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Bernardo’s – A Goan Salvation

March 14, 2010 Leave a comment

 

I lived in Mumbai for 8 years and never visited Goa. It was a cardinal sin. I repented it everyday. And it looked like God had forgiven me for it – sort of. All those Ave Maria’s had not gone waste after all. I should thank Bernardo’s for restoring my faith.
Bernardo’s was a legend I was too late in discovering. Not my fault entirely. From what I could gather, they had been pretty itinerate- moving from India Habitat Centre to CR Park to Galleria to their current abode at DLF Super mart-I, Gurgaon; for no fault of theirs I am sure. Along the way they have gathered a huge fan following which trail Bernado’s with great gusto in Facebook and Twitter.

I had espied the yellow bill board of Bernardo’s many times before but had not ventured in, suspecting it to be grossly upmarket. Last Friday evening, reassured after a glance at the restaurant menu in foodiebay, I finally made across the Super mart atrium, climbed a flight of stairs and entered this warm, cosy, reposeful den. There were potted palms outside the glass facade. Tiny, festive neon bulbs crept up a side wall and hung along the staircase balustrade like languid vine, maroon cushions sat snugly on comfortable cane chairs. Flickering candles kept on the table in tiny holders set the shadows quivering. Orange walls decorated with black ‘n white family photographs interspersed with framed musical scores along with transparent, engraved, old world tableware rendered the restaurant an air of antiquity. A twisted cross hung atop the back wall while  Jesus gazed benevolently at patrons. Bésame Mucho and mellow soul music played like a tranquil sea breeze fostering instant camaraderie. Clean, laminated paper mats printed with entries from guest book set against a backdrop of surf sprayed beaches and coconut palms rested on chequered table cloth.  A small stack of books kept company on the cash counter. The setting was intimate, the canvas small yet infinitely interesting, nostalgic and relaxing.

We were shown to a corner table and provided with four wooden planks held together with a nailed strip of leather which was the menu (reminded me of 10 commandments handed down to Moses). Intriguing names with tantalizing descriptions; the painted, idiosyncratic menu featured prawn, fish, chicken and pork – I turned each tablet and drooled before settling for Prawn Recheado as starters and Caril De Peixe and Vindalho De Porco for main course which were served with either white rice or Pao.

Prawn Recheado – crunchy, juicy, succulent prawns with a vermillion streak of Goan spice was astounding. The Vindalho De Porco was pungent and aromatic; generous portions of pork with the right amount of fat, marinated in vinegar and cooked in a dense spice mix went superbly with Pao. Caril De Peixe, traditional Goan fish curry, had lumps of Surmai (King fish) in a yellow gravy of coconut milk, kokum (tamarind) and onion which brought back memories of Malvan restaurants I used to frequent in Mumbai.

The lady of the house was charming and always at hand to answer our queries. The waiters were prompt and courteous. Bernardo’s, unassuming and simple, avoided all razzmatazz and concentrated fiendishly on quality food. It was no wonder that customers thronged this sanctum sanctorum of fine Goan cuisine from near and far – not because it was cheap, but because it was authentic and good value for money. As you can see, I too have become a fan of the place – it made me feel that the struggle up the food chain was well worth the effort. By the way, the place is not an absolute no go for vegetarians, the restaurant has one starter and four vegetarian dishes – more of an after thought in all probability.

Bernardo’s
B 229 – Super Mart 1,
DLF Phase 4,Gurgaon
122009
Contact:0124 6518323, 9811571379

Number of covers: ~ 25

Bernardo’s website: Click Here
Bernardo’s on Facebook: Click Here
Bernardo’s on Twitter: Click Here

Bernardo’s menu from Foodiebay: Click Here
(Note: Menu is going to be revised from April 2010 onwards. New items are also expected on the menu)

 

Food Economics
Prawn Recheado (8 Pieces) – Rs.310.00 (must try)
Caril De Peixe (4 Pieces) – Rs.245.00
Vindalho De Proco (many pieces) – Rs.230.00
(must try)

Rating
Very very good
Must visit for every self respecting carnivore

 

Below are a few more gushing reviews of Bernardo’s
http://yesterday1cemore.blogspot.com/2006/11/susegaad-bernardos.html
http://shivamvij.com/2006/11/08/bernardos/
http://chefatlarge.in/posts/bernardos-supermart-i-gurgaon.html/2

Photo courtesy: V P vinod

Revisited Bernardo’s
Had Pork Sorpotel (not really my cup of tea), veg croquettes (6 pieces, very nice), veg temperado (okra in coconut based gravy – mild, went well with rice) and carrot cake (superb). Amazing grace!

