Tag Archives: Portuguese

Lucio: Celebrating the flavours of Goa

The Goan in me is perpetually craving authentic Goan food, even when I am in Goa or perhaps more so as chances of getting home style food there are stronger.

Lucio at Radisson Blu Resort, Cavelossim South Goa proved to be the perfect choice. The Goan cuisine Master chef Peter Araujo was in command and the menu there, read like a dream for me.

Soups, Starters, Goan curries, Rice, Breads, Desserts- the menu offered them all. And yes, there were vegetarian options too.

The decor is chic and contemporary and the lay out  with wooden tables and chair, neat. The natural light filtering in, gives it a warm vibe.

20170327_194906

My spinach and potato soup was replete with subtle flavours. The texture was sufficiently creamy. The prawns rissois, were delectable- creamy prawns in a white sauce, generously filled in a karanji -shaped choux pastry case and deep fried. Of course the menu had abundant choices- crispy fried prawns, calamari, croquettes and more.

Cashew xacuti, red rice, mutton sukhem and Goan fish curry along with sannas and prawns kismur was what we opted for.

The fish curry was tangy and subtly spiced, just the way I like it. The freshly ground coconut paste, was adeptly blended into the curry, so as to give a hint of the flavour, without revealing the crunchy texture. It paired well with the red rice and made me nostalgic. This was truly home cooked food.

The cashew xacuti was unique. Spicy but not overpowered with masala. The coconut here too was well-meshed with the gravy. The kismur struck me as unusual- the melange of textures and flavours was perfect.

Chef Peter obviously displayed his skills and mastery even in the simple home-style meal he served us. In fact that to my mind is a tough task and he succeeded with flying colours.

What can I say about the mutton sukhem? the pieces of mutton were succulent and the masala wrapped over it, just perfect- no overdose of gram masala or chillies. Tantalizing the taste buds but not drowning the flavours in the spices.

Vegetarians need no fret- foogath, varan, rissois, mushroom xacuti are all available for one to gorge on.

The simplicity of the meal was what blew me off completely. The spices used were of the best quality, the cooking methods authentic and the resultant dishes, just the way Portuguese and Goan families would eat.

No meal in Goa is complete without the customary date and black jaggery pancakes- Alle Belle. This was exceptionally well-made and the filling simply melt-in-the-mouth.

20170327_205348

The staff is pleasant and willing to assist and the dishes, flawless. Along with Chef Peter, Chef Leon deserves a mention for his extraordinary communication skills apart from being a great and knowledgeable chef. Brajendra the Asst. F&B Manager was exceedingly hospitable and helpful

20170327_210909

I stepped out with a smile on my face after having relished a traditional Goan meal sans frills or modern twists.

Advertisements

Of Teas and Treats

I felt like royalty on Friday evening last, as I sat at the Atrium Lounge at Taj Lands End Bandra, Mumbai sipping an aromatic  cup of Kenilworth Estates Midgrown and bit into a dainty chorizo sandwich and a creamy fruit tart.

Making Afternoon Tea a highly fashionable beverage, Portuguese Princess Catherine de Braganza brought the royal court’s favourite drink to Mumbai in myriad flavors and aromas. And Taj Lands End is celebrating that.

IMG_20160506_160609

Delving into the rich cultural traditions of the Western suburb of Bandra, replete with historical anecdotes, the Atrium Lounge at Taj Lands End recreates the family ritual of a rendezvous over a cup of tea.

Atrium Lounge_Hi Tea_07

Chef Namit guided us to the buffet spread of the Hi Tea. Dainty sandwiches, freshly baked scones, Bebinca, the quintessential Portuguese dessert, Lamb croquette, custard tarts,  Bolo-d-arro – Rice and coconut muffin, Queijo Fresco – cream cheese tartlets, Chicken Cafreal Buns, Bifanas and a lot more,  were aesthetically laid out on the table. Oh! what a treat for the eyes and palate this was.

Atrium Lounge_Hi Tea_04

I was glad that some Hotel in the city had taken the initiative to revive the fashionable afternoon tea. After all, from where I come, Kolkata, sipping tea in Bone china tea ware at 4 pm is indeed a way of life. To relax, enjoy your cuppa and chat, is a luxury, this fast-paced city of Mumbai is devoid of, but something we all need to indulge in, sometimes, if not daily.

