Zanotta at Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon

There are a great many hotels, but I believe the thing that separates the good from the truly great ones are amazing staff and management.

From the minute I stepped into the beautiful Leela Kempinski in Gurgaon, I was overwhelmed by how helpful and cheerful the staff was, without being intrusive.

I was escorted to Zanotta, the Italian restaurant and almost immediately handed a yummy glass of bubbly. Before dinner I chatted away with my blogger friends and was introduced to some of the management.

We met the General Manager- Roger Wright, the Food & Beverage Head- Shisheer Manohar, and the Head of PR & Communications- Vinay Narang. The star of the evening was the new Executive Chef- Emmanuel Guemon. Over dinner we also met the popular Masterchef judge Kunal Kapoor. They were all so warm and friendly it seemed like we’d met before!

All together we must have been the most garrulous group around for miles. I had the pleasure of being seated beside Roger Wright and we chatted extensively about food, culture, religion, and names among other interesting things. Dinner was a five-course meal paired with some delicious wines. The wines, you will see, had a rather artistic impact on my photographs for the evening.

The first course was Pan seared scallops with a zucchini salsa, paired with Craggy Range, Chardonnay, New Zealand.

That was followed by a divine Sizillia seafood soup, paired with Albert Bichot Cote de Rhone, Chardonnay, France.

The third course was Mushroom ravioli, paired with Valpolicella “Classico” Allegrini, Corvini, Italy. This was my favourite dish of the night. Each delightful ravioli pocket was filled with mushroom, but they were all different textures- so for instance, one was filled with a mushroom paste and another with whole enoki-type mushrooms.

After this came the show-stopping berry sorbet palate cleanser. Just look at how stunning it is. I loved the presentation idea. It’s an ice hollow with a tea light inside.

The main course was Salmon with Arugula pesto, paired with Penfolds Rawson’s Retreat, Cabernet Shiraz, Australia.

The sweet finish was a Bitter chocolate semifreddo with candied orange peel and berry compote. The semifreddo was rich and smooth, and the fruit added lovely flavour.

After an extended dinner, where no one noticed how time flew, we were all rather happy with both the conversation and the food (and ahem, drinks).

The hotel is lovely, the food was great, but what I really took home was the experience of meeting some wonderful and fun people! I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

Here’s what some of the others had to say:

Sid- Chef at Large
Deeba- Passionate about baking
Ruchira- The Great Cookaroo
Himanshu- The White Ramekins
Rekha- My Tasty Curry
Sangeeta- Banaras ka khana
Parul- The Shirazine

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