This post is a part of the What’s On My Plate series
Picture: Siddhesh Mayekar
A course that I personally loved, Poached Sea Bass, with Green Asparagus Cream and Jasmine Velouté
Last week, I took a trip down south to a restaurant that in my opinion, is one of those unsung hidden gems – Casa Sarita, at Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa in Arossim. Every once in a while, Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa organises a sit-down dinner, a set-course meal under the aegis of Masters of Food and Wine. This time around, the dinner was a jasmine infused menu paired with the effervescence of Chandon. With the theme centring around the olfactory senses, it seemed but natural that a specialist in the area would be brought on board, and in keeping with that brief, the property paired up with distinguished perfumer and researcher, Monika Ghurde, founder of MO LAB, to create jasmine infused gourmet experiences.
This has been my third experience with the Park Hyatt Masters of Food and Wine series. The property refers to them as sophisticated culinary and beverage experiences hosted at Park Hyatt locations around the world. I choose to see it as a meeting of friends, old and new, in an elegant setting. One has a place card at a table that is previously not mentioned. As such, you do not know who you will be seated next to until you arrive on the property. Needless to say, however, that whether the face is familiar or not, it’s always a night to remember.
This August, the resort’s chefs collaborated with the fresh, vibrant flavours of Chandon Brut and Chandon Rose, which in sync with the jasmine infused meal, created an experience, par excellence. The Masters of Food and Wine experience began with the option of either a Scallop Carpaccio with Carrot Oil, Micro Greens and Jasmine Aioli or White Wine Poached Pears with Toasted Walnut Dust, Rucola and Honey Jasmine Dressing. Both of these were paired with Chandon Brut, and while I opted for the former, the verdict of those around me was that the pear dish was the winner of the two as the jasmine really shone through, as opposed to the scallop dish, which was extremely mild.
The next course, however, absolutely blew me away. Now, I’m a sucker for risotto, which in turn could easily have influenced my vote, irrespective. However how can anyone fault a risotto with a scent of jasmine, with Parmigiano Reggiano that’s been aged for 36 months? It’s simply impossible to hate parmesan cheese, especially with a well-crafted risotto. Between this and the next course came a much needed palate cleanser in the form of a fresh lime and mint sorbet.
Picture: Siddhesh Mayekar
The last course of the evening, Jasmine Oil Cake, with a Jasmine Cream Wave and Raspberry Dust
For the main course, I was stunned by the Poached Sea Bass, with Green Asparagus Cream and Jasmine Velouté. The vegetarian counterpart consisted of Assiette de Légumes, Homemade Ricotta and Jasmine Velouté. Needless to say, I opted for the pescatarian option, which was an impeccably crafted dish. The fish was still moist on the inside, with the asparagus cream and jasmine velouté merely enhancing the natural flavour of the produce, rather than drowning it in its respective flavours.
The night ended on an extremely high note, with the meal being topped off with a rich Double Chocolate and Jasmine Oil Cake, with a Jasmine Cream Wave and Raspberry Dust, served with Chandon Rosé. While I’m a tad sceptical when it comes to senses intermingling, I have got to say that on this count, I was pleasantly surprised. Before the course commenced, Monika came around to every diner, offering them a ‘mouillette’ or ‘scent strip’ which had been dipped in an extract of jasmine. Inhaling the strip added a much greater dimension to the flavour of the dessert, as I tried it both ways; once without exposure to the jasmine mouillette, and once with. Eaten either way though, the dessert was outstanding.
With this being my third sitting through the Masters of Food and Wine series, I can comfortably say this much: Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa goes through a painstaking process to ensure that the dining process is superlative, with attention to detail being one of the key points on the resort’s agenda. If you’re around the property when these dinners happen, I can only say this much, make the time for it. Take time out to smell the roses, or jasmine, or whatever else is on offer…it’s worth it.
The Masters of Food and Wine series are quiet 'sit-down' affairs and involve shared tables of eight people. As such, an intimate experience is not something you should look forward to.
These limited edition dinners usually involve a host that is a specialist and will take you through every pairing. As such it is a meal that is delectable as well as informative.
The average cost per head, for the Masters of Food and Wine series is ₹2,150 plus taxes (at the time of publishing this review).
How to get there
Arossim Beach Road, Cansaulim, South Goa 403712
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.