This post is a part of the What’s On My Plate series
Picture Courtesy: OSIX Collective
The star attraction: Egg...But No Egg!
I hate making a trip to the busiest part of the state during the most chaotic time of the year. However, sometimes it’s worth it. Especially when there’s great food involved. And on the night of the story that we’re about to embark on, there was. A Reverie, that sits on the border of where Calangute meets Candolim, sets itself apart from many on the noisy lane that is Holiday Street. Its air ironically ‘screams’ chic. I particularly like the little bronzed Absolut Elyx display at one end of the bar, which very subtly hints that only the finest is served here. However, it takes more than a fine visual to account for substance. This is a restaurant that offers (with much pride) the amalgamation of cooking fundamentals, a merger of exotic and local ingredients and inspiration from personal experiences. The owners and Chef, Virendra and Aakritee Sinh, along with their Development Chef, Pablo de Miranda, have, it is fair to say, managed to check off all the requirements on the list required to make a great restaurant.
For all that enter through the doors here, while you wait to decide what you would like to treat your stomach to that evening, PLEASE, for your sake, order ‘The Treasure Box’ that pays homage to Goa’s true hero: the coconut. These are thinly shaved and impeccably treated slivers of coconut kernel that promise to remain addictive long after your mains and dessert have been wiped clean.
However, as you continue to browse through the menu, you will quickly realise that this is where things get interesting. EVERYTHING on the A Reverie menu has a story. It’s almost impossible to find something that doesn’t. For instance, let us take ‘The Taco Truck’. This little beaut involves the merger of an immensely popular Latin American snack – the taco, with its even more popular Goan counterpart: the bhajiya. Now in some parts of the world, tacos tend to be served out of food trucks dedicated exclusively to their service. However, they look nothing like the ‘Horn OK Please’ variety that comes along on this platter. The story behind that prop dates back to the origin of the dish on the menu, which was at a time when Goa was caught up in the crisis of the inflated price of onions. Having discovered that she could get a better rate on the bulbous companions of every dish if she journeyed to Mapusa in the wee hours of the morning, Aakritee would pop off to buy them wholesale as soon as they were dropped off the truck. While waiting for one such consignment, she chanced upon what she believes are ‘the best bhajiyas she’s ever eaten’. And between the little onion fritter and its delivery vehicle, the concept was born.
Similar tales accompany other servings on the menu, such as the very popular ‘Chinese’ chicken lollypop, which, at this establishment, is made fascinating with its ‘Zen Garden’. With ‘The Birds and the Bees’, one needs to expect a series of elements that come together from compressed chicken wings that are then exposed to a vindalho rub, before being coated in a teriyaki glaze and propped on to lollypop sticks that are skewered at the other end to a bonsai tree.
Picture Courtesy: OSIX Collective
The Birds And The Bees, the interesting interpretation of the chicken lollipop
Purely because I love ceviche, and even more so because I love panipuri, I particularly like what A Reverie has done with the combination of the two on their dish, ‘Fishing for Compliments’. Here, the ceviche finds its way into the panipuri before being filled with tamarind and orange water. To sweeten the deal, the puris are baked, and not fried. So if you’re a health nut that loves to dabble along well plated lines, this is ‘the one’ for you.
There is so much to pick from at this establishment, that one simply cannot write about it all. To be fair though, my absolute standout from this evening (and the time before, and the one before that) is the dessert: ‘Egg…But No Egg. An interpretation of eggs, but in a delectably sweet manner, it is absolutely world-class. It features a medley of coconut and mango, disguised to look like egg in various forms. The cracked version contains lemon grass jelly and mango sorbet, the sunny side up representation is made up of coconut fondue and mango purée, the boiled avatar is made up of coconut gelato and coconut crisps from ‘The Treasure Box’ and lastly, the coddled form contains tender coconut panacotta and a passion fruit and mango coulis, with mango candy in an edible wrapper and dehydrated Alfonso mango on the side.
If all of this hasn’t geared you up to make a trip, I can guarantee you, nothing will. One word of caution though, travel only after the sun sets, as A Reverie only works with a dinner service.
A Reverie focuses on plating like no other restaurant does in Goa. However, while meeting with the elevated standards that they have set for themselves in terms of presentation, they have not skipped out on flavour, and their dishes are almost always spot on.
As is the case with most places along the busy touristic circle, driving and parking here can sometimes be a nightmare. It is best to avoid this circuit in the peak season as it can weigh on the disposition, which in turn translates to a bad experience, no matter how good the evening may be otherwise.
The average cost of a meal for two (minus the libations) would be an approximate of ₹3,500 (at the time of publishing this review).
How to get there
Holiday St, Gauravaddo, Calangute, Goa 403515
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.