Restaurants Reviews

Sunday Carvery at Royal Haathi Mahal, Cavelossim, South Goa

Goa is about sun, sea, food and  fun. Several trips made  over the years have made the cultural and historical sights and sounds of Goa so familiar that we no longer feel the need to do the touristy thing and visit those places again, wonderful as they are.( Old Goa, Tambdi Surla, Fort Tiracol, Divar) .

We do what every one else does....relax and think about the next meal.

Finding a good meal in Goa isn't as easy as it sounds. Beach shacks serve up a pretty standard menu and after a couple of days one starts getting nitpicky about the size of the prawns  in the curry rice. While its necessary to taste the local food when on holiday, two weeks of any one cuisine can get a trifle boring.And  in these days of choice it is not necessary to exclude all other options as chefs in Goa get better and better at producing other cuisines--Italian, Mexican, Burmese, French ..besides Indian regional food be it Kashmiri or Bengali, its all available in Goa. 


One of the best dinners we had was on a Sunday at Attwoods Bar in Haathi Mahal, close to Cavelossim Beach. Good old British Pub food but then a mite better than you get in Blighty.IMG_5362

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Roast chicken , beef and pork, all perfectly cooked, accompanied by roast potatoes, carrots,  cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings.

 

IMG_5360The ingredients are sourced and their cooking supervised by Jeremy Westcott, who once ran pubs and hotels in Somerset. As a result you get custard of a perfect consistency, Yorkshire pud, crisp but not dry, and sauces the likes of which I haven't tasted outside of the British Isles.

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The apple pies are made in a light and crumbly pastry not the stodge one is generally served . Jeremy also makes the outstanding sausages on site at the Haathi Mahal . His genial  presence is a big plus to the otherwise fairly sleepy resort and he has crafted a menu to remember. 

IMG_5354Attwoods bar is a bit of a throwback, in style and decor, to the ubiquitous corner pub in every British town. Its low ceilings with exposed timber, beer barrels and dart board all add to the theme. The name of the bar is a touching tribute to a former manager of the resort by the owner and, except for the large portrait of the India hating, racist Winston Churchill which is quite  inappropriate here, manages to be a cosy place.

The Carvery is a right royal feast , with unlimited portions of everything on offer and highly recommended to those craving a change from red chillies and rice. 

 Every Sunday  from 7.30 pm . An amazing Rs 750 per person inclusive of taxes.

 

At Haathi Mahal.

Cavelossim, Mobor, Salcette, Goa 403731

Phone:0832 672 5300
 
 

Brooklyn Shuffle - Restaurants In Pune

Situated in the up market Koregaon Park area, Brooklyn Shuffle Diner is fortunate in its location. It is part of the lovely “Sanskruti” complex on the seventh lane, set amongst three old style bungalows and a large and pretty garden. The restaurant is welcoming and attractive. A large parking lot adds to the appeal considering the space crunch in Pune and the ever looming threat of “traffic police” trawling quiet roads, ready to haul off your car, never to be seen again.

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The décor is eclectic. Red and blue rexine covered sofas and black and white checkerboard tiled floors, reminiscent of a 50’s American diner, is mixed with white brick walls decorated with baseball bats and mitts and a large picture of Billie Holliday. A cheerful outdoor seating area comprising of what looks like a reading room is interspersed with details like a vintage Leica camera and other references to the era.

It is all very hipster and smart yet comfortable and pleasant at the same time. The clientele seems to match. A modelling photo shoot is in progress as we seat ourselves in the large, high ceilinged room overlooking the gardens.

The menu

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Burgers, Subs and sandwiches are the main attraction on the menu. Grilled corn, potato wedges, Spanish omelette, chicken nuggets and fish fingers, those olde familiar favourites form the opening section. Some interesting Burgers listed are with combinations such as mushroom and brown rice, paneer and oats , a Moroccan chicken burger and a lamb burger marinated in cumin and spice and served with feta cheese and yogurt. Among the subs the Vietnamese Banh Mi style chicken sub and the Prawns Po’ Boy sub sounds mouthwatering with deep fried maize battered prawns in a remoulade sauce nestled in a soft roll.

The sandwiches

The sandwich menu has 11 classic choices. Vegetarians can choose from Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich, the Roast Pepper and Bocconcini , the Three Cheese Toast or the Veg Brooklyn Club . Non vegetarians have a larger choice- familiars like Roast beef, Egg and chicken, Turkey, Ham and Cheese amongst others.

