When I was invited by Ethel Da Costa to spend two nights in luxury boutique hotel Sol de Goa designed by Tarun Tahiliani, with a brilliant view of River Sinquerim, I was thrilled. I now describe it as a "home away from home” with bespoke service, genuine warmth, discretion… and sumptuous food. Reminiscing of the stay, I do feel my review did not do the food at Sol Bar and Bistro justice.
Intimate and comfortable, it offers Goan specialities, regional cuisine and International favourites with a philosophy born out of Goa's tradition of welcoming guests from around the globe. After checking into the hotel, I headed to the bar and bistro for a late luncheon. The weather was beautiful and we chose a table by the poolside and perused the menu. Our mood was celebratory so luncheon began with a bottle of Piper Heidsick Champagne, accompanied by small plates of roasted mushroom bruschetta and crab cakes, and we raised a toast to our holiday. The lightly toasted bruschetta with its playful pile of roasted mushrooms was delicious while the crab cakes were thick, had a crisp outer crust, and made with a generous amount of delicious crabmeat. Bliss! Settling in to indulge in another flute of champagne, time flew by in the conversation and camaraderie, and soon we ordered the large plates.
We orchestrated our selections to get the most from the entrees so while my friends chose Steamed Snapper and Grilled Pork Chops, I ordered Goan Prawn Curry — and we relished it! My friend mentioned the snapper was "off the hook" fresh, light, moist with its natural flavour heightened by tamarind glaze; it was accompanied by sautéed greens and garlic potatoes. In my friend's words, 'The grilled pork chops are lean with thick, juicy meat'. Tempting indeed but the aroma of my traditional Goan dish taunted my hunger pangs and I quickly heaped a portion of the prawn curry onto steamed rice and took a bite…h hmmm. Te first bite is deceiving, giving you a savoury creamy taste that begins to slowly build up in temperature. It's a marvellous dish—highly recommended for flavour and quality! As evidence, I polished it off in no time! It was indeed Pearl Of The Orient, Rome Of The East as the menu described. Satiated, we chose to end the sumptuous luncheon which they had thoughtfully served on the pool deck at our request, with a flute of champagne. Dessert would have to wait.
Reflecting back on the overall culinary experience at Sol De Goa, be it the sumptuous luncheon on the first day or the bespoke pizza the following day, there's definitely a tradition here—to ensure guests have a memorable meal that's complemented by good service. If you don't receive this, let the folks at Sol know… they will do whatever must be done to meet your service expectations. They exceeded mine!
— JASMEEN DUGAL