Christmas season has it’s own charm…visiting relatives and parties galore. Just the time restauranteurs must ensure that they are ‘upto their fives’ to give a good show. But sadly enough friends about town had many complaints from some of the top restaurants operating this season….could it be lack of consistency or ‘perceptions’ about the place…I wonder.
Perhaps it could be ‘perceptions’ and ‘expectations’ that play a major role I realised as talk veered to a ‘happening place’ in Baga. ‘Isn’t that a sort of a club?’ I queired, ‘more for the yuppies to hang out?’ I then realised that my ‘perceptions’ based on the name (it was Kama Sutra before and now it is Take 5) that had clouded my ‘expectations’ about the place.
We were now seated in a trendy place, dominated in the center by a four sided bar, deepseated armchairs(you know the type one can sink into)..lounge style and table seating all around a small stage. Yes there is music Jazz, Retro, Rock some days of the week…but let me tell you that ‘food’ is the focus…new Age European, Asian…..food that is infused in areas to take it away from the traditional run-of-the-mill form...’comfort food’.
Aha! Got you there did I not. Even we are learning. When we take Catering College professionals and put them together we get places that create new dimensions in food. The place? Take 5 Dining and Bar. At the front is Sachin Roche with partners Abhishek Honovar and Viraj Suwarna..and in the kitchen is Food Consultant James of Butter and Jamie’s fame ably assisted by Chef Prakash Parab.
So here we were with the ‘starters’ placed in front….Cajun fried shrimps, Tempura fried prawns-a fusion of Cajun/Oriental James explains. And around it was the ‘Tuna Crostini’s’ and the ‘Tomato and Basil Bruscettas’. We dipped the batter fried Tempura into a sauce…a mayo with wasabi and lemon grass…Boy what a twist. Super..deelicious’…let me tell you why…Wasabi is Japanese, Lemion grass Thai/Oriental and mayonnaise Continental. ‘Fab Fusion.’ Oh By the way I borrowed that term. They got that band playing there once a week. But that is what I mean…that fusion combo was Fabulous. And the Cajun spiced prawns…crisply coated with special chilli herbed crumble and garlic aioli…Ooh..la…la. how do the Mexicans say it ‘Ola Senorita..senor-mu..cha..cha.’ Yup..that’s it. Joe had got the sauce dripping over his muchos, you see he was tickled pink with the taste.
But there was more to come. The Caesars Salad. Did I see wrinkled faces? Belive me it was a treat. Right down to the chilled, crisp, wrinkled cos lettuce marinated in mayo, anchovy paste and tuna oil dressing…and with that ‘twist to tradition’ topped with grilled chicken breasts. Now I am definitely not a ‘bhajjiwalli’ except when I have to go o those diets once in a blue moon…but even the Pharoahs would sail down the River Nile to feast on this dish. Now why did I think of the Pharoahs…those guys don’t move for anything, everything has to come to them. Ah yes, Sachin was telling me that they have an awesome band-and Iranian band called the Pharoahs once a week, and they could have you sailing to the stars. Or maybe it would be the salad…the new age preparation, a twist in the traditinal tale.
But I have to get back on course…the main course. Mexican and Oriental…you see those spices are more suited to the Indian taste. Lemon, red chilli chicken and Oriental Basil Beef. The presentation was par excellence...did I not tell you that the professionals were running the show? But it is the taste that counts too. The chicken was marinated in ‘cajun’ spice. ‘What is it?’ I whispered to James. ‘Paprika, cumin, corriander powder.. most of the spices that are ‘comfort’ to the Indian palate,’ he says. We take a little rice, add the ‘cajun curry’ to it, a little of the crispy salad accompaniment and a sliver of the breast of the chicken. All that Jazzzzz…sorry that night it was Jazzy George playing…and if you have ever heard the drums rolling for the number ‘Take 5’ – that sound was reverberating in my head….pum…pum…trrrr..a…trr. the ‘pum was the rice and the chicken..the trrr’ the cajun sauce with the salad-what a combo…to die for. Before the beat of the drummer had ended we had polished off the dish. But let me keep some space for the Basil Beef-cause once the drums had finished rolling of the ‘Take 5’ number, the music starts playing. Stir fried basil, lemon grass, birds eye chilli..no I was not keeping a ‘birds eye’ on Joe…there was enough for both. Those spicy Thai chillies are called by that name. Wow..what an experience we had sweat streaming down our foreheads…because the taste was ‘super….call.. ii…fantaslistic’ A dish to remember.
But the fusion does not end here, cause on my favorite page of the menu was another fusion dish. Now with the Goan touch. Banana Haven. Rum and sugar flavored bananas on a luscious banana cake with vanilla icecream. Believe me when I say the description does not give credit to the dih. Those dollops of caramelised bananas wrapped with creamy icecream and a spoonful of that banana flavoured cake….even Joe could not resist. It was a ‘take 5’ spoons for every one of mine till I had to glare at him so that he slowed down.
Yes my friends..like ‘Elvis in second skin’ he plays there every Friday, the young professionals Sachin and James have given the coastal belt on Baga something to talk about. A second skin of new age comfort food over traditional fare for the ‘foodies’ of Goa.
Address: Take 5 Lounge Bar & Restaurant,
Sautta Vaddo, Baga Beach Road, Calangute, Goa 403 516.
Proprietors: Sachin Roche, Abhishek Honovar and Viraj Suwarna.
Telephone number: 0832 2277937, 9881722549.