How excited am I! I couldn’t wait to tell you about this new restaurant I tried on my trip home to Goa in April and have been talking about ever since! Amavi by Sumera is a fairly new restaurant that merges casual with hip in the most seamless of ways. It is quickly gaining reputation for being one of the best restaurants in Goa, jumping its way into the list of places that every tourist (and of course, local) must definitely visit.
If you hadn’t heard the rave reviews already, Amavi in Calangute, it is known for its exceptional food that can compete with some of the best fine dining restaurants you’d have visited. And I’m not just saying that from my personal experience, but on the night I dined there, the group on the table next to mine had the same thing to say, and I vehemently agree.
From serving up some of the most succulent meaty dishes with utmost finesse, Amavi will ensure you never have to sit through a sub standard chop again.
Amavi has a contemporary, elegant ambiance that is a fine blend of toned-down glam and rustic touches. Designed by international architects, the restaurant is extremely spacious, with only around 15-18 tables spread over 3 large sections. Save for the top and two sides, it is virtually open on the others. The patch of lawn and addition of plants add to the calming atmosphere. Overall, it is an ideal space for a catch up with friends or an intimate dinner.
Smartly dressed staff move fluidly against the backdrop of brown brick surfaces. They are well spoken, attentive and well versed with not only the menu, but the actual dishes themselves. I was torn over what to order on a menu where every dish looks better than the next, and I’m sure the staff are used to seeing patrons debate over dishes. They readily offer suggestions and towards the end of the meal Chef Sumera makes it a point to visit every table to ensure that guests enjoyed their meal.
After dining at Amavi, I can confidently say that it is unparalleled right from the start! Chef Sumera, the culinary wizard behind the scenes, works with the best quality ingredients and not only extracts as much flavour as possible, but also adds her own touches in the form of purees, garnishes, coulis and classic as well as innovative techniques, making each dish as visually appealing as it is outstanding on the taste parameter. While the menu is partial towards non-vegetarians, there are also options for vegetarians to choose from. Point to whatever you want on the menu and commence the feast.
Warm Danish Blue Cheese Cloud – I was wowed straight off the bat! If clouds were made of cheese, this is what it would taste like. Slightly charred on the outside, this fluffy, pillowy dish was lighter-than-air and every bite had us squirming with pleasure! The way the delicate cheesy sponge melts away in your mouth is divine and the candied nuts at the bottom add a delightful crunch with a touch of sweetness.
Thyme and Salt Cured Tenderloin Carpaccio – Carpaccio is an acquired taste, and if you think you’d enjoy cured meat, go for it! A dish like this is a pleasing gourmet appetizer and this one came garnished with parmesan shavings, arugula and thyme that kicked up the flavour and texture. Personally, I can only eat a slice or two of carpaccio; so unfortunately, my mom and I couldn’t go through this one.
Special Spice Rubbed Grilled Chicken – With compressed honeydew melon adding a juicy sweetness, wasabi and pickled ginger for spice and sweet soy to tie it all together, this dish was vibrant in appearance and taste alike. The meat is tender and delightfully smoky thanks to those lightly charged edges. Overall, a satisfying, yet tad funky dish!
Parsi Mutton Chops – Top notch, to say the least! Who doesn’t love a crispy coating over tender meat? I have yet to find such deliciously spiced, crunchy coating anywhere else. Mustard emulsion and balsamic onion confit added a nice kick and aromatic flair but what really blew me away was the fantastic bed of pea puree and mint gastrique! When I visit Amavi again, I’m going to find it hard to look beyond the Parsi Mutton Chops and order something else because it was just so darn good.
A Take on a Wellington – Pink roast tenderloin medals coated in delicate pastry, served with wild mushroom sautee and port jus. The seasoning on the meat itself is subtle, but when the jus soaks in, it is next-level yum, allowing you to appreciate it for its simplicity. So seductive that you keep coming back for one more bite.
Whimsical Chocolate Espresso Sampler – On finishing your main course, if you have space for afters, you, my friend, have a killer appetite. Amavi has some fabulous deconstructed desserts that are infused with all sorts of beautiful textures and flavours. I tried the Whimsical Chocolate Espresso Sampler on the staff’s recommendation. Silky chocolate mousse, a decadent mini chocolate brownie, espresso gelato, brown sugar crumble and coffee caramel sauce poured on top are elements that made up this dish. It was a surprise in every bite –with different bitter-sweet elements being thrust into the spotlight. I won’t share a picture of this one – I’ll leave you to be surprised when you order it.
I’ve got to say, on first seeing the ginormous menu, I found the prices were a little steep for the middle class pocket. Although, in all fairness, while they do befit a place offering an ambiance and service of this level, my first impression was that it wouldn’t be the kind of place I’d go to for a casual weekend dinner, unless it was celebratory.
By the end of the meal however, my views changed. For portion sizes and quality like this, I think the prices are pretty reasonable. So don’t let the ‘fine dining’ aspect of it scare you away, food aficionados. Eating at Amavi is a holistic experience, deeply pleasurable and luxurious without being ostentatious or facetiously opulent! This place is a treat, in every sense of the word. It should undoubtedly top your list of restaurants to visit in Goa. It tops mine!
Amavi – Cottage 88, Behind the Art Chamber , Guara Vaddo, Calangute, Goa 403516
Cost for 2 – Rs. 2500 (excluding alcohol)
Until next time!
P.S. My meal was sponsored, however, views, as always, are my own.