Sunday, May 18, 2008

A ‘splash’ in the Waves

Well folks, today ‘Art’ is becoming increasingly popular, and for visual art, a colorful splash on any medium…..Realism, Impressionism, surrealism, cubism could keep you gasping, literally like a fish out of water. And that was exactly what we looked like, when we visited Dr Subodh Kerkar, in his restaurant – ‘the Waves Garden Restaurant’ and sampled his ‘art cuisine’ in Holiday Street, Calangute.

We walked through the entrance of clay artifacts, into a restaurant tastefully decorated under the canopy of a huge tree. A constellation of lit ‘gamela’s’, with mussel shells imbedded in sand at its base, stood prominently on one side. Colorful painted tables, done by Subodh Kerkar himself, made one realize that the artist has a definite ‘hand’ in his restaurant.

We are met with by the Restaurant manager Orlando Leykauf, who takes the time to explain the concept of the restaurant. ‘Our concept is very simple,’ he states, ‘Goa meets Europe, it’s a fusion of food and style.’

That simple statement intrigued us. Subodh explains. Every artist,’ he says, ‘adds his own experience, his heart into his work. In mine, the sea of Goa always creeps in.’ Was that why, the flavor of Goa has crept into the European food listed on the menu? There is ‘Insalata Goanese’ the Italian speciality which uses Paneer instead of Mozarella cheese, and the ‘Waves Spiced Beef’ which are strips of Tenderloin Beef in a chilli coriander sauce.

‘Most of our cooking is done in olive oil, specially flavored in rosemary and garlic, and our Greek olives are from the Island of Kalamorta,’ Orlando tells us proudly, ‘and I have personally procured the lavender from Germany.’

So who is behind this Restaurant? The answer was not long in coming. As we waited for the starters, Buffalo ham wrapped around honeymelon, and mushrooms in a basket, we spoke to this doctor turned artist, who turned has conceptualized art into a different form. ‘I do Installation Art,’ he said, I looked at him in puzzlement, ‘simply put,’ he smiles, ‘I use the environment as the medium. A group of objects are used cohesively together, so that the viewer perceives the picture through space and dialogue.’

The starters are now put in front of us. Pyramid shaped honey melon wrapped in ham, and the potato baskets filled with creamy mushrooms, crispy and firm. ‘I have just returned from Dubai,’ he shows us his laptop, pictures of his work in front of the Burjarab hotel which is like a parasail in the sea. In the sand he has imbedded triangular structures which are tastefully lit. In the night the image is magical. ‘This is land art,’ he explains, ‘the landscape is used as the canvas, the sculptures that I take for these festivals have to be site specific.’ This was for the Gulf Art Fair, the Government wanted to make it an Art Market, so forty important galleries of the world were invited.

The starters are now over and we are looking forward to the main course. After eating the pyramid shaped honey melon, I was visualizing the huge structures on the sands of Dubai.

We had ordered ‘Chicken Angelica’ the chef’s own innovation named after his wife, and the ‘Waves spiced Beef.’

‘What else have you done?’ I ask him. I am fascinated. Our own Goan artist is now making the world aware of the talent existing within. ‘I have just returned form Busan, in South Korea,’ he says softly, ‘I used the Installation of gunny sacks with mussel shells. It was an international competition with 250 participants. Nine artists got an award. I was one. In India, I took part in the Mumbai festival at Napean Sea Road. That was sponsored by Sangeta Jindal.’

The main course has arrived. Delectable. The meat was soft ad succulent. ‘Have you done anything like this in Goa,’ I ask him. ‘Yes,’ he answers ‘at Pilerne. It’s the angel of healing, around six metres tall in stainless steel, for a pharma company.’

Well the conversation was stimulating, as was the crusty garlic poie accompanying the meal. I look at the dessert list and opt for an innovative fruit salad…’papaya cubes marinated in lime and honey topped with shrikhand, cardamom and saffron, and a rum flavoured chocolate mousse. The atmosphere seemed to be creeping into my very soul. A soothing, refreshing soul searching experience. Dr Subodh has now been invited to lecture in the New Zealand College of Architecture, and he has a concept already ready of linking India and Pakistan through ‘Installation Art’.

Maybe in the long run, the restaurant will make waves, by linking our local cuisine to different countries, but right now I would suggest to everyone……if you want to have a delightful experience, take a mighty splash in the ‘Waves’.

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