Monday, 01 January 2018
Stunning locales in quality hotels almost always come with a hefty price tag. But this doesn’t have to be so.At Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel’s The Garden Café, you’ll discover flavours of Goan cuisine so authentic, they tell tales of the past. Kitchen hands and chefs bring to the table the nuances of cooking they have grown up watching, right here in the villages surrounding the 17th-century fort.
This means that your xit-kodi (rice and curry) or recheado develops tastes that may be different from elsewhere in Goa, but have remained unchanged in Tiracol and Querim for decades.
With the Garden Café, Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel offers guests the luxury of one of the most gorgeous views of Goa in a resort-style setting without the burden of a five-star cost. The ambience is a throwback to the old-world charm of the Portuguese era, with turquoise wrought-iron chairs and marble table tops.
A canopy of thatch fashioned from the leaves of the surrounding palm trees creates a cool shade through which the salty ocean air wafts through. To one side rises the ramparts of the ancient fort and to the other a fantastic view thrown open for the eyes to feast on.
The Garden Café at Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel draws many memories for those who have been to Goa over the years. There’s a reminder of the shacks of old through the bamboo poles and rustic rooftop; the chairs and tables take one back to the town clubs of times gone by; and the courtyard and its ornate park benches offer an instant feel of European charm. Above all, the serenity of sitting under a coconut palm looking out across the Arabian Sea with not a care in the world brings back the Goa that the hippies loved.
To enhance all of this, the Garden Café has created a special menu that is light on the pocket but delicious all the same. It heroes local fare, cooked by the experienced hands of none other than Shravan Talkar, a soft-spoken Querim local who learnt his trade by watching his family and making it his own. There is nothing more local in the vicinity than a dish made by him.
He started cooking at the age of 18, perfecting his recipes over time, taking the flavours back to a time when he relished these dishes as a child. Dig into any one of his creations and he’ll set your palate tingling for more.
Take his recheado, for example. Chef Talkar pounds exacting quantities of cloves, cinnamon sticks, black pepper, ginger and garlic together, and adds the perfect amount of vinegar and deggi mirchi to make it sing. A dollop on a batch of prawns or sweet-flesh fish as a marinade and you’ll understand why folks drive a long way to enjoy his seafood feasts.
Indulge in his prawn curry rice, or fish curry rice should you have a preference or allergy to crustaceans. The masala has matured into a beautiful gravy, highlighting the coconut, seafood and local chillies that are the distinct tastes of Goa.
Chef Talkar’s favourite dish to prepare, however, is the chicken xacuti. This should not surprise as xacuti reportedly originated in Pernem taluka, where he grew up. It takes an expert to know the right amounts of poppy seeds and medley of dry spices that go into making a delicious xacuti. And it takes a true lover of Goan food to know just how much the sweet grated coconut kernel must be roasted to produce that perfect flavour.
There is so much more on offer on the menu, from spicy to sweet, snacks to meals, salads to desserts. Each dish is made with love and priced to allow any guest who makes his/her way to the stunning fort a refreshing meal.
The Garden Café believes that all visitors to Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel – short-term and overnight guests – should experience the beauty of Goa in a nutshell. The restaurant’s perfect amalgamation of sights, sounds, and flavours of Goa make it the best place to eat authentic Goan food in the region.
For the Menu visit us here