-By Odette Mascarenhas
A Global experience
Elegant, simplistic yet making a fashion statement, these are some adjectives that could come to mind when you walk into the bar with its dining room attached. you have reached The Sol. Stark hues blend with pastels, the effect is mesmeric yet pleasant, this is a place where you would want to take a business group or some friends you would like to entertain, when the 'glitz' of star hotels begin to pall.
The uniqueness of this place is that one cannot get closer to rural Goa. Set in the Bhatiwado village of Nerul, the terraced restaurant overlooks green fields with a glimpse of the Nerul rivulet. From glass chandeliers suspended from the ceiling to miniature pictures of religious icons on the wall, the thick white candles in their stands could give it a medieval charm. But the ever practical beige linen cross cloths on dining tables brings one back o the present the Sol restaurant beckons its diners to sample its fare.
To get a 'feel' of the place one would recommend a small stint in the Bar. Comfy sofas, high stools to perch on, take your pick. A simple laminated card gives you a choice of their special cocktails besides a variety of spirits displayed there. Try the Coco Beach Iced Tea Innocent by name, potent by nature, it is everything but tea. Take the tea to a different dimension with a capital 'T'. The Barman's mix is absolutely 'Terrific'. There is a variety too, the Morjim Mohito- if you want to go Latino its rum and mint, The Mapusa Melon Bowl (Vanilla vodka and passion fruit nectar)...one can derive one aspect about these 'unique' concoctions. The focus is Goa and the Barman is passionate about his mixes.
This is a place where the food is prepared a la minute...so enjoy your drink as it is being prepared. The starters recommended are the sesame fried king Prawns and the Beer Battered Calamari. The crispy sesame prawns dipped in hot garlic sauce and the crunchy batter fried calamari with Tartare sauce might be old favorites, but Chef Rohit Nair has got his recipe right. Talking about 'Old favorites'- the 'monsoon' off season menu has preparations like Sandwiches Sol Club (chicken and bacon), Beej breakfast Bap (wholesome scrambled egg, bacon and cheese in our very own Goan wheat roll), but there is a section of mains too Goan/Indian and continental.
Although the continental section is limited off season choice, the chef has got his ingredients right. Try the Sol Spaghetti.simplistic. No heavy cream sauce. Spaghetti lightly tossed in olive oil with bacon and herbs, the preparation is a 'must order'. Besides its taste appeal, the preparation settles well in the midriff. The chicken and ham Milanese breasts of chicken stuffed with bacon lightly marinated with dustings of cheese and herbs before being cooked. Dust your senses with its after taste. Great feeling!
Plus and Minus
At present the place offers a limited 'off season' menu, but Chef Rohit promises a greater variety ahead. However the present preparations are tastefully prepared. There is a section for Goan and Indian food kept for the in house guests, and the place offers a great get away for locals on Thursday nights it's all about Jazz. The setting is perfect and the snaky preparations and mixes will create the right mood.
A positive mention is on a preparation of the past, made in grandmother's kitchens for breakfast - the Cinnamon crepes. Rohit has tweaked it with a honey, lemon yoghurt sauce. And if the crepes are anything to go by, the banana pancakes listed on the breakfast menu is worth a try.
On the minus front, at present a limited menu, but if you call in advance Rohit could cook up a preparation for you. The dessert - although the combo of the Goan drunk bananas is worth the order, the caramel base instead of being molten when mixed with the cashew nuts, bananas and ice cream had solidified, which perhaps spoiled the perfection of the preparation. And while on the positive note of being set in a rural village setting, the narrow turning road that leads to the place could be a deterrent for some.
Negatives a mere trifle the Sol restaurant packs a great experience with a new 'avatar' for Goa's jadedpalate.
crunchy fried king prawns, beer battered calamari, sol spaghetti, Crepe Cinnamon with honey, lemon yoghurt sauce.
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