By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar
Panaji: For starters, the taco comes with a truck, the dessert lands on the table in a bathtub and for the main course you can sponge grilled tiger prawns with what distinctly looks like a ras malai.
That’s food which can tickle your thoughts as well as your palette at ‘A Reverie’, one of the more well-known fine-dining restaurants in the tourism-oriented state, which in re-vamping its menu has tried to turn the formal concept of fine-dining on its head.
“We call it fun-dining. In Goa, no one would like to turn in wearing a jacket for dinner,” Virendra Sinh, who runs the restaurant, located on Holiday Street in Calangute, a stone’s throw from the beach sand that hundreds and thousands of tourists tramp every year, told IANS.
The restaurant has been a watering-hole for over a decade for the A-listers from Goa, as well as power-dressers from the Metros who drop by on a holiday and unwind, which is why the twists in the menu as well as the presentation make sense, says Sinh, who runs the place with his wife Aakritee, both of whom are former employees of the Taj group of hotels.
The couple take pride in their self-proclaimed ‘craziness’ and claim the crazy charm reflects in the menu, which does appear peculiarly whacky to the unacclimatised.
The restaurant’s tapas fare, for example, has a plate of India Taco, soft shell chapatis and beer-batter fried pakoras, served on your table with a toy lorry or Wasabi Prawns served in a brass diya or Teriyaki-styled chicken lollipops perched on a Zen garden tree.
The cocktails come with their own brand of eccentric singularity. The conventionally muddled mohito is served as a ‘Muddled & Muddled Mohito’ with passion fruit or strawberry variants served in a stone mortar complete with a pestle – should you need to muddle your drink more!
The Great Indian Mohito is a blend with fresh sugarcane juice, lime, mint and ginger with a liberal dash of Old Monk rum.
“These aren’t just clever twists. There is a natural synergy among the ingredients used. For example, sugarcane juice is the source ingredient for Old Monk rum. Both are organically Indian products which everyone has a connection with from the past, whether it’s the roadside ganne ka ras with lime and adrak (ginger) or the first sips of Old Monk and cola back in college,” Aakritee told IANS.
While it could be argued that the innovative but overdramatic packaging takes the attention off the real star on any dining table, the food, the main course, especially the ‘The Bengal Tiger’, does enough to rest a skeptic’s doubt.
Two oversized tiger prawns, marinated and grilled with traditional Bengali paanch phoran (five masalas), one served with mustard sauce and the other with purple spinach salad and creamed potatoes rest heavy on your palette. But the piece de resistance is the prawn dumplings in saffron cream served alongside, with an aroma which competes for divinity with the classic Bengali ras malai.
Asked how Bengali patrons would react to a ras malai touch to a prawn dumpling, Sinh nonchalantly said: “They’d be amused!”
And if the ras malai wasn’t enough, dessert at A Reverie comes in many forms; one of them is a Bath Tub, where a foamy terracotta tub serves as a dish which holds a banaoffie pie ice-cream sundae with a dash of rum.
And for those who want a cigar with their ‘tub bath’, there’s ‘A Coffee & a Smoke’ platter, which comes with an edible ash, deconstructed Irish coffee with whiskey, a hybrid of a tiramisu and serradura pudding and a shot of coffee liqueur.
* Dinner Only
* Meal for two (without alcohol): Rs.4,000
* Reservations Necessary
* Address: Holiday Street, Gauravaddo, Calangute, Goa 403515. Ph: 098231 74927