This post is a part of the What’s On My Plate series
Picture: Kishore Amati
A sneak peek at the Yin Yang fondue available at Grand Hyatt Goa
There are those moments when you know you want good food, but you also know that the same old same old, just will not do. You crave something different, perhaps something offbeat. Something that didn't cross your mind until it was right there, staring you in the face. Something like, say...fondue.
For those who aren't as cheesy as I am (and I am plenty), fondue is a Swiss, Italian and French dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot or caquelon over a chafing stand or réchaud heated with a candle or spirit lamp, and eaten by dipping bread into the cheese using long-stemmed forks. Its rise to fame was in fact recognised when it was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s, before being popularised in North America in the 1960s. Over time, the concept evolved into one that also embraced dessert, with chocolate fondue being something that was appreciated ‘across the pond’, from where fondue’s humble origins spawned.
If I've piqued your interest enough, it might lead you to wonder where you might find such a creation in Goa. To the best of my (fairly extensive) gastronomic knowledge, there's only one place that works with fondue in the state: Grand Hyatt Goa. Now, in my opinion, new concepts such as these warrant a mention whether they succeed or fail, purely because of the vision involved, with trying to break the mould and do something new. This is, of course, not to say that Grand Hyatt Goa fails in their fondue attempt. Quite the opposite actually.
I mean...Cheese! Chocolate! Need I say more? You're hard pressed to find a way to make a mess of the dish, really. This is, of course, a tad paradoxical, given that fondue is gooey and drippy.
The atmosphere at the Capiz Bar, which is where Grand Hyatt Goa recommends partaking of this meal, is relaxed and comfortable. And the fondue menus are fairly simple and straightforward. They have been divided into two variants; the savoury list, called FUNDO and it's sweeter counterpart, FONDOFUE.
Each of these has representative options that showcase the two sides of fondue, the savoury and the sweet. The selections are handled thus. One simply chooses the kind of dipping cheese one desires, and it is brought to the table, with a tray of dippers. The savoury has a host of options to choose from. The dipping cheeses include options such as Blue Cheese, Edam Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Garlic Cheese, Chili Cheese and my personal favourite, the Three Cheese. The reason for this is simply because it's a perfect blend of Emmental, Edam and Cheddar, which is blended with white wine and garlic. If I wasn't living in the tropics, I'd throw another log on the fire and pour myself a Chardonnay, while I dipped away.
The savoury list comes complete with a set of dippers that include broccoli, cherry tomatoes, apple chunks, potato, gherkins, pickled baby onions, black olives, carrot sticks, celery sticks and, of course, croutons made from crusty garlic herb baguette.
Just as the savoury menu had its star-studded line-up, so does the sweet. The roster here boasts of names such as Cookies + Cream, Black Forest, Rum & Raisins, Jaffa, Nuts + Nuts + Nuts and once again, my pick of the lot (because I simply need to have one), the Yin Yang. Why? Simply because, even in fondue form, the Yin Yang embraces what the symbol stands for. It embraces the light in the darkness and the darkness in the light. It's a perfect marriage of semi-sweet milk chocolate, and its white other half.
The sweet list offers dippers in the form of brownie chunks, kiwi, rock melon, pineapple, banana, signature cookie nuts, granola, carrot cake and the conventional Goan festive sweet offering, dodol.
Quite frankly, I enjoyed the experience, and I think that it's completely out of the box and a needed sprightly step on the path of regular dining. However, there are a few things I would tweak, when it comes to the dessert menu. I personally think that FONDOFUE would be far more robust with a few offbeat options to choose from in terms of dippers. For instance, I'd gladly dive into things like rice krispies, angel food cake, sweet bread, and pretzels. Pretzels, for that matter, would not be out of place on the FUNDO menu either. In similar vein, I wouldn't be averse to the idea of a peanut butter or Nutella fondue.
But again, all said and done, an evening with fondue at Grand Hyatt Goa is an experience worth diving into, head first. Especially if being caught in a sticky situation is your thing.
Fondue is not something commonly available in Goa, and as such is quite the experience on the local front. That by itself, is reason enough to hop across to Grand Hyatt Goa.
Keep plenty of space aside for dessert, because it is just as heavy as the savoury part of your meal.
The average cost of a meal for two (minus the libations) would be an approximate of ₹3,000 (at the time of publishing this review).
How to get there
Opposite Aldeia de Goa, Off Goa University Road, North Goa, Bambolim, Goa 403206
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.