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CASA SARITA, PARK HYATT GOA

Casa Sarita is ideal for those of us who relish exploring native cuisine. Fortunately I didn't have to travel too far for an authentic Goan experience — with a modern presentation. Bravo to Sous Chef Edridge Vaz from Chorao — a picturesque island in Goa — for a splendid selection of Goan favourites' that will make the meal a memorable pleasure that bears repeating!!

 

Walking in, the interiors evoked imagery of a colonial house with mosaic flooring, chandeliers, windows embellished with mother-of-pearl shells and an interactive show kitchen decorated with an assortment of pickles and spices! To appreciate the breadth and scope of the styles of food comprising Casa Sarita's menus, I recommend you go with a group of friends and order appetisers and entrees you can share. I first perused the traditional menu, eyeing the local spiced pork sausages served in Goan bread and the silver pomfret cooked with coconut and dried red chilli gravy but finally requested the chef for recommendations; he suggested the new menu which is a modern interpretation of the traditional Goan cuisine, explaining, ''Goan cuisine is steeped in history. There is tradition attached to every dish. We didn't want to take away from that so what we offer on this menu is classic Goan flavour, presented with creativity.''

 

Pouring my friend and I a flute of Merlot, he sent out an appetiser served on beautiful spoons — 'Chicken jere mere, cabbage and fresh coconut salad'. Each 'spoonful' brought with it an explosion of flavour and texture; the cabbage and shredded coconut was refreshing to the palate, balancing against the spicy, seasoned chicken. It was the showcase of traditional Goan flavours with a modern touch and chic presentation — and gave us a new perspective on what Goan food can be! Up next was 'Rawa fried prawns, mango and chilli sauce'. It was pretty good. The tender meat was fresh-from-the-sea delicious with the spices textured with the mango—chili sauce. I can't emphasise the prawn's freshness enough! Time flew by as we indulged in another flute of wine and the live Retro music in the adjacent alfresco place and soon it was time for the entree — 'Lamb shank xacutti, Goan rice'. It was meticulously prepared and had a range of flavours and textures that demonstrated the chef's mastery of the art. I was expecting it to be very spicy but was glad it was tempered and yet so delicious. ''Every family has a different recipe for Xacutti. The dish has a spicy reputation because its a favourite with labourers who look forward to a bowl of spicy, wholesome meat and rice after a hard day's work’' he explained.

 

It was time for dessert and of the selections available, we had the wildly popular Alle Belle Parfait, semi dried coconut, jaggery sauce. It was another experience in itself — incredibly good! The rich, thick, solid jaggery was sweet and was the perfect complement to the coconut. After a meal like the one we had just finished — plus some fine wine — the previous barely perceptible utterance of joy turned into something more akin to a satisfied grin. Yes, it was that good! PS For those of you who are serious about good Goan cuisine, I highly recommend a visit to Casa Sarita. They'll be happy to serve you! Definitely something the team takes immense pride in doing! Bon Appetite! 

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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