Food pairings have become surprisingly common in Chennai these days. After the wonderful Perfume pairing at Taj, the outstanding Masters of Food and Wine at Park Hyatt and the Chinese - Japanese battle with Johnny Walker at ITC Grand Chola, this time I was invited to Westin, a part of the Starwood that owns multiple hotel brands, came up with a night of Food Pairing with Sandeep Arora, who is considered India's first and only Whiskey Connoisseur. Like my friend, also a tee-totaler said, "the way Sandeep talks about the 12,15 and 18 year old whiskeys, I feel like drinking one myself," the night was fantastic and I was able to enjoy it without having to enhance my liver!
EEST, the Asian restaurant at Westin hosted the dinner. The restaurant has a nice ambiance with dark interiors and a nice centre dining space! After the wonderful initial talk by Sandeep, we sat down for dinner which opened, surprisingly, with a seared scallop amuse-bouche! While amuse-bouche, is usually not such a delicacy, this one was and was gulped down in no time!!!! The next course was the Chinese-Japanese platter, a combo of two dim sums and three sushi. The dim sums were very average and I expected a much better one at Westin, but the sushi was excellent. The salmon, the tuna and the prawn sushi, all of them were good enough for my palate. This was followed by a minced chicken salad that was quite different for me, but not completely convincing.
The main course had two options for non vegetarians, the Salmon and Tenderloin and so both of us ordered different main courses so that we can taste the two. Out of the three tenderloin pieces, one was overcooked and chewy but was more than made up by the remaining two which were cooked well done, but was still reasonably soft! The Salmon was excellent and being served with a nice salad, it was the better main course and I almost regretted having the beef! Yes, he refused to share beyond my tasting piece. We finished of with a dessert platter, which for me was the best dish of the day! The coconut platter had an excellent coconut ice cream, a fantastic coconut crepe and water-chestnut in coconut cream! Slurp!!! We were given a nice return gift hamper, but unfortunately, while waiting for my car, I left the hamper in the lobby, so I only have the photo of the hamper. I wish I can get my hands on that hamper again!!! It looked lovely!
The best part of the night for me though, was the conversation with Sandeep Arora. It was great to hear his stories of travel and experiences with food, medicine, detox and the likes and we connected on the common interest of wellness! I am looking forward to hosting him at my place and serving him tea!
EEST is the Asian restaurant at Westin, Velachery.