At one point of time in my life, I had a terrible fetish for Sabudana Vada. I think the best one came from this station shop in Belapur, Navi Mumbai. There would be people flocking around that place, frying sabudana vada and ragda pattice all day long. It is also this terrible lure which made me jump at the chance to taste some at the Goan Food Festival at Durbari, Swissotel, where a series of great Goan delicacies are being served during lunch and dinner.
In the menu you can find a number of Maharashtrian and Goan delicacies – a combination of Portuguese and local flavours come together to form a unique blend. Over crunchy Sabudana Vadas, he speaks about the way Portuguese cooking techniques and dishes got incorporated into the food, along with popular names.
A huge platter of char-grilled chicken thighs comes smoking to our table, gently sizzling with a generous hit of butter. We are suitably charmed, and pick off the flesh from the bones with notable alacrity and reach for more. Some Rissois de Camarao (Fried Prawns and Flour Dumplings) are placed in front of us, plump with juicy prawns, with a light sheet of flour covering them.
The Vegetable Caladeen is a simple dish, redolent with coconut milk and best eaten with rice. I also see plates of Prawn Balchao and Fish Ambotick coming our way, but I am perversely waiting for the Xacuti, which is something I have a tiny soft corner for.
The Xacuti is fragrant and mildly spiced, despite its fiery appearance. Hints of chilli keep it from being too bland, and the meat is tender, served with some lovely, yeasty Pao, with soft, fluffy innards and a crunchy crust.
The Sausage Pulao is yet another hit, and although I miss the Chorizos from Goa in it, this is light and delish, and can become a filling meal for anyone on a rush.
left- crepe mums, right – bhaat
We finished with an assortment of desserts, but what stood out was the Bhaat, which was served with some rich, vanilla custard, and was a surprise hit with the table. The Goan Food Festival will be on till the 22nd of May, 2016, and you can avail these dishes at Durbari from their a-la-carte menu during lunch and dinner time (12.30-3 pm and 7.30-11 pm).
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to dine at Durbari.