Last week, Sheraton Hyderabad introduced its ‘Paired’ program to the city through an interesting blind tasting and masterclass session. The ‘Paired’ menu is one of the key initiatives under Sheraton 2020 that was announced a year ago and is being rolled out globally. The menu is tailor made for Sheraton’s lobby bar and cafe – Link. It features creative and captivating small plates that are served along with suggested wines and local craft beers. Of course, there is no such thing as ‘local craft beers’ in Hyderabad, so Sheraton is having to make do with imported brands like Leffe, Stella, Hoegaarden, and Corona. But fret not, the wine selection and the food will give you plenty of reasons for cheer.
Sheraton Hyderabad’s Executive Chef Kapil Dubey has crafted a finger food menu that takes inspiration from local, Indian flavours yet will appeal to Sheraton’s international guests. During the event, bloggers were offered a selection of eight hors d’oeuvre (four veg, and four non-veg) and five unlabelled wines and requested to pick their favourite drink for each of the dishes. The Smoked Ocean Salmon (Salmon, Yoghurt, Truffle Honey, and Choux Pastry) and Asian Spiced Lamb Meat Balls (Lamb mince tossed with Onion and Paprika) were absolutely amazing. The Salmon especially stood out for the amazing amalgamation of flavours – rich, velvety salmon blended with a hint of acidity with a sweet and savoury finish. This small dish certainly left a big impression. The Litchi ke Kebab was the most interesting appetizer among the vegetarian options. As you bite into the Kebab, the aggressive sweet taste of the Litchi gets gradually tempered by the Cottage Cheese and Nuts. While Stuffed Jalapenos (Deep Fried Jalapenos filled with Cheese) can be done in a myriad of different ways, I quite liked the simple preparation at Sheraton as it pays homage to one of the most popular snacks in the city – Mirchi Bhajji.
Each dish in the menu is paired with a beer and a wine. The wines offered are picked from Sheraton Selects – a catalogue of premium wines rated 85 points or higher by Wine Spectator magazine. Preetam Rai, Sheraton Hyderabad’s F&B Manager and the in-house expert on ‘Paired’, stressed that while the recommendations in the menu were designed to complement each dish, Sheraton encourages its patrons to explore the various food and drink options to discover their personal favourites. The wines offered to us were Jacobs Creek Chardonnay, La corte Refosco, Chandon Brut, Grover’s Zampa Cabernet Shiraz, and Grover’s Zampa Sauvignon Blanc. I’m a Cabernet Sauvignon person myself, but I surprised by how many of the dishes I enjoyed with the Sauvignon Blanc. It’s really a drink that pairs well with a diverse range of food – from the Litchi ke Kebab to the Garlicky Shrimp. This was my first experience of La corte Refosco, which is an Italian wine with a full-bodied, dark, fruity taste that I fell in love with it. The Refosco formed a dream team with the Salmons, although the Cabernet Shiraz also worked quite well with it.
Link’s ‘Paired’ menu pairs some fantastic finger food with an exquisite selection of wines. The finger food is priced reasonably with vegetarian options costing under Rs. 250 and non-veg dishes costing between Rs. 250 and Rs. 320. The beers on the menu are priced at Rs. 650 a pint, while the wines start at around a thousand bucks for a glass and go up to Rs. 2500. The Paired menu is available at Link Cafe every day between 7 AM and 11:30 PM.