Anirudhya Roy, Executive Chef, Taj Lands End said, “The most quintessential of customs observed by Bandraites have been acquired by the Portugal and European traditions. Inspired by the ceremonious means of enjoying a good time with family and friends, we have introduced a lavish menu of teas and delectable treats to make afternoons a memorable time of the day. ”

IMG_20160506_161943

An array of well brewed teas were on offer, apart from the delectable finger food and desserts, all faithfully representing Bandra and its rich heritage. The service was as always, impeccable and I loved the fact that interesting stories and bits of relatively unknown information was being shared, as we sat back and enjoyed our Hi Tea.

What elevated the tea experience further was Taj Lands End’s  association with Kulture Shop which showcased iconic pieces of art, at Atrium Lounge. Art and Afternoon Tea? I was actually transported to another era.

Affordably priced, given the variety and quality of food and teas on offer, this Bandra Hi Tea at Atrium Lounge is worth giving up your work for.

 

 

 

A slice of Goa: The Bayview, Marine Plaza Hotel

Goan food is always a great temptation. What with the myriad flavours and array of dishes to choose from? Chef Vasco Silveira’s Goan Food festival at Bayview Restaurant in Hotel Marine Plaza took me by surprise. The food was traditionally Goan, but with a twist, that’s because of the chef’s Portuguese- Angola influence.

With five menus that rotate over the 10 day festival starting July 10, you will definitely not sample the same thing twice unless you make a conscious effort to do so.The usual spread consists of soups, starters, mains and desserts with ample vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

Over a chat with Chef Vasco, we tried the chicken soup. The soup was a mildly tempered broth with pieces of chicken, veggies and noodles tossed in. It was flavourful, but not exceptional. Did not tantalize my taste buds enough.

image008

For starters we had spiced pan fried chicken, squids with pesto sauce, stuffed mushrooms and veg-croquettes. The batter coated deep-fried Mushrooms stuffed with herbs and cheese and the chicken starters were delicious. In fact the mushrooms got my vote instantly. Melt in the mouth, these were a class apart. The squids tossed in garlic butter and served on Pesto sauce, too were palate pleasing. The chicken had an interesting marinade.

The main course was laden with Fish—. Prawn Vindaloo, Lamb Stew and Chicken Curry. Rajma Xacuti, Mushroom Chilli fry, Channa Pulao, Potato Loaded! And these were just a few of the sumptuous buffet spread.

FISH ESCABECH

Of the main course, The Lamb Stew and the Fish Escabech stood apart. The lamb was tender and succulent. We were told the lamb is cooked in red wine. Certainly aromatic. The stew with generous amounts of potatoes, was light and comforting. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

The fish, placed on a bed of caramelised onions and juliennes of bell pepper, was lightly tossed in some Goan herbs.  The Potato Loaded, was true to its name. King sized potatoes were halved and the centre scooped to from a large cup which was loaded with veggies in white sauce. These dishes were more continental than, Goan, actually.

The Vindaloo was a coarsely ground paste of Chillies. It was rustic and fiery. The chilli overpowered all the other spices and the vinegar. The Chicken curry was pleasant, as was the Mushroom Chilli Fry and Rajma Xacuti.

For desserts there was the traditional Bebinca, a layered pudding and the Bolo Sans Rival (A cake without rival) a layered cake of French origin. The chef informed us that traditionally Almonds were used, but he chose Cashew as they are not only sweet but also easily available in Goa. Both the desserts were perfect in their texture and sweet content. I could live on those 365 days with guilty pleasure.

Overall, Chef Vasco’s spread was elaborate and quite interesting.  Given his vast experience of running a restaurant in Goa, he is obviously adept at his culinary creations.

With most of his dishes being under-spiced and with somewhat less salt it seemed that he caters largely to the uninitiated Goans and Europeans, as the traditional dishes lacked the authenticity and the punch of the land. Perhaps intentionally.

And most of all, the traditional Goan Fish Curry and the rustic brown rice was definitely missing from the menu. It was like searching for the Goan in Goa!

But nevertheless, it was a pleasant experience with Konkani music et al, which I would willingly repeat, if only for chef’s innovative streak. Viva Goa!