English sparkling wine and fine Indian food pairing

The versatility of Rothley Wine’s English sparkling wine has been proven yet again following a visit from the team at one of Leicester’s newest contemporary Indian fine dining restaurants, Lilu. Open for only 18 months or so now, Lilu has already built a bit of a cult following with people reportedly travelling from all corners of the country to come and sample their food. They’re currently Trip Advisoring as the third best restaurant in Leicester, so book in advance if you want a table!

Liz Robson of Rothley Wine and the Lilu team taking a tour of the vineyard
Anyway, they had heard that some great wines are being made in the area and so of course their passion for local ingredients meant they had to come and try it out for themselves. First they got the full tour, learning about the different varieties that are grown in the Kingfisher’s Pool Vineyard and seeing the 2015 vintage in production in the winery. They even got a sneaker taste of what is bubbling away in the tanks ready for 2016. And of course, they had the chance to make friends with the resident chickens. I think they all fell as in love with the place as I had, way back in June 2015 when I first visited.

Lilu were interested in how Rothley Wine’s sparkling offerings would pair up with their food and they had brought some tempting treats for us all to try it out. Not a bad evening’s work, I must admit! First they tasted the Sparkling Orion and the Spirit of Freedom to get a feel for the base flavours we had to work with. The feedback was universally positive – after a gratifying measure of surprise that English Sparkling could taste so good. The English Wine revolution continues (no thanks to Mr Osborne and his bewildering attack on the industry on Wednesday).

And the verdict was as follows:

  • Lamb seekh kebab – This delicious, earthly and delicately scented starter paired incredibly with the dryness and crisp minerality of the Sparkling Orion.

  • Lilu Special Murgh Tikka – The light tandoor char and subtle spicing of the chicken also went incredibly well with the Sparkling Orion. This was an absolutely masterful pairing of two incredible components. Now you know which wine to choose with your Indian starter dishes!

  • Chana Masala – A mild chickpea dish with an incredible natural sweetness from both the high quality chickpeas and the slow cooked tomato sauce which went admirably well with the light fruitness of the Spirit of Freedom – the non-rose drinker’s sparkling blush.

  • Paneer Masala – The most versatile of all the Indian ingredients (in my book), paneer is well known for going with everything and this dish was no exception. Spicy enough to work well with the Sparkling Orion, which brought out the subtlety of the spicing, but still with enough sweet notes in the sauce to complement the Spirit of Freedom, this is the Little Black Dress of the South Asian menu. It goes with everything.
A roaring success then, and let’s hope we see a special English Sparkling tasting menu at Lilu soon. In the meantime, if this post has got your mouth watering and you fancy getting your hands on a Lilu takeaway for free, why not enter my competition?

Win a LILU SPECIAL murgh tikka butter masala with a Red Leicester naan and onion bhajis to take away!
Competition closed: @boatingfuzzy wins!

One randomly selected winner will get the above takeaway meal from Lilu on Highcross Street. All you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post (Anonymous is fine if you don’t have a Google account) with the following information:

  • Tell me what is the name of Lilu’s Head Chef, Asian Chef of the Year in 2012? (Hint Hint)
  • For an extra entry follow me on Twitter and let me know your @username in the same comment.
  • For a second additional entry, follow Lilu on Twitter, and tell me your @username in your comment below.
  • If you haven’t given a Twitter handle, don’t forget to let me know how to contact you if you win!

Competition closes at midday on Sunday 3rd April 2016.
Valid entries must get the question correct and leave a method of contact – Twitter handle, email etc.
The prize will be provided by Lilu Fine Dining. Extreme Housewifery takes no responsibility for prize fulfillment.
Don’t enter if you can’t get to Lilu’s restaurant to collect your prize!
Winner will be picked at random from all valid entries using Random.org so it’s all fair.
In the name of the aforementioned fairness, employees of Lilu and Rothley Wine are not permitted to enter. And neither are me or The Boy. Boo! Damn my stringent sense of conscience.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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