A new Place to hang out

March 12, 2016

This post is a part of the What’s On My Plate series

Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva

Tandoori Pomfret Recheado; an attempt at trying to make Goan spice merge with a national favourite

 

 

Everybody loves working on a budget. You know… a little more self-containment, a little less pampering. And that is precisely what this new kid on the block has to offer, really; a rather stripped down affair. Hyatt Place is a concept that essentially focuses on Hyatt Hotels Corporation's new entry into the select service hotel ... a new leading edge hotel concept in the upscale select service segment; and their latest instalment in Candolim stays true to that very concept. Of course, in India, the general audience loves a little more pampering than usual, hence the concept is still tailor-made to suit the ‘madding crowds’.

 

In keeping with this philosophy of being stripped down, Hyatt Place has only one restaurant on the property, a little outlet called Gallery Cafe, which makes up part of the lobby itself. The Head Chef at the property, Jitendra Singh Rathore, has got his menu sorted in a downright simple manner. It is quite literally a ‘one-sided’ affair, with the menu being, well, one page-long. However, that is not to say that just because the brief is brief that it is off the mark; far from it, really. Anybody who reads this segment on a regular basis knows that I am not a fan of starred properties when it comes to dining, but at Hyatt Place, they deliver what they promise: attention to detail, and straightforward grub.

 

 

Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva

Murgh Tikka Laalmirch; bite-sized and an appropriate poolside snack

 

 

The chef has his favourites, like all chefs do, and as such, pointed me in the direction of a certain few dishes. And you can’t really tell chefs what direction they should be going in, can you? That’s just playing with fire…literally. So I let him have his way and churn out his very own recommendations, which turned out rather well, to be fair. Bear in mind, like I said, that meals here are, like the property itself, stripped down and simplistic, so if you’re looking for bells and whistles, then perhaps this isn’t quite the direction to be going in. However, having said all of the above, simplistic makes for good eating, and Gallery proves that.

 

To begin the evening, I was served an interesting interpretation of a Tandoori Pomfret Recheado. This one was a dish that tackled the age old debate of how Indian is Goa? Involving a whole fish that was marinated with Goan spices, in the characteristic masala used with seafood, this dish promises to not only cater to the domestic tourist segment that is the audience of the Hyatt Place, but completely win them over in the process.

 

However, for those looking for something a little more ‘snacky’ and light, the Murgh Tikka Laalmirch, consisting of chunks of chicken marinated with Kashmiri chillies, yoghurt and fenugreek is a great way to go. Do as I did, and amble about the property with the mini platter they are served on in your hand, eating them off toothpicks like lollipops. There is much to see, and it’s a great way to while away the time if you’re dining alone.

 

 

Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva

Spaghetti Carbonara; interesting by-and-large, but a tad disappointing

 

 

If meat is not quite your thing and you’re still looking at a similarly ‘portable’ meal, then there’s always a very flavourful (albeit heavy) similar option to fall back on, in the form of the Dhaba Paneer Tikka, which is made up of cottage cheese cubes, marinated with yoghurt and an assortment of spices.

 

However, where the restaurant nails it, for me, is the little victories. I’ve never been a salad fan, barring a few of the breakaway combinations. It is precisely there that the only hope of my continuing to eat healthy may see the light of day. I love a good Caesar Salad, and Gallery Cafe can provide just that. I don’t know why, but the marrying of crisp romaine lettuce, salty anchovies, soft bacon, crunchy garlic croutons, and parmesan dust cannot be beaten.

 

My only (slight) disappointment of the night lay in the Spaghetti Carbonara. It’s something I love trying, if only to test the culinary nous of a chef. The acid test for me, on this front, is whether there is the addition of cream (shudders) or not. My serving at Gallery Cafe had it, and I did bring it to the chef, who of course knowingly admitted that it had been an ‘edited’ recipe, due to the need to make it more palatable to an Indian audience. He offered to make me a fresh batch, which I hastily declined, as clearly it was an omission by choice, with good reason. This to me is something that I have heard from a few other chefs too, and I think that it would be a nicer world if we could just eat dishes as they are meant to be, rather than to tailor make them to our wants and needs.

 

All in all though, Hyatt Place in Candolim is an interesting option if you’re looking for a drive-through stop, with no unnecessary frills, but just a straight-up meal. It’s a brief that they do not falter on, and with those as your expectations, you will not be disappointed.

 

 

Fernando's Findings

#1
Hyatt Place is modest at best and is 'frill-free'.

#2
The restaurant is attached to the lobby, and can get a tad noisy. As such, it may not be an ideal choice of venue for a quiet dinner.

#3
The average cost of a meal for two (minus the libations) would be an approximate of ₹2,500 (at the time of publishing this review).

 

 

How to get there

The address

Anna Waddo, Main Candolim Road, Candolim, Bardez, Goa 403515

The directions

 

 

Food is a huge part of any culture and for me, chancing upon a good meal is synonymous with having a great day. The What’s On My Plate series of posts is where I discuss food, great places to eat, and anything gastronomically moving. This could be anything from a great place to eat, to an obscure kind of food, to an origin story. After all, there is no love like the love of eating.

 

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#1 

 

The views here are completely my own, and may not reflect those of any other members of the human population, which is why it is 'my blog'.

 

 

 

#2

 

I will always do my best to not be offensive, but sometimes, just sometimes, there are things that annoy me. So if I'm writing about one of them (and if anyone involved is reading this), I apologise for any hurt sentiments in advance.

 

 

 

#3

 

Try not to be overly sensitive and take offense to things like beef, bikinis, sex scenes in movies, Donald Trump's inability to be an effective president and so on. The world is happier with unicorns in it.

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© 2015 by Fernando Monte da Silva