Sorpotel – Rs.240.00, Veg Croquettes – Rs.105.00, Veg Temperado – Rs. 115.00, Carrot Cake – Rs.40.00

 

Categories: Gastronomique

Vada Pav & Volcano on a Friday Evening

December 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Friday evening, unable to resist a sudden craving for junk food, we landed up at DT Mega Mall. The food court used to be a lively place, but seemed poorly lit and dull this time around. Some of our favourite counters, “Lemon & Thyme” and “Simply South” had shut shop. Apart from the usual suspects – “Subway”, “McDonald’s”, “Dominos” and “Lavazza”, the other surviving members of the original cast were “Salad Bar”, “Sip’n Bite” and “Viva Hyderabadi”. Among the new counters scattering the floor, one served crêpe and another Vada Pav, the quintessential, lip smacking Maharashtrian benediction to mankind.

Amchi Mumbai Vada Pav sold varieties of Vada Pav ranging from regular to cheese and paneer versions as well as Vada Pav combos. We took a regular one with Brown Bread. The Vada was promptly fried before our eyes and handed over sizzling hot stuffed inside Pav with a smattering of dry red chutney and a lightly sauteed green chilly. Can’t say it was a match to the bona fide Mumbai edition, but came pretty close. I felt the Vada Pav of Ashva’s Fast Food (Check my previous blog – Serendipitous Delights) was better, particularly since it come with oodles of coconut chutney. But, Amchi Mumbai was right around the corner whereas Ashva’s was way too far to be bothered for a quick Vada Pav snack.

The Vada Pav only stocked our appetite. So we gathered a potpourri of dishes from different counters and finished dinner. Finally, to top it all, we went and ordered a Choco Lava cake from Dominos which proved to be the nemesis of a perfect evening. The very first scoop erupted in my mouth; seismic sugar waves surged through the blood stream as the viscous chocolate lava trickled down my gullet. It was nauseatingly sweet. Do not offer this to friends; reserve it for your enemies – it can be the sweetest personal vendetta.

Epilogue:-Avoid this hellfire confection, period!!!

The food court also featured Go Chaatz, a Semi-Americanized version of Desi Chat. I found their signature item, Papdi Popper quite good. Recommended…

Categories: Gastronomique

Serendipitious delights

October 27, 2009 3 comments

Sometimes the best things in life are discovered entirely by chance. Like yesterday night when we came across this tiny shack near the rear exit of Anzal Plaza in Sector-22, Gurgaon. All of us were in a mood for a quick bite and that was probably why “Vada Pav” caught my eye so quickly. “Vada Pav“, a native of Maharashtra is a rare sight in Gurgaon. So, it was pure ecstasy to find it tucked away in this remote corner of the universe.

We were delirious with anticipation as we approached and immediately spotted the Vada‘s from far away. We rubbed our eyes and pinched each other to make sure this was no mirage. The Vada’s were definitely there for the taking, but Pav, nope, Pav was exhausted. We were heart broken but decided to try the Vada anyway. Soon, steel plates with Vada’s swimming in coconut chutney and red chilly paste were passed around. My god, amazing Vada‘s, authentic Mumbai flavour mouth watering Vada. We nearly exhausted the restaurant’s Vada inventory. My friend in the meantime couldn’t resist a chicken soup which he later claimed to have tasted a bit like Sambar! There were many more alluring items on the menu like chicken lolly pops, varieties of soups and momos. The food was warm and hygienic. The setting was informal; sweet chill of incipient winter was in the air, and steaming Vada‘s melted in our mouth.

The owner was thin, dark and pleasant faced. He was a Shetty from Mangalore. He asked if we were Malayalee’s and as we nodded in a semi trance induced by Vada, he told his story. He had come to Gurgaon, 11 years ago and had never returned to his native town. He could understand Malayalam, but could hardly speak the language, though he had many friends from Kerala. The shack primarily catered to students from nearby colleges and he was doing brisk business. We could see that. Even at this late hour there were a group of students chatting away at a corner over tea and momos. He had plans to expand the set up to cope up with the demand. He was particularly attentive to us. Compared to his, our lives were easy. Yet, he was optimistic and cheerful at the end of the day. Probably he has to wake up at 4 AM and start over.

Our nocturnal adventure was coming to an end. This was another instance of chance triumphing over well laid plans, reinforcing my belief in serendipity. I vowed to be more open to chance and its unexpected delights as we drove away.

Where to find Ashva’s Fast Food

It’s on the lane next to Anzal’s Plaza in Sector – 22, Gurgaon. Shetty can be reached at 9718559669.

Categories: Gastronomique