This post is a part of the What’s On My Plate series
Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva
The African Berbere Spiced Tenderloin Steak, crusted with cheese
In more recent times, I’ve been hearing that apparently the south is a good place to be. One of the reasons is because of the variety of food on offer, in many new establishments. One of the names that has been doing the rounds, is that of Robin’s Ark in Mobor; so that’s where I headed.
I began my evening of dining, with the Lobster and Mussel Chowder, a simple broth of scallops, Arabian prawns, blue lip mussels and snapper, served with fresh fennel baguettes and butter. From the description alone, it suggested that there may be a missing lobster, but having seen great pictures up on social media, I ventured forth, because of all the promise on offer. I wasn’t disappointed, I will add, though there is room for tweaking. The chowder in itself was good and flavourful, but what I disliked was the use of just one solitary prawn and a mussel in the chowder as garnish of sorts, when perhaps it may have been more pertinent to use a chunk of lobster and stay true to the concept. But maybe I’m just being pedantic.
Up next came what would turn out to be my personal favourite starter of the evening, the Colorado Chicken Tenders, crusted with garlic and parmesan, with spring onion salsa, blue cheese and guacamole dip. The tenders were cooked to perfection, and the guacamole was outstanding. However, there was one fundamental issue, which I will raise when discussing my next starter; the Spanakopita, which is essentially filo pastry, stuffed with spinach and blue cheese. Now, from this alone, you may have gauged that I have a ‘soft spot’ for blue cheese. The fundamental issue with both the aforementioned dishes is that the left-of-field flavour that blue cheese gives you just did not shine through in either dish. My last starter for the evening, was the Mezze Platter; containing Arabic selections of hummus, babaganoush, labneh, dolmades, pita and falafel. It is hard to go wrong with this dish, and Robin’s Ark certainly didn’t.
I’m easy to please on the main course side of things. Put a perfectly-cooked, medium-rare steak before me, and I’m good to go. But the catch lies in the words, ‘perfectly-cooked, 'medium-rare’. Robin’s Ark has a disclaimer that they used a sous-vide to work on their meat, and that was enough to capture my attention. After all, who wouldn’t endorse a more tender and juicy steak, right? I called for two variants of the three on offer. The first was the one that I preferred, of the two, the African Berbere Spiced Tenderloin Steak, crusted with cheese, served with potato and leek fondue, red wine poached pear, sautéed veggies and espresso jus. It was cooked to perfection, and packed in every flavour of every element of the plate; an all-round dish. The second piece of meat I looked at was the Ginger-Teriyaki Dusted Beef Tenderloin, with wasabi mashed potatoes, broccoli, pok choy and a tamarind barbeque reduction. The only reason I’d rate this a tad lower, is because the cook on it was more medium than medium rare. However, that wasabi mash was out of this world.
Now coming to end of the meal, which regular readers will recognise as my favourite part of the meal, I have to say that there are some big highs, and also a few lows, to be honest. I started with the Coffee Crème Brulée, which is flavoured with freshly infused coffee, served with tender coconut ice cream. The latter part of the dish, the ice cream, is spot on. In fact, the entire segment would have been perfect, had the layer of sugar been just a tad thinner. Having been too thick, it cracked off like little shards of glass that had to be placed aside. Just a little tweaking required on that front.
My second dessert was a tad better. The Bailey’s Mousse Royale, which boasted of a unique fusion of Bailey’s, with dark and white chocolate mousse, was good, but not exceptional. In the sense that, it wouldn’t warrant a drive all the way down south, in terms of it being a flagship dish in itself.
In summation, I’d say that Robin’s Ark is worth a visit, in terms of looking for a good steak. However, there is massive scope for improvement on other fronts, though the potential is certainly there, if I’m being honest. And I hope it does happen, because I’d go there for the steak alone, so I’d definitely look at ordering plenty more, should the game be upped.
Robin's Ark is good on its day, but is yet to achieve consistency in terms of end delivery. This I've noticed after several visits there.
The steak here is the safest bet in terms of a main that will deliver the utmost satisfaction.
The average cost of a meal for two, minus the libations, is ₹1,500 (at the time of publishing this review).
How to get there
Luisa By The Sea Complex, Mobor, Cavelossim, Goa 403731
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.