The Spice Men strike again...with a little help from some Portuguese pearls

Insights Winery Focus

Jesse Banks-Hudson

At first glance the wines of Portugal and the spice of Indian cuisine might not seem like natural partners. That they should meet in a former Victorian Magistrates court one balmy July evening added to the intrigue of it all. I am writing, of course, about the Spice Struck event, hosted last month by statesman and proprietor of Café Spice Namasté, Cyrus Todiwala and his accomplice chef Tony Singh aka BBC Two’s ‘Incredible Spice Men.’ This particular event was further lifted by the arrival of Pedro Carmo, still grinning from Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph only the night before, with cases of fascinating treasures from the Douro.

Whilst London and much of the world has gone gin giddy, owner of Quinta de Cottas Pedro clearly has other ideas. As 65 guests made their way into the spice sanctuary that is Cryrus’ restaurant audible mutterings could be heard not of G&T’s... but of P&T’s! Our very own Sales Manager, Matt Harrison, who was on hand at the beginning of the night to act as flair cocktail maker, had Pedro’s simple but effective recipe down to a tee, which he has the pleasure of revealing with us all.


The Cottas White Porto Tonico recipe should be prepared as:

1/3 Cottas White Port

1/3 Tonic Water

Served with lots of ice, lemon and a leaf or two of peppermint.

Try it out for yourself!

Café Spice Namasté is an iconoclastic restaurant by anyone’s standards, setting itself as a trail blazing, new wave Indian restaurant in the heart of London and it was fitting that Pedro decided to serve an original, interesting and refreshing aperitif to accompany it. This set itself as an eyebrow raising challenge to some of the old school wine buffs in the room who, one might imagine, had only ever conceived of drinking Port with Stilton. To start dinner with a pallet cleansing, fragrant whilst refreshing aperitif like this offered a solution to quite an interesting Indian restaurant diner’s dilemma... what to drink with Indian food?

It provided a fitting opener to an evening of lively Indian delicacies, making the most of seasonal British produce and accompanied by an array of carefully selected wines from Pedro’s collection.  The highlight of the evening, as most in attendance would confess, was the pairing of Pedro’s Cottas Branco Reserva 2012 to accompany the baked chilli cheese and mustard scallop in puff pastry. The creamy, cheese sauce elevated the natural full body and buttery notes of the wine and worked wonderfully with the gorgeously sweet scallops.

We thank all those who were in attendance for a brilliantly supported evening of fun, laughter and great company. Pedro’s stay in London, however brief, was greatly appreciated by all and is hopefully the start of a lasting relationship with Café Spice Namasté.


We hope to have news of more exciting events like this one to share with you very soon.

Until then, happy cocktail making and’s P not G with your tonic from now on! Got it?

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