While there is no dearth of food in the capital, the palete is always ready to experiment with more flavours, as we found in this luxury shack in the heart of Delhi.
Words & photographs: Ambica Gulati
Of course, we all know the Portugese signed the Instrument of Surrender on December 19, 1961, and with this ended 450 years of Portuguese rule in India. But by that time, the roots of Goa were deep in their culture. There are Portugese passport holders and descendants living in Goa even now. And with them, we experience another country, another cuisine. Bringing the flavours a little closer home is Lady Baga.
The ‘luxury hippie shack’ by well known restaurateur AD Singh offers delectable Goan cuisine and the month-long festival on Portugese cuisine is a delight as well. The choice is pretty large for a festival with reasonably priced dishes. A short research showed that the country is famous for seafood, meats, Madeira wine, and loves breads and cheese. The Portugese travelled far and wide and ruled many countries, so there was constant interchange of spices and other ideas. And the ‘Portugese Connection’ is an inevitable blend of all these influences.
Beginning with the snacky French garlic toasties, we bit into Cheese and Fig, Yellow Cheddar with Kale and Cherry Tomatoes. My vote goes for the cheese and fig which was certainly a different kind of dish for the Indian palate. The toasty was crisp, cheesy (of course) and the fig gave it a certain sweetness, enough to make it flavoursome. Then we went onto try Torradas de Camarao, which was prawn toast. This was another different one for me.
The main course was fullsome with Pork Sorpotel, Caldinha which was yellow coconut curry and boiled rice and Pilaf cooked in Goan spices and seasoned broth. However, the must mention was the Piri Piri Grilled Chicken with a spicy sauce. This dish has roots in Africa. The Portugese created it in their territory of Angola and Mozambique with the chilli known as piri piri. The spice was evident and actually one can enjoy this alone too. A little boiled rice helps to take away the punch though. The Pork Sorpotel is popular in the Konkan region and it’s the spicy vinegar sauce that makes it delectable. The Caldinha became the balancer for the other spicy dishes—the yellow coconut curry was light and creamy.
We downed all this with some Madeira Vida and hot Istanbul chai. I got some rum added to the chai, which became a flavourful hot toddy in this changing season. The meal ended with Serradura and Apple Crepe Suzette. While those familiar with Portugese cuisine might be looking for pros and cons, we came out satiated with the hospitality and the flavours. The Chef had prepared it well, the lively décor made it a happy lunch and the central location made it easy to drive back home without worrying about the distance.
On till November 8.
Venue: P- 3/90, Connaught Circus, New Delhi 110001
Telephone: +91 11 41500170, +91 8130656644
Timings: 12 pm-12:30 am (All-day dining)
Cost for the special menu: INR 1,500 for two plus taxes
Credit Cards: Accepted