A night to savour

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Mustard has opened shop in Anjuna and is bigger and better. It has stuck to its roots by offering the very best of French and Bengali cuisine that proclaims the goodness of the mustard seed

Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ

Ushering the New Year with old friends is special, and what makes the evening even better is feasting on some of the best dishes from the culinary heritage of Bengal and France. This is not a fusion restaurant, but one that showcases passion for unique culinary experiences created by Shilpa Sharma and Punam Singh.

From the ambience in the courtyard of a refurbished Portuguese home, to the quaint rooms within the home, you can switch off from the madness and switch to the quaint and calm vibes.

From the menu to staff recommendations and live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while sharing space with three boutique lifestyle stores – Ellementary, Shades of India and Post Box, it’s all an experience to remember. Pritha Sen and Gregory Bazire have put their hearts, minds and culinary experience to share their cultural legacies with guests who only leave vowing to come back again.

Mixologist, Evgenya Prazdnik has shaken and stirred her way across the world for 14 years and has done some great things for the bar menu. The cocktails are special and there’s at least one for everyone to try out. The gin-based cocktails are equally fascinating as are the selection of wines and other spirits.

Tatine de pafait de foe voaille au Poto (Chicken liver mousse) was delicate and scrumptious. With a hint of port wine and served with onion confit and condiments on a crispy French baguette, this entrée set the tone for what to expect.

And when it comes to the rich and flavoursome Bengali cuisine, there was no going wrong with the Taka-Luchi Alu Dom (Cocktail Luchi bites). The cocktail-sized puff wrapped around curried baby potatoes is a combo.

If you love the tang of mustard sauce, the Kasundi chicken on skewers is luscious and soft; so well marinated. Just as Goans love their sea fish, Bengalis love their fresh water fish, and if you want to try something fishy, yet a heritage – the Bangla Ghorowa Maacher Thala is a beautiful fish mezze platter that is accompanied with Baqarkhani roti.

I kept digging into this divine platter that had five delightful preparations. The Kumror Chhyanchra: red pumpkin cooked with fish; Loittya Maachher Jhuri: fresh Bombay duck pate; Chingri Bata: steamed and mashed freshwater prawns along with Maachher Deemer Tauk: fish roe relish and the Bengali version of gunpowder called Til Badamer Jhuri. This one really got me excited for its simplicity yet uniqueness, and changed a lot of my perceptions around Indian food.

The Creole style cooked prawns were extremely light and simple. On a bed of aubergine mousse the prawns had a light flavouring with a little heat. Simple and tasty, the prawns are flavoured with a little heat, thanks to French West Indies Islands. The grilled fish with Hollandaise sauce may sound Dutch but is done the French way – grilled and served with vegetables on the side. And if you love risotto, the Porcini mushroom risotto is supreme in texture, and has the smoothness that comes from the parmesan cheese.

On a night that was quite chilly, this was very comforting.

But then, wait… there was more in store, the very famous Kosha Mangsho that was well cooked and is synonymous with Bengali cuisine. Served along with a basic lentil preparation and some sweet chutney with luchi, it’s a meal in itself that takes you all the way to Bengal in seconds as the tender slow cooked meat bursting with flavours is dug into.

Not a vegetarian fan otherwise, but the Alu jhingey posto had my heart. Made with potato and ridge gourd and poppy seeds, this simple dish went well with a luchi or white rice.

Having carved a niche in Bombay, Mustard has created its base in Goa too, and shifting from Sangolda to Anjuna is definitely a good move. There’s so much to savour from a well curated menu.

But, there’s one thing for sure, nothing will disappoint you whether you’ve tried Bengali and French cuisine before or not. Manager Floyd Fernandes who has been with the brand for a over two years now, having moved from Mustard Mumbai, along with his team of dedicated staff are on their toes, offering you an experience par excellence.

My foodie friend who loves her food sojourns described her outing at Mustard as:  “I loved how mustard as a spice was used to marry both Bengali and French cuisine to suit a diverse palate.”

There are several new incorporations that you will find if you’ve been a regular at Mustard. While the focus on Mustard remains their forte, serving fresh, home-cooked style food is what makes Mustard stand out.

Open for lunch as well as dinner, guests can also opt to buy freshly prepared whole grain mustard, red chilli mustard, pesto mustard and Dijon mustard that are available and also served with the bread basket as an aperitif.

How else could such a great meal end?

Steamed yoghurt (Bhapa doi) that’s popular in Bengal and a Buckhweat financier made gluten-free and served with pistachio ice cream and apricot coulis ended it all for us on an extremely high note with great hope towards an exciting food journey this 2020.