Goa In The Rains Is Magical

Travel It Makes You Speechless…Then Turns You Into A Storyteller..

 

Goa in the rains is just magical. The color green takes on a brilliant  hue and turns the lush landscape into a plush carpet.Coconut palms swaying in the breeze and the emerald green contrast of the rice  fields is a breathtaking sight indeed.

The hubby’s  from Goa. Well lets say all his ancestor’s and family lived there once upon a time and now everyone’s moved away to all parts of the world. Hence he has a natural affinity to Goa. Now being based in Mumbai, it’s a short hour’s flight and very accescssable for a quick weekend getaway.

We travelled to  Goa in  April earlier this year,just before the dear son went off to London for summer school. It was a short break for all of us, with some R &R as the main objective of this trip which is why we choose to return to Alila Diwa as the hotel’s Idyllic and picturesque setting amongst its lush green landscaping and gorgeous aquamarine pools hit’s all the right boxes for a relaxed and chilled out get away.

 

The property is gorgeous indeed and the monsoon’s seem to weave their own magic and bring about every shade of green possible. Well lets say we are prepared as predicted it had been raining incessently with some golden sunny interludes of sunshine in between and we were quite happy to sit back and enjoy every bit of “Goa in the Rains”. Having travelled to Goa on numerous occasions doing the usual touristy spots is far from what we wanted to do. But yes good food is always something the family is happy to explore.As luck would have it the ever popular Martin’s Corner is a quick drive from our hotel and the hub’s announced earlier that lunch must begin there. So that’s where we headed right after arriving at the hotel.

As I mentioned the sole aim of this trip was R &R and not really getting too touristy. So will pen down some absolute must eats around this neighbourhood.

  1. Martin’s Corner:

The restaurant is abuzz with locals and tourists alike, indulging in a lazy Sunday afternoon luncheon.Seemed like the perfect ambience with music in the background, tables filled with laughter, chilled beer and aromas’s of some fabulous pork vindaloo and Sorpotel wafting through the air. We get seated and settle down with our drinks and order some fried prawns, Goan chilly sausages which is served with some wonderful fresh bread and a Goan fried fish called “Chonak” which is a red snapper variety of fish. I’m totally sold out on the flavours of this delicate fish. Oh yes and a side of a Veg Au Gratin to get our fix of veggie’s too.A very enjoyable meal and a great place for lunch or dinner. With our bellies quite satiated we decide to return back to the hotel.

2.Restaurants at Alila Diva Goa:

The hotel too has a great variety of dining options that offer a multitude of cuisine. The breakfast which consisted of a buffet would usually be served at Vivo which had an extensive fare of  international and local fare.The Spice Club serves up a gastronomical array of traditional Goan fare. Another great place to hang out in the evenings is the Edge Bar and Lounge that is located in the main hotel area over looking a gorgeous infinity pool and the back drop of paddy fields.

 

3. Ritz Classic: Mall De Goa

The next day we decided to drive out towards Panjim and checkout Mall De Goa which opened just a couple of years ago. We had not much of a shopping list as all the fresh produce was been reserved for a must visit to the fresh markets in Goa. However the attraction of the mall visit was the Ritz Classic that serves us a delicious Fish Thali at lunch times. While they do have a large A la carte menu as well, the most sought after order at lunch would be the Thali which consists of a various fish curries, fried fish, rice, and some vegetables as a side too. So while the hubs decided to devourer this I choose a Fried Chonak (local red snapper) sautéed in garlic and butter as my main course. I tell you, I’m totally sold out on this fish.

The Fish Thali at Ritz Classic


Fish Chonak (Red Snapper) in a butter garlic sauce:

 

4. Madgao Market: A must do whilst in Goa is a visit to the fresh markets that give you a bazaar kind of feel. Infact  the new markets are covered and have a vibrant display of fresh produce, cashew nuts, pulses and legumes, local spices and lots more. The fresh fish is located in a separate area and just outside the main market are various stores that have several varieties of Pork products, ranging form the local goan sausages,curry spices and pork chops and meat. I love exploring local markets where ever I travel.They are unique and have the best of foodstuff that represent the local cuisine. Needless to say we managed to get our hands on some great stuff to take back to Mumbai.

Goa in the rains is truly Magical….The lush landscape around our hotel proper at Alila Diwa

5. Fisherman’s Wharf: 

A colleague at work very much recommended this place and it’s been on my “Must eat list” for sometime now. As it would be it seemed a short 30 minute drive from our hotel and so I dragged the hubs into driving us on one lazy afternoon.Set on the banks of the river Sia in amid the lush surroundings of Cavelossim village, this place had a great vibe. A live band playing some great music,riverside seating that over looked the water and a great menu that had an assortment of Goan delicacies and International cuisine as well. We settled for a Mutton Shagoti ( meat cooked in coconut and spices ) and a Rawa fry King fish and some Cashew feni to wash that down.It turned out to be a gem of a location and I would very much recommend this place. They do have another location in Panjim as well.

 

6. Fishka: 

Our last day in Goa and a quick run across from our hotel property is a shack style  place called Fishka. Again this place came recommend by a foodie pal so decided to walk across and grab a quick bite before heading to the airport.

