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Critic's Review

Updated about 14hrs ago

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An Indo-Arabian dining experience

Arabian Nights … magic carpets, genie from bottles, stories we have imbibed with gusto. But here is another thought provoking aspect of the Arabian concept – the food. What did they eat, those people within that realm of fantasy. At the Living Room, the chefs have designed a menu that brings in those delights to your table. Sit down to take a culinary ride.

Décor

Although there are no traditional carpets, the low ‘lounge style’ seating adds to the ‘mystique’. Low glass tables tops, sofas to relax back on, lamps with spluttering candles through a burgundy glow at night around the place mirrored beaded curtains sashaying with a twinkle in the breeze. The crockery changes for lunch and dinner. White plates at lunch and brown plates for dinner add to its own effective décor to enhance ones mood. There is a ‘centered’ bar offers spirits of your choice. The outdoors have suspended umbrellas, to keep the sunlight at bay in the afternoons and to add a cozy feel at night. You can even opt for the air conditioned section. And adding to the warmth is the outdoor grill that crackles and spurts and adds to the charm.

Food

Lets begin with the mezze platter…you have a choice of Non Vegetarian and Vegetarian too. The vegetarian mezze is attractively priced at Rs 580/-. So what does one get in this combo? The Arabic Hummus. Arranged like a cake in a bowl and innovatively served with the local Goan poie. We do add the local touch’ explains Mr Rupesh Srivastava, General Manager of the place. Next on the combo is the Babaganouche. The roasted eggplant flavor has a decidedly smoky taste, a great offset to the hummus after taste. Then comes the falafel inspired chickpeas and herb crisp cake. The crisp is evident with every bite, the marinated olive and cheese accompaniment enticingly good. The salad … they have ventured further north to serve the Greek salad with olives and cheese. The Feta cheese entwines with the flavor of oregano and olive oil, and every portion large enough for 2. So where does the Indo fit into the picture? There is a section for those who love the North Indian spice. Dilwale chicken butter masala and Dal makhani are some of the popular ‘hot’ favorites. And then the fish … yes depending on the season the variety multiplies. Try the stuffed crab. No heavy sauces mask this preparation. So the spiced crabmeat is a delight. The Tandoori prawns…yes the grill has been spluttering all evening. The marinade with the pickled onion accompaniment and the mint chutney….they lie on a plate the heads intact…some people might even remark ‘don’t forget to choosofy them’. Other kebabs include the lahori chicken tikka and chicken kebabs marinated with cheese and cream.

Plus and Minus

One cannot fault these preparations. Although the menu is in some areas ‘multi-cuisine’, being in the tourist belt, the chef’s specialty - the mustard fish tikka and pesto mayonnaise is a ‘must have’. Off the menu but available on demand is the Lamb chops with a spicy BBQ sauce…..not a wholesome preparation but tasty to the bite. The desserts are limited, gulab jamun, ice creams - although in keeping with the Arabian cuisine- Fresh yoghurt, honey with mixed fruit and dry fruit. The platter has two bowls one with the yoghurt mix…it takes awhile to accept the taste, but spoon a blob of the accompanying ice-cream with it. A great combo! The accompanying dates and fig gives its own weight age to the theme. All in all…this is a place to unwind and relax. Open throughout the day…the emblem says it all, the ‘R’ niche within the ‘L’ signifies a cozy cocoon…the place is quiet, serene, service pleasant and as compare to other tourist places – value for money.

Critic reviews are anonymous and all bills are paid by TimesCity.

Updated this week

  • Food
  • 60% Complete (success)
  • Service
  • 60% Complete (success)
  • Decor
  • 60% Complete (success)

While Delhi Darbar at Panjim remains the main focus of Mughlai cuisine, the Nayyar brothers have expanded towards Miramar to ensure that even though the head office is packed to capacity every night, the same fare is available at a ‘unique styled Darbar hall’ where lofty ceilings and elegant rusts make you feel that the emperor might walk in any moment to sit on his throne.

Décor/Ambience

One does not need more than a quick glance to realize that the focus is on elegance. The pastel décor, the full length curtains, paper chandeliers suspended from a lofty ceiling its mellow lighting encompasses, the hanging chains moving gently with the air conditioning draft – a combination that give it a perfect ambience of regal comfort. The banques (sofas) are comfortable, the striped brown cross cloth across the beige table cloths reminiscent of the brocaded sashes of the Mogul emperors of yore. The single rose placed on the table makes one reflect….a remembrance of old portraits where the emperor would gently wave a rose near his nostrils….yes the place envelops and sets you in the mood. Open the menu and the graphics of the past…a small write up of the marble throne where the emperor would meet his ambassadors, it was time to indulge in the cuisine where exotic spices played an important role….Mughlai.

Food

Three fourths of the menu promotes favorites of the old Delhi Durbar…Murg malai tikka, mutton seekh kebab. But we were lucky. It was a weekday and the kitchen was not hard-pressed to churn out food. The chef delighted with a new specialty….chicken jeera kebab. The boneless breasts of chicken were marinated to perfection, soft and succulent and mixed with the Delhi Darbar preparation of cuchumber and pickled onions….a delight to the taste buds. Another great preparation is the Fish Amritsari.

Don’t imagine fried fingers of fish. On the platter are four big chunks of fish ….delicately marinated and tandoor’ied’. Don’t know if that word exists….but the flaky feel of the fish leaves one worried’ as to whether the meal should end on this note. However, emboldened we requested the chef to showcase more of his specialties. Ashwini Nayyar did confess that he had five sections in his kitchen taking it beyond just ‘Mughlai’ preparations. Chicken skewers BBQ style. One might be forgiven if we think of a satay….but the chicken is grilled and served on a skewer with a grilled cherry tomato with the chef’s own home preparation of BBQ sauce. Accompanied by Tzatsiki sauce (maid of strained yoghurt) and garnished with fried rice noodles, the combo is unique and tasty. We learned later that he had trained under the Executive chef of Leda and Malts and wines fame.

What does one order for the mains? Mutton Roganjosh, Onion kulcha- crisp to the bite, you can also order it as a snack. But if the family is with you, the kids would love the al dente Penne Alfredo.the pasta was cooked to perfection, the sauce creamy, and the vegetables crunchy. One might miss the pepper mill and the extra grated cheese on the side, but this sure is a great order to suit the local taste buds. There are sections like Goan (the rawa fried prawns make an excellent snack) and Chinese too.

Plus and Minus

Attached to a hotel, the Veranda do Mar, the restaurant is conceptualized as a multi cuisine, but they sure have some winners like the Mughlai and the European preparations. Parking is no issue here, the place is designed as a family styled restaurant and we are given to understand that the weekends are busy. While specialties are ‘on order’ the food takes about 20-25 minutes after ordering…..and while alcohol will shortly reach the bar, the ‘soft’ beverages are served in attractive gold rimmed glasses. With just a few months of being in operation, pick up take aways for TV dinners and home parties are popular for the people living in that area. The desserts are age old favorites- matka kulfi, gulab jamun…but the few flavors of Baskin Robbins especially the pineapple and papaya are a delight. This restaurant with the added facets of a good ambience is a mirrored extension of the Panjim restaurant, with a few specialties thrown in. Did not the durbars in days of yore work in that way where the ‘throne’ and special courtiers added value to the occasion? Check out for a royal treat.

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