At first glance, DiVino‘s exterior looks out of place compared to the other restaurants that line up on Sector 29’s back road. What looks like exposed brick work is, well, not. But step into the place and you’ll get it. In terms of ambiance, DiVino has gone for a medieval English theme with the floors alluding to a “great hall” vibe. It may not be architecturally accurate but as a theme for a wine bar, it works ( Naina mentioned that it might be better not to have the architecture accurate because lowered arches would mean wine-happy patrons bumping their heads into the beams ). What caught my eye though were the array of helmets lined up on the walls. Anachronistic as the selection was (a roman centurion helm right next to a viking one? A Saxon round shield next to a knights templar version? What madness is this?) they were surprisingly well made. The story with the props would become clearer as the evening progressed.
After being seated at the first floor ( they have a terrace, which is currently closed, a ground floor and a basement – special nights for special music and dance performances – including live music ), we were presented with the cocktail menu. Each selection was essentially something out of Game Of Thrones. Had to be immediately Instagrammed! At this point, we were joined by our host Anshul whose firm Today’s Hospitality, consults for DiVino..
The chef started us off with a gazpacho amuse bouche, a blend of tomato, ginger and hot sauce ( or as Naina would describe it, “chilled tomato soup” ). This was followed by DiVino’s specialty, i.e., sangria. The classic sangria in particular stood out, a perfect blend of fruits and wine, aged just right to present a balanced flavor. We also sampled a blend with dried rose petals and cherry (too sweet for our taste) and an interesting one with orange bitters and rosemary, which I’d recommend to folks that favor strong citrus flavors. As far as sangrias go, the Classic is by far one of the more decent ones in Gurgaon.
The highlight of the evening though was the double baked cheese souffle ( Gruyere ). I must admit to a certain amount of trepidation when the waiter first presented us with it. I don’t particularly like souffles. Until last night. This was possibly the best souffle that I’ve ever had. Excellent consistency, soft crust and a sauce that compliments the Gruyere base perfectly.
We were then joined by Capt. Saurabh Mahajan who owns the restaurant. It is at this point that the story behind the props became clear. Saurabh owns Lord Of Battles, which provides props for major Hollywood studios. His work is featured in movies such as Gladiator, The Hobbit and of course, Game of Thrones. (So it was a Rohan horse lord helm I spied downstairs).
Then came a selection of meats and pasta. The penne with the spinach based sauce was the winner here. As far as meat goes, I would recommend the braised lamb chops. Though I hasten to add that lamb with a tomato based sauce might not be for everyone.
Dessert came shortly after. Of the cheese cake and apple crumble pie, I preferred the latter.
And just like that, we’d spent three hours! It was a lovely evening and one we hope to repeat. A big thank you to Anshul, Saurabh and the staff at DiVino for hosting us!
Words by Bharat Joshi ( email : [email protected] )