‘Unlimited Bloody Mary’s and Champagne,’ I wheedle. Somehow the spirits tend to pep the men’s motion. Is there any connection between the word ‘spirit’ and the ‘brain?’ After all someone coined the term ‘loco’….motion.’
So here we were driving to Candolim, the promise of a liquid diet working wonders to the promise of a good meal. The trickling water of the fountain soothed…the heat of the drive a forgotten thing. We sit under the canopy, the bamboo lace enclosure cosy and inviting. A vast array of dishes, both hot and cold stare back at us…..temptingly. Joe decides to start with the Bloody Mary. You see, he believes in doing things right…a starter with the starter…and the aerated grape juice with the rest. Well the rest can be quite long, I think to myself looking at the wide array of items being proferred on the menu.
The menu, I am given to understand changes every Sunday, but the Oriental Pizza is a fixed item. Well don’t think of Rakhee Sawant when I use the word ‘item’, but I will share with you a secret. I was tempted to gryate around the restaurant like her, cause the choice of toppings…you can choose two out of the three offered…the Prawn with Indonesian Chilly sambhal and the Chicken with bell pepper, Roasted Chilly paste was to die for. Well one can also have a choice of the vegetarian fare… the grilled Mushrooms and Bell pepper, the Tofu with Tomato chilly Sambhal or the Corn and green peppercorns with basil.
Next comes the Salad Bar…although I did not spend much time on that….for the calorie conscious they have fresh Asian Vegetables and Greens with Assorted Dressing- Vietnamese Lemongrass, Thai Lemon Chilly, Sesame Soya, Indonesian Peanut .
But now comes the ‘pot-stickers’, something I love to feast on. Maybe that was one of the reasons the word ‘dim’ on ‘sun ’ was playing around my mind. The dimsums…a choice of steamed or pan-fried stuffed with Chicken, Prawn, or Vegetable. Let me tell you something about the Dim sums. Literally meaning "to touch your heart," dim sum consists of a variety of dumplings, steamed dishes and other goodies. They are similar to hors d'oeuvres, the hot and cold delicacies served at French restaurants. And here they were on a green banana leaf in their little cane baskets…I take a small nibble…..delicious.
Originally a Cantonese custom, the dim sum is inextricably linked to the Chinese tradition of "yum cha" or drinking tea. Apparently at one time it was considered inappropriate to combine tea with food: a famous 3rd century Imperial physician claimed this would lead to excessive weight gain. As tea's ability to aid in digestion and cleanse the palate became known, tea house proprietors began adding a variety of snacks, and the tradition of dim sum was born. But somehow Joe found that the Champagne was a good substitute to the Chinese tea….and this was not the time to think of weight gain…the assorted satays with peanut sauce had arrived. Chicken, Prawn, Vegetable….but that was not all…..there were Duck rolls, Honey glazed spare ribs, grilled Beef tenderloin.
‘I need some more Champagne to digest all this,’ Joe states as he orders a Mimosa….champagne with Orange juice. I guess he must be dreaming of geishas serving him next, I thought waspishly…he really was in his seventh heaven. But culinary speaking…so was I.
It seemed that I had no room for more…RON kills you with food…..especially the Sunday spread. But there was more to come. The Buffet. ….Burmese Chicken curry, Lamb Rendang Curry, Stir-fried Exotic Vegetables, Braised tofu with Mushroom with hot Steamed Rice or fried rice…you take your pick…but please leave some place for the stir-fried Noodles.
The hot toffee banana, the toffee apple with cool, cool ice cream is like the icing on the cake. The crunchy coating of caramel vie’s with the creamy softness of the ice cream in the mouth. Even Joe….his normally serene Sunday disrupted has a smile playing around his lips. Good food and oodles of spirits has pepped him up. The rest of the day will be a piece of cake, he is used to agree to whatever I ask for. I leave the restaurant humming …my…my…my…it’s a beautiful Sunday.