Monday, December 6, 2010

Ship Ahoy!

Anchored securely on the shores of Sinquerim, the waves lapping its side, one cannot but feel like the Caraveleiro’s of the days gone by. You get my drift…don’t you? There is a coffee shop with a difference and it’s called ‘Caravela’.

A walk through the village, under swaying coconut palms, you board the Caravela, turn right and you are there. It’s a place to rock…well quite steady on the waves…but you can rock around in delight. There is even a happening Bar attatched ‘The Drift’…you get my Drift?

No ‘pun’ intended but here is a Coffee shop with a concept. ‘Leave yourself in the chef’s hands…we customize what the customer wants.’ Now while all coffee shops are perceived as a place where ‘quick and standard preparations’ are the needs of the customer, Chef Niteen Chugg has a ‘menu’ with a difference- definitely Cosmopolitain. Lebanese, Indian (Goan and North/South Indian), Continental (French/Italian), with a pick of American fare.

We leaf through the ‘user-friendly’ layout. ‘What’s your desire siree?’ the menu seems to ask. Health…Light Bites…Arena…Grills…And even our Chef Rego’s Goan specials. So what was our desire? I looked across at Joe…wrong move. Where food is concerned the ‘desire’ is rampant. ‘Why don’t we leave it to the chef?’ he states tongue in cheek.

Well I guess that was exactly what the chef was waiting for. After all it is his aim to please. Health….now did you think of ‘hospital’ food? ‘You can even take a tip or two from this chef if you would like to prepare this ‘fare’ at home. The mixed green with shrimps, or the Bruschetta platter-you make your own with dips offered…olive tapenade, caponata and a tomato confit…Yummm! I ‘buttered’ another toast with that ‘tomato’ confit, shades of olive groves…definitely healthy.

But move on we did to the Light Bites section. A must is the Buffalo Blast…Now this is no real buffalo, just crispy chicken breasts, and cheese with an American…the place called Buffalo (BBQ) sauce served with Blue cheese dressing. Now that fried chicken with that cheesy dressing brought out the ‘cheesy’ smile on Joe’s face too! I had to work harder to scoop the portions of the preparation from the plate into my mouth than he did. ‘There is more coming,’ he whispers. ‘Ditto for you,’ I growl back.

Now while we did not have the Sandwiches there were many other diners who were taking a nibble off that preparation, perhaps blowing away their ‘blues’ as they gazed into the ‘azure’ blue sea....Oh yes this place is right on the beach. They picked their fillings and left it to the Chef’s expert hands.

On the menu is listed - The Grills. Now interactive chefs prepare them right in front of you that could be your next choice (Indian or Continental).

But we decided…or rather the chef decided to pamper us on the ‘Grand Stand’ seat - the Arena. Duck Breasts with Brocolli, Asparagus and Roasted Beet and the Steamed red snapper with chili and cilantro on Risotto. Now if you see the ducks feet paddling furiously under water while he produces a ‘calm’ exterior that was this ‘foodie’ couple. The Duck-even Donald and Daisy Duck would quack with ecstacy…soft, not stringy...the chef really got this duck right and combined with the hash potatoes….Heavenly. A ‘must’ says friend Carol Roy who makes the ‘best’ duck preparation herself. She was seated on the next table and when we asked for her view….the portion did become limited. Too many cooks doing the ‘tasting’ or should I say ‘eating.’

In Goa do as the Goans do and a Goan meal is a must. Chef Rego’s special! Prawns in corinader with Balchao Naans and rawa fried with his special Masala…well there was a slight motion on the boat…’yours truly was trying to paddle like the duck to make ‘extra’ space to accommodate the fare. Envy Joe. Elasticity at midriff level is his asset. The preparations were sadly dwindling while I was still at the ‘rocking’ mode.

All in all it was a delightful experience and if you are there as the evening sun sets below the horizon...the ‘Drift’ awakens to a new beginning. Get ready to set sail as you drift into a pleasurable frame of mind, definitely a coffee shop with a difference.

CARAVELA Address: VIVANTA Holiday Village,
By TAJ, Dando, Candolim, Bardez 403515 Village,Goa Phone: 0832 664 5858

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