Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dandy Grills - A Sizzling Treat

Did I get the spelling wrong….No, not at all, I just used the colloquial word. The Grills at Dandey’s are just dandy. run by a young couple Parizad and Dipak, the name of their place was derived from their very essence of living – their two children Dan –esh and Dey azad. So Dandey’s came into existence. And a good thing too. One bite of the succulent meats offered, and you are smitten to the core.

I had passed this place many times, en route to the Calangute beach, but had never suspected that a place like this existed in the sleepy village of Sangolda. Look out for Zaddesh Resort, it shields the restaurant from view.

The restaurant boasts of an open garden, where tables and chairs are scattered at random with colorful red umbrellas. For those who are concerned about the dew-factor, the underground tastefully painted basement will provide ample protection.

I flipped through the menu….Grills of every variety. Their boast of ‘blending of Indian Continental Varieties’ is not an empty one.

There are starters like Gulabi Kebabs which are kebabs of chicken mince with capsicum, tomatoes and onions, and many more for the Non Vegetarian and Vegetarians priced at Rs 120/- plus taxes.

A full page is dedicated to sea food, from Lobster, Tiger Prawns to the traditional Fish Peri-Peri. The chicken delicacies range from a Chicken Satay (a Malaysian preparation), to the Dum ke Kebab…marinated grilled chicken, served in clay pots.

But if one loves Steaks…then a visit to the place is a must. Their traditional Steak Special is a hot favorite.. priced very reasonably at Rs 180/- plus taxes.

I could go on and on, describing the menu…one that is recommended by every doctor, for a health conscious diet. No gravies, no heavy sauces. ‘What is your USP?’ I asked Parizad. Warm, effervescent and talkative…I saw her flitting from table to table, talking to her guests making them feel comfortable.

‘We want to be known for our grills,’ was her spontaneous reply. ‘Something like the Kobe’s in Bombay.’ She pointed to a page in the menu. ‘This is our EVP (extra value proposition),’ she stated. I looked at the page. This was the ‘Cook – out’ Barbeque’s. ‘We prepare the meat- you cook and grill and then eat,’ she smiled.

‘I am sure not many people, especially we Indian’s, would like to come to a restaurant to cook our own food,’ I said.

‘No, no,’ she assured me, ‘let me demonstrate what we do.’

Within five minutes of our drink being served, a small bar-be-que trolley was set. I looked at my watch, I was hungry. Was it worth waiting for. True to her promise, within another five minutes, a chef materialized with the mise-en-place. You know all the raw material ready for cooking. I looked skeptical. The meats were marinated and raw. This would definitely take ages.

But as the waiter put the Green salad and the naan on the table (complimentary with every grill order, you could also order a rice or a garlic bread instead), the chef was removing the meats from the skewer and putting them on our plates. Ten minutes to be precise. And that is what I call a last minute order. ‘If you place the order in advance, it could be much faster,’ she confessed, ‘then everything is kept ready for you.’

I remember the way my cousins in the US of A, would spend their weekends, grilling meats over a fire, while the families exchanged their gup-chup, for the week. What a lovely concept for the people in Goa to adopt…and that too with a helping chef at the table to work on the grill for free.

‘Do you work on a la carte only, or can you offer a package rate,’ I asked her.

‘For groups of 10 and above, we can offer a package rate,’ she said, ‘we are doing one for a group of 30 this week,’ she proudly affirms.

‘Our portions are big,’ she says. She is absolutely right. The variety is endless. ‘I am a Parsi after all,’ she smiles. Talk about Parsi Pegs…here is a new one. ‘Every Saturday, I also have a traditional Parsi dish on the menu,’ she confides. Now that is a first in Goa.

And the desserts too are sizzling. Brownies or Bebinca with Vanilla ice cream on a sizzler, or it could be ‘Death by Chocolate.’ You have a choice

Besides the ‘Cook out’, having two young children of their own, they cater to ‘kiddies meals.’ McDonalds are not the only innovators. There is a Vegetarian and a Non Vegetarian specialty priced at Rs 160/- and Rs 180/- respectively. This includes a Franky, either vegetarian or chicken, and a mini sizzler, accompanied with a small glass of fanta / sprite, a scoop of ice cream and a take away gift.

Their pricing is affordable for the middle income families. If you have a car, and are traveling down the winding road of Sangolda, and would want those taste buds to be pampered, don’t drive on. And don’t let the approach put you off. Drive down the incline…and believe me your inclination will be amply rewarded.

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