A 'Panjabi-Indian styled' experience
'Oye Bunty! Chal ho Jaa Shuru' – the traditional start as written in the menu, this is a concept of Savio Noronha of Route 66 and Tin tin fame. Managed by Mr Taranjeet Singh with his affable demeanor ably supported by Chef Karan, the spices add its own lively zest to a pleasant experience.
Within the limited confines..a dhaba effect has been created. Simple black glass topped tables on which (for dinner) copper mugs for water, stainless steel side plates, aprons (instead of napkins) draped on the chairs and miniature pickle bharni's for the accompaniments. The mirrored bar is slatted with seemingly gigantic glassware displayed (opt for the Patiala peg to be introduced soon), high wooden stools to perch on. Spools of thread and chappals are the only décor showcased in glass cabinets. It's simplistic, with waiters dressed in the traditional kurtas. Welcome to the 'Chandni chowk styled' ambience.
'Jab khana ho changaa why take panga'..a colorful menu with interesting wordings reflecting the theme. Order the Kala Khatta reminiscent of the school going days. The rock salt and lime flavors mingle with the crushed ice. Nibble on the complimentary bhindi kurkure, crisp and crunchy. Refreshing! Or go for the spirits..Sharaab, shaarab aur kebab. The tikkas..malai and murg soft and succulent! Cook–du-koo..the mains section. It's the 'crow' of the cock in the local dialect. There is plenty to crow about in this section - Butter chicken, from a local recipe (slightly coarse) tomato gravy in cashew nut paste. Have it with the sweetish Khaneeri roti...or order the Kadai gosht with aromatic spices, cream and fresh coriander leaves. For the vegetarians the Paneer Khurchan @ Rs 299/- or the Baingan ka bharta, they are great preparations to savor.
Plus and Minus
Sadde Naan Khaoge to aish korage..in fact every variety of bread that comes from the tandoor, the kulcha, roomali roti is served hot and crisp. Coming shortly in the same venue is the Chandni chowk express..a fast food styled concept where Kathi kebabs will be available from Rs 109 to 129 and a tawa paratha with chicken kheema for Rs 129/- till early morn. Kaleji and bheja will also be available...'yaar santa tussi choose karo.' Parking is plentiful in a small area opposite the busy road where the eatery is situated. In all the food taste and its delivery (utensils and price) harks back to a whiff of dining Chandni Chowk style.
Updated last week
A 'Wazwan Kashmirii/Mediterranean' experience
The Dar family-.Jennifer and Bilal have now added 'Wazwan Kashmiri' to their menu perhaps one of its kind in Goa. Their Mediterranean favorite's Israeli sautéed chicken, Slow cooked ½ duck (Middle Eastern) and Italian fish stew are still popular but now Masterchef (Vastawaza) Bilal prepares the Wazwan (elaborate feast) served in Kashmir on special occasions. You are sure to enjoy this ceremonial spread.
Open air with orange umbrellas and plenty of greenery. Right on the main road, the place has a refreshing ambience. Casual glass topped tables and bucket chairs with orange cushions; one can spend hours just relaxing in that setting.
40 percent of the preparations, the decorative design and explanation on the menu have its own appeal. Try the Kashmiri tea section – Doodh Kahwa, spiced milk with cardamom, cinnamon and almonds. The Vastawar uses authentic ingredients from Kashmir..Aniseed, dried ginger, shallots paste cooked in ghee, dried and powdered mint leaves and the Waar..chilies from Kashmir a mix that forms the base of most curries. For red curries like the roganjosh..dried and powdered cockscomb flower for the color. The Roganjosh has no oil floating on top (most preparations are made with ghee) and is different from the North Indian preparation we are used to - a must order. For starters – the ceremonial Tabakh Naaz, ribs cooked in spices and ghee. From the skin to fat to the lean meat..crisp, chewy, succulent its an unusual experience with subtle flavors..with a bite of a crunchy onion ring, the plate is polished. The chutney (chetin) section, three varieties all differently spiced..Dodh Al (pumpkin with yoghurt and spices), Daan – (walnut, yoghurt) and the sweeter Zirish – the berries spiced with red chili and tamarind, accompanies any food preparation. For mains order the Daniwal Korma (mutton in a yoghurt coriander gravy), mutton Rishta (pounded mutton balls in an aromatic saffron gravy). Have that with the Kashmiri pulao - great flavors.
Plus and Minus Cooking in yoghurt gravies, choice of chicken and beef roganjosh, and vegetarian too (Nadir kebeb made from lotus stem), the classical manner in which the meat and fish is pounded to make those succulent Gushtaba..its a plus all the way for this Vastawaza. The food is filling and heavy but the menu is well balanced. One should not be prejudiced into comparing the North Indian preparations with this style of cooking. It’s unique! The Kong Firin for dessert… not Phirni. This semolina (have it cold) pudding is flavored with rose water. Heavenly Bliss! To be pampered in the ceremonial way..just let Bilal's preparations have their say.