Sunday, May 18, 2008

Get hooked at the Fisherman’s Wharf

Idyllic, serene, relaxing….no, I am not listing adjectives for a grammar class…but the state of mind one experiences at a place called the Fisherman’s Wharf. It is not in San Francisco, but in Goa, a short distance away from the Holiday Inn.

The smooth functioning of this beautiful restaurant nestling on the banks of the Sal river, is handled by Mr Leo Periera……a veteran in Food & Beverage skills. Why is the restaurant called Fisherman’s Wharf? I got the answer as we sat on the wooden deck right opposite a host of fishing boats now rocking on the slight swell of the placid river. ‘The boats leave every morning for fishing during season,’ explains Leo, ‘our guests just love sitting here watching the activity, and then watch the birds fly back every evening at 5.30pm.’

Boats….Birds? I look across the beautiful landscape, the fishing village of Cutbona nestled amid coconut palms, the birds flying in formation against the sky, the fishing nets laid out to dry, I have not gone poetic my friends, and neither have I imbibed on the Fisherman’s Margarita(the tequila and palm feni cocktail with that dash of lemon juice) that Leo has laid before us…this is a far cry from the concrete jungles that one calls ‘habitation’.

This 180 cover restaurant has retained the ‘Goan’ touch…right from its red laterite stone to the Papa and Mama Altairs. The elegant dining area so close to the water front has crisp, cream table cloths, with red roses nestling in green ferns as its centerpiece. Get the picture? But it is picturesque in more ways than one.

A little jetty protrudes from the wooden deck. One can angle and fish…the rods provided by the restaurant, or sit at the Bar..its huge garafao’s telling a tale of its own. Or you can make use of the watersports provided (come August)…the jet ski’s, speedboats or the banana boats…waving to your kith and kin as they sit there sipping on their pre lunch drinks camera’s clicking to capture your mood for posterity.

A little kiddies area is also earmarked to keep your children happy. And at dinner time….there is entertainment galore…with Lulu to keep your feet tapping every Saturday Night. Although there is ample parking space, I am given to understand that the cars wind their way right up to the road at times.

What is the secret of the Fisherman’s Wharf success. I got my answer as I leafed through the menu. Seafood…seafood…..seafood galore, with many other preparations interspersed to keep everyone happy.

‘Seafood at this time of the year?’ I ask Leo quizzically. I know how difficult it is to get fish in the market. ‘just try it,’ Leo smiles. I am given to understand much later, that their seafood is got from Karwar…and that was after the red snapper delicately napped with lemon butter sauce…believe me when it is that fresh you cannot have it any other way, was gently coursing down my oesophagus, the taste buds in my mouth fully satiated.

But I am digressing…pardon me…we women always have this tendency. Lets start at the very beginning, as they say in…and it is a very good way to start. Gosh, I am lapsing back into song again…I think good food has this effect on me. The Masala Prawns…the spicy tangy die for. A perfect combination to tickle your taste buds and urge you to have another round of drinks. That’s what happened to Joe. Looking at the Oriental Red palms that dotted the gardens, I decided to have the Honey Chilli chicken. Your children will just love will you. Besides this Leo informs us that the other favourites are Chicken 65, Crispy fried Vegetables and the kebabs.

But by now the elegant, Portuguese influenced(its the little blue design) plates are placed before us. As I said before, it is elegance to the core…no fisherman could have asked for more. The Prawn curry rice, the Pork Assad and the Red Snapper. Words cannot describe it. There was absolute silence….perhaps that is why the adjectives used before were so pertinent. Believe me, the silence reigned all the way back on our long car ride back to Porvorim.

The desserts are mind boggling….mudpie’s, fruity apple Tea breads, crunchy topped citrus chocolate slice….if you are late for lunch, then high tea awaits…although Leo stresses that as the restaurant is open from 11.00 am to 11.00 pm food is available at any hour. Right from Dragon tails (lobster meat which is deep fried prepared with garlic sauce and served in the shell) to Lotus Prawns (prawns poached with bamboo shoots, lemon juice and soya sauce). That was the Oriental Touch. And after a meeting with Anthony de Souza who churned out the Goan food, you will never be disappointed.

We drove down to get away from the hectic work pace. We were looking for a place to drive away the blues. And we found it at Fisherman’s Wharf. And believe me the feeling lingers on. Maybe that was why even today, Joe is so relaxed; however you must try it out so that I will know for sure. Was it the place or the food; or just the fact that yours truly was unable to comment for quite some time after that experience…husbands who like peace of mind, please let me know.

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