A taste of Goa in Delhi

Celebrated Goan restaurant Cavatina brings its unique Goan flavours to the capital at The Lodhi

A taste of Goa in Delhi
What most tourists also do not encounter are the various cuisines emanating from different communities of the region, usually partaking food that is not even remotely Goan.

Xacuti, cafreal, vindaloo, sorpotel… Goan food might mean all this to most people. But then most visitors to Goa usually eat only at seaside shacks and some touristy traps, where they encounter big, bold flavours that are high on spice. What most tourists also do not encounter are the various cuisines emanating from different communities of the region, usually partaking food that is not even remotely Goan.

Goa has a rich culinary tradition, with several influences and cuisines. There is the Catholic, Portuguese-inspired cuisine, the Gawd Saraswat Brahmin food, the Hindu Goan, and the small community of Beary Muslims with big robust flavours. And against the vindaloos and xacutis are several dishes like chunache gavan, kholyal le makkha, gharyo, tisryanche dangar, fodi, bangdyachi udhamethi, bharillo bangdo, mangane, sukoor une, and more.

Then there are hidden gems like Cavatina in south Goa, offering contemporary Goan food, showcasing the region’s local cuisine rendered with a bit of European love for the modern palate. The restaurant is the brainchild of chef Avinash Martins, who digs deep into the treasure trove of forgotten recipes from the Saraswat and Portuguese communities and presents them in a reimagined, farm-to-table format.

Presently cooking in the national capital at a pop-up at The Lodhi, Martin has curated an exquisite seven-course culinary journey. The menu is a smorgasbord of flavour-packed Goan fare that includes the Pao De Queso (cheese stuffed pao), Mushroom Bisque, Tender Coconut and Water Chestnut Crudo, and Dehydrated Koyloleo Cannoli with Veg Caldin. For seafood lovers, there is the Seafood Bisque, Prawn and Water Chestnut Crudo, and Squid Caldeirada. The main course features creations like Banana Leaf Wrapped Seabass, Stuffed Chicken Roulade, Duck Cabidel, Cashew Jalapeño Koji Mushroom Stir-Fry with Jasmine Rice, Smoked Eggplant Mousse with Mango Pickle Aioli, amongst others. To finish off the feast, guests can relish Cashew Chikki Topped with Vanilla Crème.

As a Goan of Indo-Portuguese heritage, Martin’s endeavour has been to keep Goan cuisine intact, and at Cavatina, he recreates local flavours in a never before way through his inventive approach. Striking the right balance between contemporary sensibilities and traditional roots, Martins offers a refreshing take on age-old recipes. To preserve the cultural flavours in the truest sense, he believes in using only locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
The pop-up is on till July 23 at Elan, The Lodhi, New Delhi.

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