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Fine dining restro Sandys sure knows its way to food and cocktails

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Image source: bitequest.com

By Ankit Sinha

Gurgaon: The Delhi-NCR region is witnessing a rise in awareness about pairing cocktails and food, thanks to the advent of several European-style fine-dining restaurants opening there. One such restro-bar is Sandys Cocktails and Kitchen, which is making a buzz for all the right reasons.

With an intelligent and eclectic mix of tequila, vodka and whisky, along with hearty lamb, chicken and pork flavours, Sandys Cocktails and Kitchen have an array of tastes to offer.

However delicious a cocktail may be, its taste gets a dozen times better when paired with an ideal dish containing the right flavours. At an especially curated dinner table meet at the restro-bar, the guests were served exclusively crafted non-vegetarian and vegetarian menus which encompassed an array of lip-smacking yet elegantly flavoured dishes.

Imagine savouring a Vesper cocktail (inspired by the James Bond movie “Casino Royale”) enhancing the citric flavour of a Bratwurst, a German pork sausage, in cosy environs with wooden interiors inspired by Bavarian architecture and blues and jazz playing in the background.

But that’s not all. As the taste buds begin to tickle and yearn for more, the next dish, a chicken Caesar salad, which includes Romaine hearts, garlic melba with grilled chicken and bacon bits, comes along with its accompaniment, a cocktail named Last Tango in Modena.

The cocktail comprised bell pepper infused tequila, slit green chilly, passion fruit pure muddled with basil and shaken with orange juice and lime juice. Garnished with rose petal ice cube. The green leaves and the grilled chicken flavour went well with the passion fruit and chilly flavours in the cocktail.

After that were served the Hungarian Goulash, which included a hearty lamb soup, with carrots, potatoes and onions, seasoned with paprika and served with the interestingly named Smok’d Celery Bloody Bitch cocktail. The cocktail had an interesting combination of vodka and tomato juice and a combination of other spices, with Sandys’ own twist – adding spiced juice with smoked sea salt, lime and celery juice foam.

In the main course, the braised lamb shanks were cooked in its own juices and served with globe artichokes, green pea and truffle risotto, sauteed spinach and shallot confit and was served with the simplest cocktail of the evening, the old fashioned whisky cocktail.

Lastly, guests were served with the new age Tiramisu, which included mascarpone, Kahlua, Savioardi and served with Espresso Martini with Hazelnut Foam.

Sandeep Verma, the owner of Sandys Cocktails and Kitchen, said the vision behind the restro-bar was “an instant concept, as I always wanted to open a cosy homely place with a soul and character of its own”.

“I wanted to create a place with a soul and character rather than building it. I always wanted to incorporate five elements- earth, air, water, fire, ether, and wood as the sixth element should be the umami effect of Sandys hospitality ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’,” Verma told reporters.

Besides, Verma also has a bar school running at his establishment.

“The place was designed in a manner where we could conduct professional bartenders coaching during the day, from Monday to Friday. Weekends are for our guests and customers to learn their favourite recipe or learn more about whisky tastings or wine appreciations. We take pride in creating good cocktails and we love sharing recipes with our patrons,” he added.(IANS)

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Gourmet Grubs Squirm Onto American Plate

Culinary director, Jeremy Kittelson, says Linger is committed to changing the American palate. “As much as we love beef,” he says, “there’s no scientist who will tell you cattle farming is a sustainable practice. We should eat more insects."

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Andrew takes a tentative taste of baked, salted mealworm at Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch. VOA

A huge shipping container in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, is the home of some of the nation’s smallest livestock. Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch is Colorado’s first and only edible insect farm, and one of fewer than three dozen companies in the U.S. growing insects as human food or animal feed.

Wendy Lu McGill started her company in 2015, and today grows nearly 275 kilos of crickets and mealworms every month. “I want to be part of trying to figure out how to feed ourselves better as we have less land and water and a hotter planet and more people to feed,” she explains.

Wendy Lu McGill raises mealworms and crickets to sell to restaurants and food manufacturers.
Wendy Lu McGill raises mealworms and crickets to sell to restaurants and food manufacturers.

Feeding the world’s appetite for protein through beef and even chicken is unsustainable, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. Protein from bugs is more doable.

On the global menu

Edible insects are a great source of high quality protein and essential minerals such as calcium and iron. Edible grubs — insect larvae — offer all that, plus high quality fat, which is good for brain development.

Insects are part of the diet in many parts of the world. Analysts say the global edible insects market is poised to surpass $710 million by 2024, with some estimates as high as $1.2 billion. And while American consumers comprise a small percentage of that market today, there is growing demand for a variety of insect-infused products.

Thinking small

Amy Franklin is the founder of a non-profit called Farms for Orphans, which is working in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “What we do is farm bugs for food because in other countries where we work, they’re a really, really popular food,” she notes.

In Kinshasa’s markets, vendors sell platters of live wild-caught crickets plus big bowls of pulsating African Palm weevil larvae. These wild insects are only plentiful in certain seasons.

Farms for Orphans works with Congo Relief Mission, FAO in Kinshasa and the University of Kinshasa to set up small-scale palm weevil larvae farms to bring sustainable nutrition and economic empowerment to orphanages. (Courtesy: Farms for Orphans)
Farms for Orphans works with Congo Relief Mission, FAO in Kinshasa and the University of Kinshasa to set up small-scale palm weevil larvae farms to bring sustainable nutrition and economic empowerment to orphanages. (Courtesy: Farms for Orphans). VOA

Franklin’s group helps orphanages grow African Palm weevil larvae year round, in shipping containers. “Most of the orphanages don’t own any land. There really is no opportunity for them to grow a garden or to raise chickens. Insects are a protein source that they can grow in a very small space.”

Changing the American palate

It’s estimated that more than 2 billion people worldwide eat insects every day. And even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that consumption of crickets and mealworms is safe and that they are a natural protein source, many Americans, like Denver grandfather Terry Koelling, remain skeptical. As he and his grandchildren take a tour of Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, he admits, “I don’t think they are very appealing, as something to put in your mouth. You see them around dead things, and it just does not appeal to me to eat something that wild.”

Koelling gets adventurous at Linger, a Denver restaurant that has had an insect entree on its menu for three years.

Culinary director, Jeremy Kittelson, says Linger is committed to changing the American palate. “As much as we love beef,” he says, “there’s no scientist who will tell you cattle farming is a sustainable practice. We should eat more insects.”

Also Read: US Military Planes Deliver Aid to Venezuela-Colombia Border

And so Koelling takes a forkful of the Cricket Soba Noodle dish, with black ants, sesame seeds and crickets mixed in with green tea soba noodles, and garnished with Chapuline Crickets.

“The seasoning’s great!” he says with surprise, adding, “Seems to me there weren’t enough crickets in it!” (VOA)