SACHI NAIK | NT BUZZ
Churrascaria is a Brazilian steakhouse known for its barbecued meats. The Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort, Cavelossim, has incorporated the elements of a Brazilian churrascaria into their food festival ‘Fire – The Brazilian Churrasco’. Chefs Sachin Talwar and Manoj Singh make sure to marinate the meats a day prior to ensure the spices and flavours are well absorbed. Usually a barbecue drum is crafted with enough space to hold a grilling plate and coal under it. At this festival the meats are cooked over a metal barrel that has been converted into a barbecue.
The sky was clear when I sat at the poolside table laid for us at Dona Sylvia’s outlet, Mama Mia. The menu for this festival is thoughtfully divided in the sections – In the amuse bouche section one can pick any two salads from four; side dishes have an option of picking any two of the five sides; and from the three stews on the menu guests can select one. The mains are the highlight of the festival and guests can pick any three dishes out of the six options on offer.
“You can repeat mains for as long as you want. We don’t stop preparing till our consumers ask us to stop!” said chef Manoj also adding that the starters and side dishes are mostly not repeated by guests.
I began my culinary experience with Salpicao Salad, a Brazilian chicken salad cooked in mayonnaise and a lot of vertically sliced vegetables. The next dish – Brazilian Potato Salad – was again mixed with mayonnaise and garnished with black olives. Both salads were sweet, however the Brazilian Potato Salad tasted fierce after I ate it with peri peri sauce. I’m not a great fan of avocado salad, but the Avocado and Cabbage Salad here is too tangy and savoury to resist. Salads were served on a slate platter.
The complementary bread and baked bread rolls, crunchy garlic bread and pungent salsa sauce paired well with meal. From the list of sides I tried Yam Chips, Crème Baked Potatoes and Herb Rice. The Yam Chips tasted like sweet potato, although they weren’t as sweet. This crunchy, deep fried dish showed chef Manoj’s perfection of thin and even slicing. Layered with potato slices, Crème Baked Potatoes was tasty but starchy and is not recommended for the diet conscious. The subtle and green Herb Rice will leave one feeling healthy with its mild flavour. The Beans and Vegetable stew tasted best when it was hot, it was a creamy delicacy.
There was almost no place for more dishes on our table by the time it was time for mains. Charred Fillet with Brazilian Style Chimichurri, a peppery juicy chicken dish incorporated the best flavours through the coal smoke. The smoky aroma and flavour insisted I repeat the dish. However, I backed out when I saw the Charred Sausages with Chipotle sitting on my table. The sausages were cooked so well that every bite was fabulous. It was very spicy but I enjoyed the succulent meat. These two mains are rare to find in Goa.
The third main – Char Grilled Peri Peri Pomfret – was as zesty as the name suggested. The slow cooked fish served with skewers and was beautifully presented. After the mains, Grilled Pineapples seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil were served to help with digestion.
Then came the moment of detest – trying to take delight in the dessert with a full stomach. I decided to taste a morsel of the Crème Caramel and Passion Fruit Mousse. Chef Sachin explained that the crème caramel was prepared from soft caramel. The dish was a sweet pudding, and a perfect dessert surrounded with different fruits. Passion Fruit Mousse maintained its fruity flavour with a jam sandwiched between the layers of the mousse. It was topped with thick sauce made of passion fruit and Alfonso mango which was sour but went well with the sweetness of the dish. I found the passion fruit seeds a tad bit annoying but I enjoyed this dish so much that I pushed myself to finish it.
With the outdoor poolside view and thoughtfully created menu, ‘Fire- The Brazilian Churrasco’ is created for meat and barbecue lovers. Hurry down to Cavelossim as the festival ends on June 16.
(‘Fire- The Brazilian Churrasco’ at Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort’s outlet Mama Mia is on from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. till June 16.)