Sussegado -Just like Goa at Spice Haat, Hyatt Regency Chennai



Sussegado  means "take it easy"; where better to sussegado than in Goa. But guess what - Goa has come to Chennai, to Spice Haat, Hyatt Regency Chennai to be more specific.

My friend and I were at the bustling Hyatt restaurant to review their ongoing 'Sussegado - Just like Goa' food fest. I've never been to Goa but most people go there for the sea, sun, feni and food. The first two I have plenty of at my doorstep, the third I get from friends returning from a Goan holiday, but Goan food, I'm told, is a different kettle of fish. For a while, I debated if I should go for the meal with a boxful of tissues. That's what I've heard of the spice levels of Goan food.

Chef Edridge Vaz from Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa has curated a wonderful menu that represents the flavours and colours of Goa on a plate. Twelve Goan specials every day and it's a different menu every day. And there was no need for the tissues as he's used Kashmiri chillies so there is plenty of colour and tolerable heat.

Lively Goan music was playing as we stepped in. We didn't understand a word but it sure did put us into the mood. I could almost imagine myself sitting under a palm tree on a sandy Goan beach, sipping a cold cold beer...

Prawn peri peri; lamb croquettes

We started with mushroom peri peri - mushrooms cooked in vinegar and peri peri chillies, chicken jeri meri (don't you love the rhymes?), prawn peri peri and semolina crusted lamb croquettes that were served at the table. Our favourite was the lamb. The crisp crust was the perfect foil for the tender lamb mince. Jeri meri was boneless chicken with a coat of jeera and pepper. It was a seamless combination, neither spice overwhelmed and the chicken was sooo tender! My most favourite was the prawn peri peri, loved that it tasted like a well made sambal though the prawns were a bit overcooked.

Fish guisado; chicken xacuti

Chef Vaz took us around the buffet counters, explaining the ingredients and method of cooking. Goan food has a lot of Portuguese influence, hence the peri peri chillies, some amount of influence from Mozambique and even from faraway Brazil! A bit of a surprise when we learnt that coconut is used extensively in Goan cooking. So definitely there was fish guisado (regarded as Goan comfort food), chicken xacuti and an amazing prawn and okra caldin. The flavour of the prawns had permeated the okra and the coconut milk was similarly flavoured. The best accompaniment for the caldin is rice.

Prawn and okra caldin


Cabbage foogath; dal ros; pumpkin mergol; tarkarachem hoomand

The vegetarian menu too looked interesting and we loved the pumpkin mergol, cooked in coconut milk, tarkarachem hoomand, a mixed veg curry with coconut milk and drumsticks, cabbage foogath and dal ros - lentils cooked in coconut milk. Another surprise was when we learnt that Goan food is served with red parboiled rice (there's white rice too).  My only grouse was that the seafood was overcooked, I guess it's a problem when serving seafood at a buffet.

So where was the vindaloo? Since we asked for it, we got it.

Pork vindaloo

Tender cubes of pork in fiery red gravy and the piquancy of the toddy vinegar gave the whole dish a wonderful zing. And no, it wasn't super spicy, just a pleasant heat and perfectly seasoned.

Isn't Goa known for Goan sausages?

Feijoada

What we got was feijoada, cubes of pork, beef and navy beans cooked in a gravy that tasted like a stewed version of a Goan sausage. It was delicious. Again, it looked super hot, wasn't and tasted fabulous.

Mangane

Dessert was mangane - lentils, sago and coconut pudding served with jaggery. It was like an almost set version of a payasam and it was delicious.      
   
Doce; bebinca

There was also bebinca, truly a labour of love. Cake batter made of egg yolk, coconut milk and sugar is baked layer by layer. The resultant cake is soft and flavourful. We also had doce, a sweet made from gram, jaggery and coconut. It was light and the bits of coconut provided a crunchy texture.

Well, that was great food, and chatting with the chef, he told us he was taught to cook by his mother. That explained it - all that we ate sat light in our tummies and it was like having a home cooked meal.

I'm so inspired to go book a ticket to Goa. And sit under a palm tree on a Goan beach - looks like it will happen.

Sussegado!!!  

Catch Sussegado - Just like Goa at Spice Haat, Hyatt Regency Chennai on till 14th September.
Dinner Buffet @ 1550/++
Sunday Brunch @ 1850++
Call +91 44 61001234 for reservations.


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