Sunday, August 29, 2010

The gasrtonomical odyssey: Soma by the Kalras @ Sula Vineyards

The Sula vineyards
The monsoons are on and it had been over a month since I hadn't traveled or ventured out of Bombay. I've stopped my unconditional love for this city, more so after IB took me to places around the world and made me realize that cities are made by their people who are passionate for its cultures, history and spirit. They are definitely not made up of political-mafias, intra-national racism, indifference and filth!! So when life and the world showed me beautiful cities I decided to commit my first-time infidelity! City wise.
Anything over two months drives me mad in Bombay and so the monsoons were a quick excuse for a getaway. This time I headed again to Sula near Nashik.
The view of acres of vineyards in the monsoon from the Tasting Room, sipping a glass of wine is wonderful!!
So I had to. After reading Rashmi Uday Singh's TOI review  on 'Soma' - food by the Kalras, and the words 'Laal Maas' (goat meat in a spicy firy red curry) I knew I had to be at this restaurant that Rashmi featured. Mind you the Kalra's are not the same as Jiggs Kalra (of Punjab Grill fame). Honestly, I dont really care who is the cook as long as my palates are happy.
So after having many glasses of wine which included the beautiful Sula Brut Rosé Sparkling, the Dindori Reserve Viogniér (delicious and my favourite with the rich smell of Apricot and Lychees), the Madera Red etc. we were hungry for food.
The resturant opens at 12:30 pm and shares space with Little Italy. Its quiant, has an open and airy feeling with glass walls to get the maximum view of the vineyards and high wodden and wrought iron furniture. Very Italian!! Table mats with Sun Signs in Indian names and an open tandoor counter this place appealed to me instantly.
They have some Italian and world music playing too...
The staff is extremely helpful and friendly.
We went straight for the main course and I ordered the the rave reviewed Laal Maas. The last time I had this dish was at the Nahargarh Palace and Fort restaurant in Amer, Rajasthan. There in the land of the Rajputs and Marwar it was delicious. This time I wanted to see how it would be recreated in the land of the Deccans accompanied with a glass of the Dindori Reserve Shiraz (my idea)!
The Sula Brut Rose sparkling

Another curry that we ordered in the sea food section was the Jhinga Masala that was to be accompanied with the Sula Chenin Blanc (my idea again)
Then there were the Paneer Makhani and the Dal Makhani. A bread basket of Naan's and rotis were ordered as accompaniment.
To begin with came the complimentary 'Paapads' with the mint curd chutney, pickles and onion-lemon wedges.
Then came the food.
I dint bother to wait and click the pictures and did so while the food was on our plates/being served. Please excuse me for that.
The first bite of the Laal Maas and bravo!! It was soft, succelent and came off the bone. Just as good meat should.
I was transported straight back to Amer!!
The Laal Maas

The red wine added to my palate.... but I'm sure this dish would carry off on its own without any fancy wine having to butress it.
The Paneer Makhani
Next came the Jhinga curry (excellent again). Medium prawns in a fantastic central-India kind of gravy which I noticed would be a killer with rice but I dont have the appetite for both Naan and rice so skipped the temptation. The Paneer Makhani was decent too.
The Jhinga curry in the middle and Laal Maas to the right corner on my plate

The real winner however was the Dal Makani.
It was full of ghee but who cared. Nowhere else have I had such astounding and good Daal Makhani. No, not even in Bukhara @ the ITC Maurya in Delhi (okk maybe I'm exaggerating a bit) but believe me it was flavorsome!!
The Dal Makahani

We ended the lunch with the Moong Daal ka Halwa, it was hot. I dont like hot deserts. I rate it an average.
All in all, Soma get a thumbs up for me.
Damage for 4 people with drink was around Rs. 2400/-
The Moong-dal Halwa

1 comment:

  1. Getting the famous lal maas of rajasthan in the middle of Maharashtra is quite an achivement. Interesting that they had no qualms about serving Indian food with wine. That broadens the horizons for wine in India.