Why, as I walked into the F Bar, I wondered, was Dom Perignon opening their first lounge in India in New Delhi and not Mumbai or Bangalore? Other cities to boast the format are Paris, Cannes, Sydney and Tokyo. Surely the cities of maximums or boiled beans were more worthy?

“Dom Perignon is one of the most desirable brands in the country," said Gaurav Bhatia, marketing director of Moet Hennessy India. “Delhi has played a big role in making this happen. So it is natural for Dom Perignon to unveil its first lounge in New Delhi."

Moet Hennesy is part of French conglomerate LVMH and owns the Dom Perignon brand, and Bhatia spoke to Mint Indulge via email.

Marketing rationale apart, the lounge is a substantial addition to the list of high net-worth destinations in the Capital. The lounge opened at the Ashok on 20 August “cheered on" I was told, by 100 well-wishers. Stewards inform that the lounge is open 24 hours a day—excellent news for those who seek to down their morning idli with a flute or two. But lounge lizards are expected to crawl out of the woodwork only after 11pm.

The decor is in black and silver and somehow goes well with Dom Perignon’s “Tribute to Andy Warhol" art collection that graces the walls.

THE INDULGENT

Exclusive Experience: The decor is in black and silver and goes well with Dom Perignon’s “Tribute to Andy Warhol art collection that graces the walls. Moet Hennessy

The appetizers were tasty.

The jumbo shrimps served with homemade salsa were excellent.

Also good was the smoked Atlantic salmon and cubed lamb. The bocconcini and roasted tomato skewers were unexceptional in concept and execution.

The Dom Perignon 2002 vintag echampagne was superb. Some reviewers have called it too dry.

Sparkling Services: The vintage 2002 champagne.

But isn’t just the champagne or salmon that smokes. The lounge has a separate smoking section. You can carry your drinks with you.

THE INADEQUATE

One is told that refined champagne bottles don’t pop when opened. But mine did.

There are only around 30 or so covers—this not being a hightraffic establishment of Gujarati thali porportions. Yet the seats were somewhat cramped. The music pupming over the dance floor kept changing from soft romantic numbers from the 1980s, to salsa numbers and occasionnaly transgressed into the latest Hindi film hip-shaker—a tad less Dom Perignon and more Dom Dom Diga Diga.

Sometimes, it was too loud to have a conversation.

TALKING PLASTIC

Each table at the Dom Perignon lounge is offered at R50,000, with a bottle of Dom Perignon vintage 2002.

This can be accompanied by two bottles of Belvedere luxury vodka or a bottle of Gelnmorangie single-malt whisky. Apetizers can be ordered from a select menu especially created for the lounge. These range between R750 for the field green salad with apples and pomegranate, to R1,950 for the chilled jumbo shrimps.

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