Friday, November 5, 2010

Molten Lava

Have you ever seen pictures of a volcano in full blast? After spewing volumes of ash and smoke it erupts……the thick molten lava cascading down the slopes. Now what has this lava got to do with my article? While the color might differ…the goodies that this lounge and grill serves had my salivary glands oozing. And with the music raising the temperature to mind boggling heights, I can be absolved for thinking that I was flowing on a bed of molten lava.

There is this place, en route to the airport called ‘Lava cocktail lounge and grills’. And while the Friday Retro Nights has the place buzzing it is the food that is worth a mention. The person behind this endeavor is Nisha Vaz and the ‘chic’ and ‘warm’ ambience in hues of red and orange set the mood.

The menu is elegantly designed with a variety of ‘bites’ starting from the liquid variety. Joe got bitten by the ‘liquid’ bug. The fresh fruit Mojito…’This sure is ‘peachy’’ he says as he takes in a gulp of ‘peach’ Mojito. Was he punning on the word? Well I left him to it as the starters arrived. ‘Hot’ favorites…perhaps to go with the theme…..Jalapeno cheese balls, Parma ham wraps, satay platter, golden fried prawns…..even the color of the preparations add to the ‘molten’ after effects.

Absolutely great! And with a drink in your hand?....excellent tit-bits. Even the presentation…the prawns are served in long cylindrical dishes…..the satay like the compass showing the way…. And the taste, absolutely ‘crunchstatious’ and ‘tasty masti’! Pardon me but the words just popped out. What I meant was that the prawns and the cheese balls were crunchy and tasty, the satay and the wraps…as the advert states would set a ‘masti’ high mood, finger licking good.

Let’s come down to the ‘dining’ bit. This is no music-drink-snacky place alone, but one which would set the taste buds roaring. Try the Bruchettas or the Mushroom Balchao with Pao. You are on a good wicket. A little bird whispered that Nishas mother, Maria Francisca Vaz of the ‘Karma Masala’ fame is the ‘hand’ behind these Goan delicacies. That Balchao masala that wraps the masala and the roundels of crunchy onion rings with the toasted pao..... Alleluia! And Nisha has something more planned for showcasing this from tomorrow. I will tell you about it after this meal.

We decided on the Steak with mushroom sauce and the Kingfish steak with oregano, lemon sauce and chopped garlic. The wholesome plate choc-a-block with accompaniments would be termed as a ‘culinary designers’ delight. The French fries were crisp, the salad that accompanied the fish had its own ‘unique’ coleslaw taste…I used the word unique, cause the chef had added a blend of herbs to take it to another dimension. Uuummm! The pepper sauce that accompanied the steak…well you could have it as a ‘spread’ on toast…Divine! Back to childhood days….we polished the plate clean. Now although you have realized that I have focused only on the accompaniments…it is because I realized that they have taken care of every minute detail. Coming to the king fish, it is absolutely fresh, and with the lemon sauce…….divine.

Yes that meant no room for comment. But how can I not comment on the desserts? I will let you into a secret. At every restaurant I first peek at the back pages. The waiters find this odd always pointing to the drinks…I leave that for Joe. Now Nisha had some ‘old world’ favorites…Sera Dura, and Brazilian pudding, a recipe she confesses she learned from her grandmother. Did we wait from these desserts to ‘thaw’ a little…no Siree! Somewhere along the way it seems that Joe’s sweet tooth has become overactive. The Sera durra placed in front of him….vanished in a jiffy.

So like a spoiled child I put my hand around my Brazilian pudding…something which I have not done since childhood and addressed myself to ‘MY’ dessert. Biscuit soaked in coffee liqueur sandwiched with fresh cream and doused in brandy. Grandmother’s Portuguese dessert was an instant hit. We sat back as the music washed over us, lifting our over satiated senses to a high.

But Nisha has more up her sleeve. From tomorrow she plans to have a ‘Goan’ special. Pick up your meat…choose your masala…sorry ‘Mum Maria Francisca’s’ masala but of your choice and it is prepared right in front of you. Over lunch and dinner she plans to delight you with ‘on-the-spot cooking with local flavors and as the flames work its magic, perhaps you too might ride on the crest of ‘molten lava.’

Lava Cocktail Lounge n Grill
Address: Above Sai Service Showroom, Chicalim, Goa Tel No: 9960182828/9765582828

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