A Goan Lunch by Chef Sarita Carvalho at Tempero in ITC Grand Goa
I read about Chef Sarita and her Goan food earlier and always wanted to try her food. So, when we were offered to taste the Goan delicacies by the well-known Chef of the erstwhile Casa Sarita fame, we were indeed very excited. Chef Sarita Carvalho is the head chef of Tempero, where simple Goan ingredients unfold into a tale. Here, Goan Catholic food and Goan Saraswat food are served at their best versions, with no frills attached. The food by Chef Sarita has such a homely touch to it… something that sets her food apart from myriad Goan dishes found in popular restaurants and shacks across Goa. This Goan meal is different. It truly is!
We walk into Tempero in ITC Grand Goa after a relaxing morning spent at the nearby Arossim Beach. Tempero is a spacious restaurant with a relaxed Portuguese vibe. We look around to see the glass partitions that are added to separate our seating area for covid safety. Furthermore, we are relaxed to see how each cutlery/serveware on the table is sanitized and sealed in envelopes to follow Covid safety. This assurance of ITC Hotels (called #WeAssure) makes the overall dining experience a safe, enjoyable and a relaxed one for sure.
Chef Sarita greets us with a smile and tells us that she is self-taught with no culinary professional degree as such. Chef Sarita has many years of experience in Goan cuisine. She tells us about her culinary journey so passionately that we listen to her, engrossed. Her unpretentious and welcoming smile is enough to assure us that what is going to follow on our table will leave us enamoured. Embracing the true vibe of Goa through its food, she proves her mettle through each of her dishes. She values Goan vegetarian food as much as the non-vegetarian fare. Being so absorbed in Goa and its food culture, she adds a touch of sentiment to her food. Her Goan dishes are not heavy on the palate and are addictive enough for its patrons to keep coming back for more!
As I write and share these pictures with you all, I wish I could get to eat this meal again very soon. Here’s a rundown of the memorable Goan meal at Tempero in ITC Grand Goa. The finger-licking Goan starters are superb. We kick off with a tangy plate of Bharlelim Almi, where button mushrooms stuffed with finely chopped vegetables and cheese are smeared in a sweet and sour sauce. Simply brilliant.
Next follows a moreish plate of Squid Cafreal. Rings of squids in a coriander-based sauce taste great, with an overall sweet and spicy flavour.
Brimming with the umami of freshly caught seafood from the Goan waters, the Rawa Fried Fish is an absolute stunner, with a crispy coating of semolina and succulent fish fillets inside.
In the Mains, the Prawn Curry is to die for. Made in a coconut-based gravy, we finish off bowlfuls of the curry with Goan Rice. It is light and so soul-satisfying. The prawns are juicy and plump and cooked to perfection.
An okra dish seldom tastes so good! We take a bite of this Goan-style vegetarian dish and fall in love. We dig in! The Bhindi Sukhem is a must-order. The okra is cooked to a point where it still retains a bit of its crunch.
The spicy the Tenderloin Chilly Fry is worth mentioning, too! The meat is juicy and non-stretchy and the spices are well-absorbed.
The stunner, however, is the Pork Vindalho. With the right sweet, spicy and sour notes, this dish tastes best with traditional Goan Poie Bread, although the pairing with Goan rice will be great, too!
This Goan meal by Chef Sarita at Tempero in ITC Grand Goa is undoubtedly one of the best meals that we have had in Goa. Heart-warming Goan flavours served with love: that’s what Chef Sarita’s food is all about.