Sunday, May 18, 2008

Blow away the ‘ Blues ’

Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy belting out the blues, under the canopy of a badam tree with suspended globes to define the mood for your evening. Yes ,my friends, right here in the heart of the so called ‘Las Vegas’ of Goa. The place ‘the Stone House’ at Candolim. Proprietor Christopher D’souza’s CD collection of ‘Blue’s’ competes with the tasty delicacies that the restaurant dishes out for someone who would like to soak in the relaxed and warm ambience after a hectic day at work.

The Stone House, aptly named, is made of volcanic laterite stone, with two terraced courtyards, with beautifully lit landscaped gardens which serve as the restaurant. It has been recommended by the Lonely Planet, Footprints etc….as a place worthy for a visit.

The restaurant boasts of a wide variety of items from Soups, Salads, Aperitifs, Bistro, Grills, Tandoori items, Chinese, Goan, Indian…you take your pick. The bar is also made of laterite, with its quaint tiled roof, pictures of Bob Marley complement the décor. Seated on the high bar stools, next to a huge plasma screen, hearing Eric Clapton croon into the mike, I asked Peter what were the items one should try out here.

On the Aperitif’s side there was Guacomale with Papadoms (when Avocado is in season, we are told), and Tzaziki with Papadoms. The fast moving items, are the Tiger Prawns in lemon basil sauce, the king Prawn pasta with green peppers, mushrooms and cream, the tandoori Calamari, chicken and pineapple kebabs glazed with a honey sauce…the list seemed unending. A gentleman seated by our side, Mr. Ray from England, who spends six months of the year in Goa, said that his favourite food was the mussels wrapped in bacon and grilled, and the Chicken Makhani. ‘Ray, come here nearly every evening just to have his favorites,’ says Christopher.

The fastest moving items come from the ‘Bistro menu’ and Grills we are told. ‘It is the flambee dishes that move the most,’ Christopher states.

Ensconced in comfortable cane chairs, watching the fish swim lazily around in the fish tank behind the bar, we hear the discreet bustle and movement of patrons swapping tit bits seated there. There are live performers on Tuesday’s, Thursdays and Sundays. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner…..the timings 11.00 am to 3.00 pm and 6.00pm to 12 midnight.

The food is brought to our table. Beef steak in a creamy whisky sauce with Mushrooms, Chicken in a Brandy cream sauce with Fresh Thyme, served with rice, Mussels wrapped with bacon on a skewer served with jacket potatoes, accompanied by a hot poie with butter garlic and parsley… the fare was tantalizing, the steak was soft and the minute chicken pieces just melt in your mouth….and believe me it is not the spirits that are talking, though Christopher did warn us that they are flambéed in the kitchen.

Christopher opens his huge portfolio to change the CD. We are given to understand that there are more than 500 in there. The ambience seeps into us, we are too sated to even think about desserts, although there are banana and pineapple kebabs, caramel flavored with rum, and fruit salads for the diet conscious.

It is with regret that we decide to leave the cosy ambience and head for home. We are stoned out of our mind, the music, the ambience and the flambees have much to account for.

So if you would like to have a nice relaxed evening, to wash away the ‘blues’, then the Stone House would be the right restaurant for you.

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