Ambrosia: L’Angoor- A New Wine Destination

May 17, 2011
L'Angoor

As a finale when the food is an experience to be enjoyed just as much as the wines it only meets expectations and does it well. Top it up with perfect seating, a good ambience, music that appeals but never distracts and it is a recipe of success both for the outlet and the customer.

THE AMBIENCE

Although the first impression of L’Angoor is to bring a smile for the wordplay of ‘angoor’, meaning grapes, and the focus is on wines, as soon as you see the restaurant crest of two long tailed langoors holding a plaque with a bunch of grapes and stylized grape vine leaves you crackle with delight and realize that humour is the least appreciated feature of wine appreciation. It definitely needs to be remembered and celebrated.

High ceiling, astute use of wooden slating for wall panels on uninterrupted side, first floor lined cellar of bottles chilling, awaiting your pleasure and it is easy to slide into comfort zone of acceptance of the standard portrayed. Then come into focus the blue and burgundy red color setting plates with the restaurant crest in silver, and you begin to notice the glasses- yes, a moment of celebration must never be lost because you did not have the appropriate glass, but in a restaurant when I see different shapes of wine glasses on the table, it is extremely reassuring of the expected standard.

I was told two evenings of the week L’Angoor had live jazz band but otherwise the piped music is also understated and yet international in its quality and decibel count. I don’t particularly like music that interferes with my conversation and quite often even with the thought process- while wining & dining is all about fun and enjoyment, it is also about thinking about what you are enjoying.

LUXURY DEFINED

While big and impressive menus have been done by many outlets on fancy paper, in leather folders, metal covers and other experiments, there is something charming about the wooden plaques with engraved crest of the restaurant at the top and the well printed menu of food- two for two different times of the day; ditto for the wine lists. Prices are charmingly mentioned not in figures but words for the food and I could not find a single printer’s error.

All stemware is laser engraved with stylised restaurant crest which simply bowled me over as it means large stock and forward planning for whenever the replacements are ordered from the Singapoe based company. Then there are the plates with the crest coming on the left side of the plate- placed differently to the usual rendition of the top. While table runners are modern thick fabric the serviettes are luxurious cotton, large and with a pattern running in thin silver line.

Luxury can be opulent and breathless, or it can be matter of fact as they have successfully achieved in L’Angoor. It is never intimidating or contrived which is the best possible rendition of luxury telling you it is your right to expect it and here it is.

APART FROM WINES

The restaurant lists and stocks fine malts, whiskies, gin or vodka, liqueurs and even Cognac, but there is no separate menu of cocktails or mocktails. However don’t let it lead you believe you cannot have it. I requested and got a perfect Bloody Mary as I feel that the true mettle of a bartender is tested on the rendition of the most basic cocktail- I asked for medium spiced and got exactly that. A well made Bloody Mary is one of the most amazing lip smacking experiences that make you greedily finish it.

So, if you know your favourite cocktail, by all means demand it; they will serve it and it will be well made but they are not in the business to promote cocktails or claim that they have an exclusive list of ‘speciality’ cocktails.

THE IMPRESSIVE WINE LIST

Following the wooden menu style there is a plaque for white and red wines- two of them following the simple method of sharing information that would appeal equally to the new wine enthusiast as much as a well informed wine lover. The divisions are easy for both the red wine list and the white wine list.

First you are told the country of origin; next comes the label information, then the vintage, followed by the grape varietals in the wine, the house that makes it and finally the price. As currently just over half a dozen options are also available by the glass that information is available as well. An example from the two segments is shared below:

ITALY:

Alastro Bianco 2007 Grecanico, Chardonnay, Viognier

Fiano Planeta                          2,200

AUSTRALIA:

The Dead Arm 2006 Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon d’Arenberg       5,000  1150

(The second figure appear only when the wine is available by the glass as well)

While it is extremely appealing to have such a fine list etched on wood, I truly wonder how they will keep up with the irregular supply and changing vintage availability.

CELEBRATION OF FOOD

It is important to keep a distinct lunch and dinner menu and at L’Angoor this distinction is celebrated rather than kept mundane. It does not in any way compromise the options possible or pairing exercise for the wines. A range of salads for lunch also has sandwiches and delicious burgers and for the more formal lunch enthusiast a selection of pastas and the tempting cheese platter.

For dinner, it gets delightfully difficult to opt for fish over red meat, succulent scallops or rack of New Zealand lamb drizzled with rosemary scented au jus. Well, for me it was the wine that decided on the lamb.

GENERAL IMPRESSION

With such a limited and expensive (as compared to the rest of the world) wine availability when one discovers a true gen it is time well invested and deserves a standing ovation. Davide Zubani is the official in house sommelier. With over 13 years of experience in celebrated international properties, as also Indian properties including the Leela, even a cruise ship he approaches wine recommendation with confident elan that comes from experience.

As with all truly memorable experiences, Davide kept the gem for the last- Yocochuya is an Argentinian Malbec & Cebernet Sauvignon blend; decanted it roughly half hour before service and swirled it expertly to air it well. In the glass it was sheer poetry with silky smooth tannins and a firm structure that had a beguiling and charming long finish. Although the Michel Rolland crafted wine declares 16.2% alcohol it goes down well, has a perfectly balanced nose on the notes and was a true winner of the glass, that might well change as customers begin to honour choices of the sommelier.

L’Angoor is poised at the beginning of an innings that can only get better. They have a great team and the right approach with many re-visit reasons clear on the first visit itself. One does not even experience the mayhem driving that Gurgaon interiors have become; it is almost the very first building on Mehrauli-Gurgaon road from Delhi, much before the mad traffic snarls of the Gurgaon malls begin.

 

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