As I leaned back in my chair, having just enjoyed a three course meal prepared by a Michelin starred chef and now sipping on a Chivas single malt whiskey, I thought to myself: No travel guide ever tells you about this side of Chennai. And then I felt a bit bad, because I think I wrote that travel guide on the city.
But it’s true. There are times when you have to pinch yourself and ask whether you are actually in Chennai right now. Last Friday was one of those times. We had been invited by the Hyatt Regency to come and enjoy whiskey and Italian food at Fococcia. The event was hosted by Chivas, the Scottish whiskey brand.
A Long Way From Loch Lomond
Fronting the event was a young Scottish chap called Alan. Fresh out of college in Scotland, he is now having the time of his life in India as the brand ambassador for Chivas, attending events like this one and teaching people how to enjoy whiskey. I think I was still working on the paint desk at the local hardware store at his age!
At the entrance to the restaurant, they had set up a display to show all the aromas that you can identify when you drink their aged single malt. Apparently there are 63 in total. I was surprised to find coal, peat and even marshmallow in there! I didn’t quite get how you can identify so many aromas, when I smelled the whiskey I could just smell, well, whiskey.
Delicious Whiskey Cocktails
The evening started with a delicious whiskey cocktail made from cinnamon syrup, brown sugar and orange peel. I must be honest, I’m not a whiskey drinker and the closest I think I’ve got to it is a JD and coke. However, this whiskey and cinnamon cocktail could change everything, and it almost did as I went back for seconds.
Whetting Your Appetite
The whiskey cocktail was paired with a melted brie cheese toast. Of course, this wasn’t your average cheese on toast. It was paired with micro salads, grilled pineapple and a fig caramelized hazelnut – not something you’d rustle up on a Sunday afternoon when you’re feeling peckish!
We then got to try a single malt whiskey. To many people, a single malt whiskey is the pinnacle of whiskeys. It’s the hardest produce because each year can produce different flavours and aromas. It’s also got quite a strong taste and even stronger ‘kick’ as I find out and nearly embarrassed myself in front of the other guests.
The single malt was served with a smoked salmon conchiglie (the seashell shaped pasta) in a whiskey essence and garnished with ginger and toasted seaweed.
The Main Course
The main course was certainly worth waiting for! Australian lamb loin in a mint chutney sauce. Paired with grilled vanilla potatoes and other vegetables. It was the perfect accompaniment to the 12 Chivas Regal blended whiskey. Far more mellow than the single malt, perhaps my lack of expertise in all things whiskey was showing, but I found it to be far more drinkable than the single malt.
The service was capped off with a lime and cinnamon poached pear tart. Naturally, Chivas whiskey made an appearance in this dish as well, this time as a Chivas banana caramel smoothie. The maple fig and prunes compote was so good I stole one from my wife’s plate when she wasn’t looking 🙂
How to Find Out About These Events
All in all, it was an excellent night for whiskey lovers and foodies alike. If you want to be notified when events like this are happening at the Hyatt Regency Chennai, follow their Facebook page. All news and announcements about their upcoming food festivals and special events are posted there.
HYATT REGENCY CHENNAI
365 Anna Salai, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600018, India
Tel: +91 44 61001234
Mob: +91 9176633310