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An Afternoon To Remember
Text by Shirin Mehta and Photographs by Ankur Chaturvedi
Published: Volume 21, Issue 11, November, 2013

Verve hosts a striking bunch of women to lunch at the ITC Grand Central, Mumbai and so unravels an afternoon of succinct conversation, good food and fine wines

Verve will never cock a snook at the ladies-who-lunch. This is a time for female bonding, a sharing of ideas without male perspectives, making for an enviable closeness. Yeah, men don’t have this release for the senses, for anger issues and other dilemmas. Have you ever heard of men-who-lunch? No, they don’t know how to!

So, Verve and hostess par excellence, Chhaya Momaya, invited some ladies to lunch at Shanghai Club, the fine dining Chinese restaurant at ITC Grand Central, Mumbai. From different walks of life, these young women, some of whom had never met earlier, discovered a heap of topics to discuss, ranging from the eternal discussions on children to spiritualism, music, world cuisines, great wines and fashion. (Overheard: “I love my Louboutins but Prada shoes are just so comfortable for Indian feet!”)

Under the nimble fingers of Chef Yuan Zhonh Jia, the restaurant wove a magical spell through a pairing of Chinese cuisine featuring signature dishes with the highly rated wines from Feudi San Grigorio winery at a special sit-down dining experience. This winery was awarded Winery of the Year 2012 by Oscar del Vino. Part of ITC Hotel’s Responsible Luxury Degustation, the meal showcased an exclusive gourmet experience with flavours from China paired with fine wines from Italy made from indigenous grape varieties.

The Falangina del Sanio 2012 with its delicate floral scents served as the perfect welcome drink. The Greco di Tufo 2012 with complex mineral mouth-filling flavours, was paired perfectly with the piquant chicken sangxi style. A very special treat was the Taurasi 2008. The full bodied, spicy robust flavours of this red wine, is famous from the Campania region of Southern Italy. Its rich and smooth texture complemented well the spiced prawns and the flaming grouper made especially by Chef Jia. The wines were perfect with the vegetarian selection of assorted vegetables with coriander and onion Guiyang style and sautéed sweet water chestnuts and baby corn with fresh chilli, amongst other dishes. Sonal Holland, ITC Hotels’ own Wine Master and Emanuela Supino from Feudi di San Grigorio shared their passion about the wines and the pairings leaving the guests enthralled and enthused.

The guests are a stylish lot. Urja Shah, president of SETCO Foundation, set up to execute the Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives of the SETCO group of companies. Shivani Patil, wife of Vijay Patil, pro-chancellor, Padmashree Dr D Y Patil University and president, Padmashree Dr D Y Patil Sports Academy, helps him in his work at the institutions. Smriti Mittal, financial consultant at the family-owned Mittal Builders. Shailaja Patil, wife of Jayant Patil, Cabinet Minister of Rural Development in the state of Maharashtra, who has also penned a book on Shri Sathya Sai Baba. Priyanshi Mehta, who after completing her higher education in Milan and Florence in Luxury Accessories, started working on Rossoyuki, an accessory line that is poised to hit the market soon. Poonam Talwar, director of Nitco Tiles. Lata Patel who founded IOS Relocations, the company that provides administration and co-ordinating of all aspects of relocation on a personalised basis. Former model, Tanaaz Doshi is the vivacious wife of Chirag Doshi, managing director of Walchandnagar Industries.

Joining the ladies was general manager Kuldeep Bhartee, the hotel’s young PR executive Anandita De, Sandra Bhabha of Berkmann Wine Cellars India Pvt Ltd and Verve’s Arti Sarin and Shirin Mehta. The conversations flowed on as the only gentleman at the table, Bhartee, regaled with stories of amazing meals, Shailaja Patil sportingly sang a melodious song to mark the on-going Navratri festival and good food and wine left everyone pleasantly happy.

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