Radisson Blu at Banjara Hills celebrates Goan Cuisine

A few days back a friend was discussing Indian regional cuisines available in Hyderabad. He mentioned that he was surprised that there were no Goan restaurants here, despite the fact that many Hyderabadis love to frequently travel to Goa and enjoy vindaloo, bebinca and xaccutti. The discussion set the craving in me to revisit Goan cuisine and soon after I was extremely happy to see Radisson Blu Hotel at Banjara Hills organizing a Goan Food Festival at their Chill Restaurant and Terrace.

Invited to preview the food festival, I was pleased to meet Chef Leon Dexter from Radisson Goa, who has specifically come down to Hyderabad to organize this festival.  Chef Leon explained that he has crafted the menu in this festival in such a way that the dishes represent all three influences on Goan cuisine – the Hindu, Catholic as well as Portuguese. Also, he has chosen some special dishes which are not usually showcased in festivals but represent the food from Goa’s homes. The spices have been brought from Goa, and they are freshly prepared for each dish.

Radisson Goa Festival
Squids and Chicken Peri Peri

The starters that were served on the table illustrated what the Chef said. The Chicken Peri Peri served has an African-Portuguese origin. These chillies were introduced into the Indian cuisine by the Portuguese along with other stuff like tomatoes and potatoes.  The red ground masala on the succulent chicken pieces tickled my tastebuds and seemed to be a spicier version of the Rechaedo paste. There was a paneer version for the vegetarians too. The accompanying squids were also soft and nice.

Paneer Piri Piri and Veg Fry
Paneer Peri Peri and Veg Fry

Another starter where the magic of Goan spices was on display was the Chicken Cafrael, where there was a strong flavor from the green chillies. Presenting the Prawn Balchao on rusk like a bruschetta, was a good idea as the pickle like taste of the prawn masala was a perfect foil to the bread.

Chicken Cafrael
Chicken Cafrael

One of my favourite Goan food has always been the Chorizo Sausages. The sausages here were crumbled in sliced onion and tomatoes and served with soft buns. For a pork fan like me, the spicy sausages were a true delight, and I especially liked the masala with it as well as the potato in the gravy.

Pork Chorizo in onion and tomatoes

Fish Rawa Fry is a delicacy of Gomantak Hindu cuisine. The crust here was nice and crispy with the fish soft. Though personally I would like my rawa fried fish to be boneless.

Fish Rawas Fry
Fish Rawas Fry

In the main courses too there were dishes which were off beat.  Crab Xec Xec was for me the best dish of the night. The name xec xec has come from the word shake shake which is literally tossing the crabs in roasted coconut based masala. Again here the well balanced combination of masala stood out as strikingly different from other preparations.

Guisade Xec Xec
Chicken Guisado and Crab Xec Xec

Chicken Guisado was another special item. We were told that the chilli based masala is similar to the one used for vindaloo, but the dish is mellowed in coconut milk. Chef Leon advised me to try it with the aromatic Prawn Pulao kept next to it and the combo worked out really well.

For the vegetarians too there was a bonanza. The Caldeen was cooked with paneer and peas, the Foogath had cabbages tossed in mustard and coconut while the Portuguese Mergol was prepared with pumpkins.

Bebinca Dodol
The Dessert Platter - Pinaca, Doce, Bebinca and Dodol

Any Goan fest must have Bebinca and today was no exception. The multilayered dessert with flour, ghee eggs and coconut milk tasted divine. The jaggery based sweets – Pinaca and Dodol, both prepared with rice flour and jaggery looked and tasted quite different. And finally I ended with Doce, a gram based mild sweet.

What struck me about the festival was that the Chef has not gone for usually popular Goan dishes and rather he presented lesser known but delicious food from Goan homes. Also the range of masalas used in Goan cuisine has been showcased through different dishes, with no two items tasting similar. A well-researched food festival, it is on only for dinner till 27th September, 2015.

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel
Road No 6, Banjara Hills
Telephone: 67331133

Dinner Buffet: Rs 1550 (All inclusive)

Also read: The Sunday Brunch at Radisson Blu, Banjara Hills

Disclaimer: The review is based on an invite by the restaurant. However the opinions expressed in the post are honest and unbiased.

1 comment:

  1. Yummy .. your post is making me crave seafood on Monday morning