This food is from another Planet

April 6, 2016

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

Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva

Spicy Salmon Sushi, an absolutely great start to a meal

 

 

Being from the south means that you’re always looking at returning to your roots, and this particular trip was one that I had been meaning to make for a while – to Planet Hollywood’s restaurant, Fame. It is the home of their Executive Chef, Sundar Sudarshan, who is an absolute legend from a time when gentlemen ruled kitchens, and the end produce was a labour of their love. This evening, I let him take the reins, and dish out what he felt would best represent his kitchen. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.

 

First out of the Planet Hollywood stables, nay, kitchens and what I started my evening out with were the platters of ‘Spicy Salmon Sushi’ and ‘Spicy Tuna Sushi’. The spice quotient comes from a minuscule dollop of chilli infused mayonnaise, sitting at the top of every segment of the roll, which makes the need for wasabi (as much as I like it) redundant. Furthermore, the need for soy for dipping is also cut out by the succulence of the smoked salmon itself. The tuna roll echoes all of the above, but, with all due respect to the salmon, I find that the spice enhances the flavour of the tuna more than it does in the case of its counterpart. My reason for saying so is purely the fact that I believe that salmon is complemented better by creamier and smoother textures than spice. That it is good, there is no doubt, it is just second best in this particular round.

 

 

Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva

Spaghetti with Crab Meat, Cilantro and Chilli, one of the most interesting pasta dishes I've sampled in ages

 

 

The next course was designed for those with more provençal leanings. Fame does well on the Italian front. They make a wicked ‘Mushroom Risotto’. They understand the concept of al dente, meaning that your Arborio rice is served chalky and not gluggy. In similar vein, the ‘Spaghetti with Crab Meat, Cilantro and Chilli’ is beautiful. There is no extra cream and flavouring with the spaghetti, and it is served as is. All the flavour is derived from the crab, with the chilli contributing with that little kick in the back of your throat.

 

As the courses kept coming and we reached the mains, I suddenly found myself looking at my plate, which held ‘Pan Seared Lady Fish, with Tossed Greens and Shellfish Cream’. This particular dish represented the ‘Catch of the Day’ segment on the menu, which rotates on a daily basis, subject to the freshest available returns from a seaside shopping trip. However, it isn’t the lady fish that wins the day with this entrant, but rather the shellfish cream, which is possibly the hero here, and is made using the same process as that used to make bisque until thoroughly reduced, giving the diner’s palate the very feel of the sea.

 

 

Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva

Pan Seared Lady Fish, with Tossed Greens and Shellfish Cream, in keeping with the concept of the 'Catch of the Day' at Fame

 

 

The round of mains continued, with the feeding including the likes of the ‘Roast Chicken with Piperade Sauce and Country Style Potato Wedges’. Once more, much like the lady fish, the winner, as far as this dish in concerned, is the sauce. A perfect blend of tomato and sweet red pepper that offers both spice and sweetness, it enhances the dish in an absolutely unforeseen manner. It is important to note at this juncture, that I’m not the biggest of chicken fans. I find it to be a very passé and ‘safe’ meat for chefs to work with. However, the texture of the poultry at Fame surprised me, and as such, after a little grilling (pun intended), Chef Sundar let on that they sous vide their meat, which is how/why it is still moist on the outside, before it is seared on the outside for its crisp texture.

 

Now I’m not the biggest fan of lamb. Given the option, I’d go with goat, which I’m not that much of a fan of either. However, keeping my prejudices aside, the ‘Braised Lamb Shank with Confit Shallots, Garlic and Mushroom’ is a dish that comes across as very rustic and modern Australian all at once. It helps that the aforementioned shanks come from the land down under. If you like lamb, by all means, go ahead and order and it will not disappoint.

 

 

Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva

The mini dessert platter, made up of a Summer Berry Pudding, Pecan Tart, Baked Yoghurt and Hazelnut Pastry

 

 

For dessert, I was served an assortment of offerings on a mini platter. These included the ‘Summer Berry Pudding’, a ‘Pecan Tart’, the ‘Baked Yoghurt’ and a ‘Hazelnut Pastry’. Now I’m a huge dessert fan (always have been, always will be), so for me, this was a perfect way of sampling a cross-section of the dessert on offer, without worrying about an expanding waistline. The verdict for me on all of these is as follows. The ‘Summer Berry Pudding’ is a tad too tart for my liking, but then again, berries aren’t at the top of my list in terms of a dessert selection. I suppose for those who lean in that direction, it could well be spot on. The ‘Hazelnut Pastry’ is bound to be a winner with the masses. It caters perfectly to the Indian palate at large. It has creaminess, a level of nutty crunchiness, oodles of sweetness, and hints of elegance about it all at once. However, it still finished third best, for me. In second place (and a very close second, at that) was the ‘Pecan Tart’. Butter Pecan is still one of my favourite flavours of ice cream. Enough said. The edible gold dust on the top of the tart, just screams “Hello, and welcome to a film themed property!” In first place, however, is the ‘Baked Yoghurt’. So simplistically crafted, yet so elegant; it is silky, creamy, well textured, and has a layer of maple syrup that coats it, which quite frankly adds a dimension that makes it 10 times the dish it would have been, had it been excluded from the dish.

 

All in all, it was absolutely amazing stuff from Planet Hollywood. This for me was a trip long overdue, which culminated in a very satisfactory meal... It's my belief, that here, produce is king, and that infallibly translates to something great on your plate. Give a chef a fish, and he’ll feed you for a day; give a chef Atlantic salmon, and he’ll still feed you for a day, but you’ll remember it for a lifetime. My words to live by, and Chef Sundar has certainly ensured that I won’t readily forget this meal.

 

 

Fernando's Findings

#1
Fame is a restaurant that is rapidly drawing attention to itself as a standalone property ensconced within the confines of Planet Hollywood.

#2
Chef Sundar shares insider information with diners, such as how Fame draws people from across the state for their sushi and sashimi, even those from further North. This is a feat in itself, given that the North has restaurants that are specialists in this style.

#3
The average cost of a meal for two (minus the libations) would be an approximate of ₹4,500 (at the time of publishing this review).

 

 

How to get there

The address

30/3, Acsona Waddo, Uttorda Beach, Salcette, Goa 403713

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