I recently happened to attend the Andhra Food Festival underway at The Square at Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel in Candolim. It is an eclectic mix of authentic Andhra style cuisine by Chef Kandregula Naidu from Novotel Vizag and a variety of global cuisine for those who want to balance the spicy Andhra food with more familiar food. The traditional Andhra cuisine comprising of spicy delicacies is served until the 28th of April for dinner. Here’s a glimpse.
The tastefully done interiors, arty walls, ambient lighting and soft background music creates a great ambiance for dinner, to savour some authentic Andhra food. Surprisingly, they have a buffet comprising of a salad counter, live stations serving eggs, Indian cuisine and Oriental cuisine, and a separate dessert counter.
We did have a look at the food and tried a couple of items. Here’s a colourful plate comprising of baked veggie lasgna, grilled fish in lemon caper sauce, herb jus tikka and corn, coconut and onion tempering salad. I quite enjoyed the grilled succulent fish bursting with flavours. The chicken could have been better and the corn salad, though looked great, did not meet my expectations.
Our mocktails arrived meanwhile and we loved how they were presented and how good they tasted. We opted for a virgin pinacolada, a watermelon daiquiri and a virgin mojito. All of the summer favourites were refreshingly good and gave a great start to the meal.
Coming to the Andhra menu, we tried a bunch of starters, to begin with. Though a lot of it seemed interesting, the names were very hard to pronounce for us. We started with the Karivepaku Chepa Vepadu – Andhra style fish coated in a batter of gram flour, tossed with tomato, onion and chilly. It was fiery pungent, but somehow, lacked flavour. The fish in itself, however was fresh and succulent.
Next up was the Godavari Royyala Vepudu – an Andhra style tiger prawn dish. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between the two, but the spicy prawns were juicy and well cooked. The Miriyala Mamsam Vepudu – mutton pepper fry was spicy, yet delicious. It’s somewhat similar to the Mangalorean pepper fry which I loved while in Mangalore.
Moving on to the mains, we tried a spicy chicken and prawn curry with fragrant tomato rice. Being a rice lover, I thoroughly enjoyed my mains. The gravies are strikingly similar and for someone who was isn’t used to having Andhra food very often, quite a task to distinguish between flavours. Just to mention, they serve a range of biryanis too!
They have two Andhra desserts on the menu which one can try. However, we sticked to the dessert on the counter because the mud cake and other dessert looked so inviting. I loved the macarons they had! Overall, it was a good experience trying a different cuisine prepared by a chef right here in Goa! Do try their mocktails, they are soooo good!
Text by: Flexcia D'souza