Dining in Goa is always a pleasure, as is visiting Goa. However, on my recent trip to my favourite State, I was in for an experience that took me by surprise. This hidden gem at Cidade de Goa, called the Alfama is a place I had never visited before and was mesmerized the moment I entered.
Designed around Lisbon’s bohemian old town, this charming place is romance and warmth personified. The lively ambience is infectious and transports you to another world altogether. The pristine white balconies, further enhance the charm.
The menu is essentially offers Portuguese Goan and Konkan food with a modern presentation and a degree of inventiveness.
I was fortunate to have a special menu curated for me by Executive Chef Sunit Sharma and his team.
The pineapple sansav and papad kismur started off our evening on a delicious note. A degustation experience was what we had embarked upon. The sansav teased my taste buds with its tangy and tart flavours while the papad kismur offered the right bite. The futi kadi proved to be the perfect way to stimulate my appetite and the fact that it contained no coconut milk made it even more lighter and refreshing.
What is a Goan or Portuguese meal without a macaroni soup? The first sip brought back a host of memories. It was comforting all the way.
The surmai recheado got my vote instantly both for its flavours and innovation. What does one even say about rawa fried prawns? Succulent and lip-smacking these were fried to perfection and the rawa crust was well-spiced.
The lobster balchao on tarts I thought was a good spin on the usual prawns balchao. Foddi with a banana and potato variation, were crispy and a snack I could never have enough of.
Each dish was distinct with authentic flavours oozing out of every bite. I devoured each one with pleasure, many of them making me take a trip down memory lane. Some of these were familiar and strongly reminiscent of what one is used to eating at home.
The chicken cafreal stuffed in the poee was delightful and paired well with the poee. The spice levels were just right and the flavours, balanced.
The meal was a surreal experience and what added to the memorable evening was the live music by the Cotta trio- father and his son and daughter, who were a melodious trio. They serenaded each guest on their tables with music of their choice.
The first Tuesday of every month is a Fado night. Alas! I wish I was in Goa on one such night to enjoy the music.
Enjoyment tonight, seemed a mild word to describe what I was experiencing.
The shrimp curry with Goan rice sadly paled in comparison to the the other offerings.
The dessert platter comprised bebinca, the tedious, layered dessert which is synonymous with Goa, alle belle the jaggery and coconut pancakes and Manganem or the payasam which is typically a Saraswat dessert. Each of these was well made and offered distinctive flavours and textures.
I marveled at the Chef’s ability to integrate local flavours and ingredients in a contemporary manner yet, giving us a true Goan/Portuguese experience.
Coupled with impeccable but unobtrusive service, this meal proved to be one that I will cherish for a long time.