished off with a lamb curry, which like the chicken curry, was quite mild. The lamb pieces themselves were impressively tender. I thought the pinot noir complemented the lamb well, as it was able to stand up to the complex spices without overpowering it.
Despite there being 6 courses, the overall meal was still relatively light - possibly a little too light for all the wine - it's a good thing I didn't have to drive that night! It can be quite a challenge to make Indian food glamorous, and I think Indya has done a good job! Thanks to the team at Indya Bistro for a fun (and educational) night!
Sarah and Sandra enjoyed Six Wines and Six Dishes as a guest of Indya Bistro.