Kuheli Bhattacharya Rane
The quaint streets of Fontainhas, with their bright walls and narrow tree-lined lanes, have always been a favourite with stand alone restaurants. A new entrant is ‘Barrels and Bones’, a restaurant that has opened up where a well loved eatery once used to be. Treat yourself here to a laid back lunch or romantic dinner.
Ambience: The outdoor seating is verdant during the day, but on the rainy evening we opted for the indoor seating. Parking is always a hassle in Fontainhas as you cannot park in front of the gates of the houses that line the narrow lanes; carry umbrellas for you may have to park your vehicle a walking distance from the restaurant. Enter the restaurant and you are greeted with white washed walls with frames of American movie and music legends, giving you the feel of an American diner. The ambience is laid back and deliberately understated.
Food: If you love bacon or pork, this is the place for you. We had bacon in our cocktail, appetisers, main course and pizza, need I say more? But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
For starters, we tried the sweet soy glazed pork, barbeque mutton skewers, bacon wrapped shrimps and jacket potatoes, with mushroom as the vegetarian version and bacon the meat version. Most of these are great barbeque favourites, enjoyed on balmy Sunday afternoons or windy monsoon evenings. The soy glazed pork had us licking our fingers, and the succulent mutton skewers that were served with hummus and pita bread was a meal in itself. Bacon wrapped shrimps – a classic one can never go wrong with, is an entrée that never goes out of style.
The restaurant has a fascinating list of cocktails and the Bacon Mary, a superb twist on the traditional Bloody Mary with Tabasco, mustard, tomato juice, grilled bacon, gherkins and pickles, is a must have. We tried the Ravioli del salmon – salmon stuffed ravioli in a creamy gravy with roasted bell peppers. However, the sauce was a tad too creamy and the stuffing not seasoned enough.
There is also a wide variety of pizzas to choose from and we went for the Goan sausage pizza, which incidentally is served without cheese but has a very good marinara sauce, and caramelised onions with Goan chorizos.
For the main course, we had the BBQ signature steak and the aubergine parmesan – aubergine rolls with spinach and cheese stuffing. Now, most people reading this would not voluntarily pay good money to have two of the most hated vegetables in India – spinach and brinjal – in one dish. Trust me when I say, you’ve got to try this; the grilled aubergine with spinach and cheese is so sinfully rich that you don’t even feel that you are having vegetables.
This place is slowly picking up its reputation for steaks and we know why. Our piece of tenderloin was a juicy medium rare with colourful roasted veggies and a smooth buttery mash with healthy sprinkles of crisp bacon pieces.
For dessert, we recommend you go old school with the gooey chocolate cake and ice cream combination or the Philly cheese cake for a more traditional American experience. ‘Barrels and Bones’ is a ‘no holds barred’ grill and pub concept with an unabashed love for their meat and a few vegetable specials which are great for vegetarians as well. A little steeply priced but worth the money. The restaurant also serves sizzlers whose aroma was divine, the neighbouring table made appreciative hums about the taste and presentation which means that this place deems an encore visit.
Service: 4 plates
Ambience: 3.5 plates
Go here for: The Aubergine Parmesan, Bacon Mary and steaks.