The city of Ahmedabad in the chilly months of winter is a kaleidoscope of multicultural activities. Our appetite for the visual and the performing arts is well known, be it the classical or light music festivals, art events, literary events, dance and drama, sufi and qawali gatherings, cosy soirees and what not.

This winter too Ahmedabad lived it up in great style! Enthralling dance shows entertained us, the country’s top musicians serenaded us, the literary giants of Gujarati language tickled our grey cells, bright canvases of artists vied for our attention, beautiful monuments across the city played host to a number of heritage aided concerts while sports events lured our people to prove their fitness mettle.

Sure! It feels special to be part of this Metropolis.

Despite being an “import” in this city, the warmth of its people and the cultural richness makes Ahmedabad very special. Trust me! The city just grows on you!

I have had the good fortune to be part of some very interesting happenings here this winter. This blog post and a few subsequent ones here after, I am dedicating to Ahmedabad and its lovely people. In the process if I ruffle some feathers with elaborate narratives it’s purely intentional and meant to spread cheer and share experiences in lighter vein.

Most media professionals like me are perennially in search of that super exclusive branding activity which will forever get etched in the target group’s mind-space. And Voila! I happily got etched a fortnight back. The memory is so intense that I can still remember every bit of that beautiful evening a good 380 hours ago!

The setting: A stunning Le Corbusier bungalow amidst beautifully landscaped gardens flanked by ancient trees, paddling geese’s in water bodies and heritage heirloom antique garden artefacts. A gorgeously put together Haveli in the backyard of the sprawling garden graciously rose like a phoenix almost like a Gujarati ornamental answer to the elegant French work of architecture. The spatial narrative of the two extreme works of art made it a perfect setting for an exclusive dinner with Nirav Modi, India’s very own answer to Cartier, Tiffany and Bvlgari of the world.

The Ambience: Sophisticated, subdued, soft, beautiful and elegant. Oozing with laughter and merry with friends old and new, the evening promised to be magical and stratospheric.

The Purpose: Nirav Modi brand acquaintance

The Approach: A molecular dining experience with the man himself and his top rung team of craftsmen and designers.

The Hosts: Our dearest friends – Manisha & Adarsh.

A quick flashback: When we got the invitation for the event my immediate question was what in the world is molecular dining? I had heard of molecular biology, molecular orbital theory in chemistry but molecular dining? Oooh! …how very archaic and ignorant I was about elite food habits. I made mental notes obviously to check with google and upgrade my knowledge bank. While I researched and learnt about Molecular Dining I realised that what a lovely master stroke for a super exclusive brand building event. Fetching eyeballs and increasing curiosity much before the event with just an e-invite! No other promos! Wah Wah!! Truly brilliant!!!

Well, let me get back to the super exclusive dining experience with the ooh la la crowd of very good looking people. Truly a gorgeous lot, I pitied the menfolk, there were too many pretty young women and yummy mummies… poor guys they were confused where to look. (No offense meant to anyone!!!).

There I got waylaid again. Coming back to the evening I can still re-live the serene feeling of being enclosed in the warmth of deep friendships of our motley group of cheerful and naughty bunch of friends, loads of laughter and abundance of sumptuously delicious food accompanied by lovely songs rendered by a young lady brought in all the way from Pune.

And the face of this absolutely fascinating and molecular dining experience was the diamond man himself, Nirav Modi. Yes…the one who designed the exclusive diamond ring for Soha Ali Khan this Valentine day… Yes, the same whose designs are exclusively auctioned at the Sotheby’s. What makes him stand out is his simplicity, humility, bounty and his patience to answer the same questions from eager admirers en number of times.

As the evening progressed, in the cocktail hour we were served Goat Cheese Gnocchi Beetroot & Balsamic Foam, Green Apple and Palm heart Wanton, Truffle Scented Edamame Cone, Asparagus & Cream Cheese Sushi, Wasabi Air( not to worry even I could not comprehend the food)…all of this served in very pretty fresh flower trays. In fact the food design was so pretty you would simply want to keep staring at it and cherish its beauty and natural essence rather than disturbing its arrangement and putting the cuisine in your mouth.

The sit down multi course dinner was altogether a divine experience. Sumptuous food, Wine and Champagne, aesthetically arranged tables replete with imported flower baskets, fragrant candles and crystal cutlery. The ambience seemed to not just tickle your taste buds but senses too. Indeed a magical dining! And as the food got ready to be served to all of us at one go Jeff- the Master Craftsman enlightened us about diamonds and all its intricate technicalities. From his talk of over 15/20 minutes all that I seem to recollect now are the 4 C’s of a Diamond – the Cut, Colour, Carat& Clarity. Frankly the rest I couldn’t comprehend for diamonds are not of any particular interest to me. My friend Manisha – please don’t see red, pardon me…I am but a simpleton!!!

Coming back to the most intoxicating part of the evening – the food design and display truly elevated to an art form! All kudos to the super talented team of chefs and food designers.

Let me share how the rest of the evening progressed, I was thoroughly fascinated by the array of the fare and the creativity of the presentation.

As we were seated it was time for Amuse-Bouche consisting of Beetroot Biscotti, Goat Cheese Mousse & Orange Fumes.

And then the soup – Cinnamon & Pumpkin Latte with Mascarphone Pops.

Followed by Salad consisting of Charred Cauliflower, Orange Jelly, Red Radish, Asparagus& Broche.

Then the Entree – Truffle Scented Wild Mushroom Walnut Tortelli & Parmeson Veloute.

It was then time for a Palate Cleanser – so it was Rasberry Sorbet.

And hold your breath – we still have the main course coming up: Sun Dried Tomato & Olive Risotto with Feta Pops.

And finally the Dessert: Deconstructed Red Velvet (with an edible flower – can you beat that!!!)

Oooooh!!! Truly unforgettable culinary experience where food was a medium of art and the plate a canvas.

For those still wondering about brand building, this fine dining and unique engaging setting was perceptibly a part of high end branding strategy. The strategy of meeting with an exclusive group to obliquely touch their thoughts on jewels, enhance their knowledge and innovatively capture their minds and mould them into lapping up labelled couture jewellery.

Perhaps it is one of the finer ways of brand building and yeah, it was just 1st in the series of a couple of more promotional campaigns in Ahmedabad.

There is a lot more coming from brand Nirav Modi, so watch out and gear up Ahmedabad!

Cheers & Chao!