Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One step at a time...

There is this place that has found a way to have fun on Sundays from lunch to tea and believe me you can get wet and painted…right from palate to body, one step at a time.

Come twelve noon, when the sun rides high in the sky, only the dark clouds might distort your vision at this time of the year. Anyway it starts with a drink, complementary in the package, a full buffet Oriental style, a game or two, body painting, music to help you groove away the extra calories or failing which a dip in the pool, and a hi-tea…believe me I chose not to use the word ‘high’…the word does have different connotations…before you leave in the evening.

Ah yes….I forgot to mention the venue, my mind was totally on the menu. No rhyme intended. But the place that put us in the best of spirits that Sunday afternoon was the Aldeia Santa Rita in Candolim.

It’s fun to go in a big group, we had a table of twelve, Glaffy’s party who did get away with many prizes was also a big group...although there were smaller families like Sam and Judy, Mangurish and his daughter Riddhi determined to do justice to the day.

The pleasant overtones of the lemon colors added luster to the otherwise overcast afternoon, complementing the munchies crispies and khimchi) that was placed on the table. A word of caution though….this should just be a nibble or two…those wafers can pack a heavy punch by filling up your stomach and leave no room for more.

While Johnny’s music played foot tapping numbers, we trotted over to the blackboard where the fare was listed. Our first stop the soup station…Tom Kha Phak. Listen, I told you it was an Oriental menu, but to put it in simple language, it’s a coconut based Thai soup. How can I put the taste into words? Says Iona Venugopal…’The soup is awesome.’ Chandrashekar whose knowledge on Indian food kept us riveted for the better part of the afternoon says..’Did you taste the soup? It’s excellent. And the lemon grass is like a fairy touch. Does not overpower the taste at all.’ ‘Fairy touch!’ Now that was a nice way to put it. The soup was delicious, the group dug their spoons in till the very last drop was finished. And I thought that the only liquid to be treated this way was a strong spirit.

But now let’s get down to the buffet. Yam-yam salad, and Yam woon sen…cucumber salad and glass noodle salad in fish sauce, chef Raj kumar beamingly explains. The menu changes every Sunday, I am informed, so he apparently has a repertoire of items up his sleeve.

The main course sports three non vegetarian dishes…Kaeng phet Koong, prawn in red curry (Thai) sauce, Blackened fish (Chinese), and Chicken Sumai, a family of the dumplings. On the vegetarian…a paneer preparation Panaeng Tao hoo Kap het (Thai), Ching ling vegetables...similar to the Manchurian preparation, and exotic vegetables with Hunan sauce. As this event is focused on family fun days, I decided to ask Riddhi to name two of her favorite preparations on the buffet. After all the Gen Next know exactly what they like to eat. Pat came her reply…ching ling vegetables (Manchurian) and Baa mee Phad phak the Thai noodles. Yes one did have a choice of Fried Rice, noodles and steamed rice. The chef has got his combo right. For teens and children, Chinese is a hot favorite.

The desserts are served on the table…honey fried noodles with icecream, choice of ice cream or Sankay. Well honey fried noodles are a hot favourite with me. But my fondness for desserts must have shown on my face. Roy deSouza pushes his dish of Sankay across. A pudding…solid…with a hint of caramelized sugar. I take one bite, and before Roy could have second thoughts, polished off the full dish in seconds. I am normally not very fond of Thai desserts…the sticky rice preparations et all…but again, the chef has understood his guests….the meal packaged was worth every moment spent at the table.

If you want your Sunday to end in high spirits like ours, all you have to do is drive towards Candolim on a Sunday afternoon. You will cherish every moment spent there, at every step of the time.

1 comment:

Raah-Dikha said...

Dear Odette,

May I request that you pass on best wishes from Pramila Viswanath, my mother of 231 Dhaula Kuan, Delhi to Ms. Iona Venugopal and Commodore Venugopal. They last saw each other in 1980 or 1981!! but the name struck a bell when i read your article. my contact email is radhikayr@gmail.com.

Radhika Yeddanapudi