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The Royal affair

The Royal affair
Highlights

It was a night of poetry, a full moon shining over the scorpion shaped Falaknuma Palace, that now under the aegis of Taj Group of Hotels has all the...

A toast to royalty, haute cuisine and fine spirits

It was a night of poetry, a full moon shining over the scorpion shaped Falaknuma Palace, that now under the aegis of Taj Group of Hotels has all the modern comforts and luxury coupled with the royal opulence of the Nizams of Hyderabad of the 19th century.

Duke of Argyll Torquhil Ian Campbell, who represents the royalty of Scotland, and is currently the brand ambassador of – Royal Salute Whisky from the house of Pernod Ricard hosted a curated sit-down dinner and invited guests to toast the limited-edition gift pack of Royal Salute inspired by the momentous Regent’s Banquet of 1817, at the Palace of the Nizam.

It was exactly 200-years ago that Prince George, known for his extravagance and love for food, who later became the King of England, hosted a grand banquet in honour of Grand Duke Nicolas of Russia at the Royal Pavilion. The menu boasted of over 100 dishes prepared by French celebrity chef Antonin Careme; the father of the high art of French cooking – what we know as Grande cuisine. Evidently, the menu he had designed for the Regent’s Banquet was impressive in scale and is now on display at Royal Pavilion, Brighton.

Duke of Argyll, who looked evidently pleased to be in Hyderabad to launch the special edition shared, “I have been the global ambassador for Royal Salute since 2007, but have been associated with the parent company Pernod Ricard for 21 years now (incidentally, we are drinking the Royal Salute 21 today, he smiles).

The brand has amazing heritage. It was launched in tribute of Queen Elizabeth II on the day of her coronation, is named after the traditional 21-gun-salute and aged for a minimum of 21 years. As we say Royal Salute begins where all other Whiskies end. According to me, it is the finest of the Scotch. To be here at the royal palace, celebrating food and the Royal Salute’s association with banquets and royalty, and wonderful luxury. That is something special.”

It was indeed one grand affair at Taj Falaknuma. A small select group of guests from the who's who of Hyderabad - a hot shot restaurateur couple, a socialite doctor duo, successful business man and his arty wife, top architect couple, famous designer, high flying theatre couple - all long time Hyderabadis, who have a taste for fine living and love for Hyderabadi heritage were invited.

Executive Chef, Sajesh Nair and team created three different versions of an elaborate 11-course menu; in short, they created over 100 dishes that boasted of fine French culinary techniques.

The Hors d’ oeuvre followed by a large selection of breads and a host of accompaniments to go with them, Elixirs (shots of fruity goodness) followed by Amuse Bouche, Soup, Salad, the truly French addition - Farineux, Sorbet, Main course, Desserts, and to top it all an interesting assortment of Choco delights during the Petits Fours. And of course, Royal Salute 21 that flowed freely around the table.

The long table; alas it wasn’t the legendary 100-seater but with enough old world elegance to suit the occasion in a room that boasted of elaborate chandeliers, heavy embroidered curtains, luxurious interiors, and staff, one each waiting over every chair at the table. It was like one has travelled back in time.

And, as guests gushed over the elaborate royal event, the Duke explained, “Scotch is all about sharing and being generous with spirits. What makes me happy is to see a glass of Royal Salute in people’s hands and giving them time to appreciate it. Since it is warm weather here, I prefer having my drink with a couple of ice cubes and some water. Back home, where its colder I have it neat.”

Today, as more and more Indians are visiting Scotland and touring the distilleries trying to understand Scotch, the royal ambassador for Royal Salute is happy. “Scotland is legendary for its hospitality. Where ever we have travelled in the world we have taken with us the Bagpipers and Whisky. Now, more and more people are coming to Scotland and showing eagerness to visit the distilleries and learning about the blends. I guess, we have done a good job at promoting.”

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