Goa has numerous shacks that double up as bars and restaurants and are almost at every nook and cranny of the this beach town. Now some of the popular ones are located on the beach and are a great hang out spot and are perfect for relaxation and good food. Fishka as we discover, is a no frills kind of place with a relaxed laid back ambience.The menu is quite extensive which includes Goan dishes, Indian Chinese and International cuisine as well. The place as we learn is run by Indian-Russian duo and seems like a popular jaunt as there are not too many eating places in the vicinity. Our meal consists of some classic Lamb chilly fry served with some Poi (local goan bread), an all time favourite Fish and chips and I settle for a vegetarian paneer chili fry. A great place for a quick bite.

Well this was our quick getaway to Goa in a nutshell. There is just so much to do and explore in Goa and condensing it into a single blog post is the difficult part. Well you may like to take a look at another post on Goa that I wrote up a couple of years ago: Goa:Spice farms, Food Markets & A Recipe:  wp.me/p2eASG-yq

I do hope I have enticed you enough to visit Goa. The rains are magical indeed and most hotel properties offer great deals from June- September. The peak time of-course is from  November- March with the Carnival and other festivities that make it an interesting time to visit. The gastronomy, beaches, culture and the laid back lifestyle are every reason to make this your next destination to visit.

Happy Travels and I hope you will visit Goa some day!

 

Mirchi and Mime: Good Food served Quietly

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Now once in  awhile comes along a great and heart warming concept that stirs the soul and you think “Hey it’s a wonderful World”.Most readers of my blog are fairly used to my regular recipe posts and the odd product review along with a some  travel and culinary write ups. I must admit I’m not much of a restaurant reviewer,until my dining experience at Mirchi & Mime located in Powai Mumbai,last evening.This place certainly deserves a mention.

Mirchi & Mime also know as M&M is a new fine dining and modern concept restaurant ,recently opened its doors in the neighborhood of Powai. This place has every ounce of success written on it. Kudos to the owners Prashant Issar and Anuj Shah  for taking a giant step in employing an entire team of hearing and speech impaired individuals as their wait staff. A great initiative indeed in creating employment to the differently abled. The restaurant has a lively, warm and comfortable bistro like ambience, with a slight French appeal to the interiors. The open kitchen plan boasts of a variety of Tawa,Tandoori and Sigri styles of cooking.The staff is profusely cheerful, attentive and enthusiastic. They have been hand-picked from the Rochiram T Thadani Institute for the handicapped and trained for the hospitality industry.

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We were seated by our host and handed over the menu card, which very clearly and simply indicates the use of various sign language and gestures to enable the guest to communicate with the staff. Further more there are various sketches on the menu against each dish to ease the process of ordering. This place is abuzz at 9pm on a Thursday night with a constant turn around of tables. These guys certainly have a pulse on what ticks on the Menu. I would say the magic mantra for this place is the Co owner Prashant’s impressive 20 year hospitality background as General Manager at Chutney Mary’s and Amaya and various other top positions with hotels in India coupled with the expertise of Senior Sous Chef Sameer Bhalekar who has trained and worked under the likes of Ferran Adria’s Tickets and Chef Vineet Bhatia’s Rasoi in the UK.

The menu is simple and not very exhaustive, yet captures the essence of Fine Indian Cuisine. Perhaps not entirely progressive Indian, but veering  towards Modern Indian, with a twist.

Our Meal was recommended by the owner Prashant (who happened to be a batch mate of my friend Neil George from catering days) was as follows:

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For a drink I settled for a refreshing Cucumber and Green Apple Vodka Martini which was brilliant.
 Appetizers:
• White pepper Chicken: Succulent and juicy boneless chicken marinated in the best and finest of Tellicherry pepper. Mild and delicious flavors.
• Chicken Lollipop: A riot of flavors in here. Not for the faint hearted as a tad bit spicy. Smoky and bbq and hot and tangy flavors. Marinated with Bhot Jholokia.
• Duck Seekh Kebab: Combinations of minced duck meat with finely diced peppers, mildly spiced and a lovely refreshing burst of flavors lent by the orange rind garnish.
Tandoori Quail: Delicious and tender as ever. Delicate smoky flavors.

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2. Main Course:
Madras Mutton Curry and Naan: Really tender and melt in the mouth mutton cooked with madras curry.
• Thalappakatti Mutton Biryani: Brilliant south Indian medley of flavors. Interesting use of curry leaves and mustard seeds. More like a lightly hand tossed biryani. Delicate and mild flavors.

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3. Dessert
Crème Brulee: This hit the right sweet spot with creamy and light texture custard. Had a fabulous topping of coconut (filling used for traditional Modaks)
Sitaphal Pannacotta: A Sublime flavor of sitaphal infused with cream makes this a light dessert. Best part was that it was sugar free.
• Desi Cheesecake: With a Nankhatai biscuit base. Interesting however a bit dense for my liking.

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I had an excellent dining experience at Mirchi & Mime. Zomato rates this restaurant at 4.9 and I couldn’t agree more. A must visit.A double thumbs up for Mirchi and Mime…Their philosophy of Good Food served quietly certainly lives up to their  standards. Interestingly the T-shirts worn by the wait staff read “I know sign language, what’s your super power” Well done and Bravo for this great venture.

  • Located at:Address: G-6 , Ground Floor , Transocean House, Lake Boulevard Road, Hiranandani business Park , Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076
  • Phone:022 4141 5151  (Reservations recommended)

Disclaimer: I visited Mirchi and Mime on a friends recommendation and went their with my family and friends.The dinner was paid by me and all views about this review are my own personal experience. Thank-you.