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Imagine a 4-course spread under starlit skies as a chilly breeze from the Arabian Sea gushes in the Christmas spirit, whilst you are perched up atop a fort with fine cutlery and soothing music – a magical feeling indeed. Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel in Pernem, North Goa, celebrated the beginning of this festive season with a lavish meal at its fine-dining restaurant – The Tavern Dining Room, Verandah & Bar. The meal was created, showcased and inspired by Chef Christopher Saleem who is renowned for the delectable food served at his restaurants in Goa – Sublime and Elevar.
The four-course spread was paired with the finest wines from India and France, chosen by a sommelier from Sula. The evening began early with a welcome aperitif as the guests basked in the full glory of the beautiful sunsets at Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel. Singer-songwriter Natalie Matos, adding a background score to the scene, accompanied by Vivek Philippe on percussion, belted melodious tunes. Their uplifting performance leads one on a unique journey that wound its way across a number of genres including folk, soul, jazz, R&B and pop, with a number of their own originals and recognisable covers that brought a great buzz to the night.
As the evening went on, an amuse bouche of watermelon and feta salad with coriander and mint dressing was served that was light on the stomach and tongue both. The first course at this sit-down dinner was a roasted cauliflower and garlic soup with crispy spinach that offered a medley of textures. This was paired with a Sula Sauvignon Blanc 2016. A filo pastry came next, stuffed with prawn, ricotta and asparagus on a black tahini and saffron. For vegetarians, the filo simply skipped the prawn. Both sang with a medley of flavours and were accompanied perfectly with Sula Sauvignon Blanc 2016.
The third course brought continents together – a Goan-inspired dish for meat lovers and a French-inspired one for vegetarians. There was a rawa-fried fillet of sea bass on Goan chorizo risotto served with crispy fried okra and tambdi bhaji (red amaranth) that offered a modern take on local favourites. Across the divide were zucchini cups overflowing with ratatouille and herbs served on a bed of potato gratin, green spinach and white wine cream sauce. Both dishes were paired with Le Gran Pinot Noir from France 2015. The dessert tied it all in, with the silken tofu cheesecake with ginger crumble and pickled lime. It was dainty and delicious, allowing uncommon flavours to fuse perfectly together. A serving of Sula Late Harvest Chenin Blanc 2015 came alongside.
The event was curated by Chef Christopher Saleem and supported by Sula Wines, artisan read company – Rare Republic in Siolim and cheese speciality firm Fromagerie Happy Cow with their locally made produce.