My companions, all the way from Brooklyn, New York, U.S. of A have been here before and order their favourites, the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and Ham and Cheese. I go for the Veg Brooklyn Club . Our orders come charmingly arranged on individual wooden, painted trays, with French fries in a metal bucket, onion rings and a tossed salad on the side. The sandwiches are generously sized and we have to manouevre them into our mouths. The filling for the Club is a mixed vegetable mash made of carrots, potatoes, peas and garbanzo beans in the first layer and cucumber, onion and tomato slices in the second layer. It reminds me a bit of a cutlet filling with green chutney spread on the toasted bread. The Ham and Cheese has back bacon and a slice of cheese and is a bit dry. “It would benefit from a dash of sauce” says my fellow diner. The Pulled Pork sandwich is polished off and pronounced “good” with the caramelized onions, but “just a trifle soggy”.
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The onion rings are perfectly crisp in the Panko batter and juicy inside, the French fries outstanding and while the menu states that each order is served with coleslaw, we get a tossed salad with a few leaves of iceberg lettuce and sliced black olives and a balsamic vinegar dressing. Nothing to write home about.

Signature /vegetarian:

We are told that the most popular sandwich on the menu is the Roast Beef served with mayo and French mustard.

Provenance:

The bread is freshly baked in house, every day. Whole wheat and white for buns, rolls and sandwiches. All the other ingredients are locally procured including the cheese, ham and bacon.

Drinks:

The watermelon juice I ordered was a little thin and watery. I would have preferred a thicker more textured drink but there are not many to choose from. The menu could do with some smoothies besides the ubiquitous tea and coffee.

Insider tip:

Try the baked cheesecake for dessert. It is “Just as good as ‘Juniors’   in Brooklyn”, says my friend, who adds fervently, at the end of the meal, “If I had to take people out for lunch I would bring them here!”

Address:

390 Sanskruti Lifestyle Complex, Opposite Post 91, Lane 7, Koregaon Park, Pune 411001.Tel : 8657419724

Timings:

11.30 am- 11.30 pm

Prices:

Sandwiches between Rs 180-280. Meal for two Rs 1000

Ratings

Quality: 8

Choice: 5

Provenance: 7

Atmosphere: 9

Value: 8

Originally published in BBC Good Food, India


The Flour Works- or does it ?

 After finding a new restaurant that we intended to check out today closed, a friend and I ambled along to Kalyani Nagar to look at a much reviewed place The Flour Works.

Since there were no signs to help us find it, and without an address, we drove up and down several tree lined lanes finally stumbling upon it close to the Joggers park. With a large red and gold signboard it looked, from the outside, like a chinese noodle factory.

Inside was cool and inviting with a high ceiling, if a bit messy in style.In fact it had no style at all. Strange white lace patterned curtains with tie backs. A forest of different wood tones. Teak chairs, dark wood panelling and  pine tables. The decor was, in short, indifferent. The tables were set with maroon runners and the glassware was grubby.

It took some time for a waiter to present himself at our table . The menu seemed to consist of mostly breakfast and brunch items, eggs, porridge, waffles and sandwiches. Since it was lunchtime we thought we would take the waiters suggestion and order  from the Mains .

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We ordered a cooling drink each as it was a hot day. Mine was a watermelon, mint and cranberry juice attractively named Frosted and my friend chose another, equally delightfully named,Snow Lemonade.

Fifteen minutes later the lemonade arrived and after an interval of another five minutes the watermelon juice was presented.I liked the waternelon juice which was cool and fresh, with the cranberry giving it a bit of a tang.

We then waited a further 25 minutes for our main course to turn up.

First came the chicken and bean chili topped with grated cheese accompanied by slices of garlic bread. After a break of another ten minutes came the pan fried Basa with a lemon caper sauce along with a cauliflower puree and green beans.

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Neither was plated very appetisingly. The fish was underdone and not very fresh though the sauce was piquant. The beans were raw and too mature and woody.The one saving grace was the cauliflower puree which was fluffy and flavourful. 

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The chicken bean chili was tasty and hot though nothing special.

Quantities were painfully small. This main course is meant to be fattened with a salad, an appetizer and a dessert. Do NOT expect to share it amongst two people.

The service was tired and unenthusiastic and we seemed to be eating in relay, first one then the next.

All said and done a disappointing meal and overpriced too...a cold drink and a main course came to Rs 1100 for two people.

Perhaps The Flour Works would be more rewarding to those who stick to its breakfast and sandwich menu ?