>> For over a decade and a half, the Fiesta in Baga has been the place to go to when one wants an evening‘s worth of celebration, romance and great food. Perched on a busy road that leads up to the Arabian Sea, Fiesta is a sprawling al-fresco establish that undulates through nooks and corners and offers vistas of whimsy and that particular style of decoration that is referred to as “Goa chic’.
It was launched in 1996 and now 16 years later after a lot of hard work and dedication has achieved a formidable reputation, as one of Goa’s must visit fine dining eateries. Born to an Indian father and a German mother the curiously named Yellow, resembles Lisa Ray and speaks in an accent that is hard to define.
“I was making homemade pasta at the age of four!” she tells me, “Today my eight-year-old son, Kaii is now following in my footsteps,” she says flushed with delight. “But shhh... most people wonder who our surprise chef has been.” Yellow describes the cuisine at Fiesta as “creative European chic, fine-dining of wholesome quality gourmet food.
“For me,” she says, “Food is not only a passion but a way of life. Our thin crust, wood fire-oven pizza is absolutely amazing and takes you to the cobbled streets of Italy, the salads are a delicious combination of colours, textures and delicate testes. The death by chocolate dessert will surely get you entangled in chocolate heaven”. We spent Saturday night at Fiesta where we dined on ravioli, salads, sea food and a chocolate cake under the benign gaze of a Buddha and a sky filled with stars, while outside the Baga street, the crowds of off-season tourists ebbed and flowed like a river’s tributaries.
Everything was scrumptious at Yellow’s Fiesta from the starters to the cocktails and even the espresso was noteworthy. “The secret recipe to my cooking will never be revealed, but I can definitely say that my secret ingredient is a whole lot of love, “says the beautiful Yellow with pride.
Take a bow Manohar Parrikar!
>> A word about the Goa cops. They were all over Baga on Saturday night. Manning the traffic, politely guiding tourists, lending a sympathetic ear to the needy and establishing law and order and in one case even offering a ride in their police car to an octogenarian diner at Baga so she wouldn’t have to walk the half mile to get to her car parked on a road they had declared closed.
Also, we are not the type to give drainage reports but Goa did look remarkably cleaner, the houses appeared as if they’d been painted recently and there was a general air of hygiene and order. We could have sworn that the sleaze of yesteryear seemed somewhat less apparent. Is Manohar Parrikar, the IIT educated, newly installed BJP CM due for some accolades?
Goa’s newest dining jewel
>> If Fiesta speaks of an established Goan dining experience, the newly opened Travel Bar at Calangute is one of the most delightful additions to Goa’s gourmet experience. For business partners Vinay and Angeline, the tiny artfully decorated café, which serves some of the best food available in Goa their maiden venture is a dream come true ... “Its where wanderlust meets fine cuisine,” says the feisty Angeline, “Where one can experience good food in all its freshness in a courtyard styled ambiance.”
Discovered by the international musician Biddu and my brother and sister in-law Suresh and Devieka Bhojwani, pioneers of the Goa getaway experience since 1975, the Travel Bar serves as a pit stop for travellers, who come from far and wide for its salads, baguettes and burgers, but by evenings it somehow gets transformed in to a candle light, dreamy international bistro, a surprisingly sophisticated cuisine of salads, grills and pastas.
Angeline, who hails from a sleepy village in south Goa, and loves travelling runs the Travel Bar with a lightness of touch that adds to its charm, and Vinay’s proficiency in art, architecture and music have made the Travel Bar one of Goa’s best kept secrets. Order the mussels in butter garlic scoop it up with poi bread and down it all with the chilled Prosseco brut on the menu. And what’s more true to its commitment to travellers the Travel Bar remains open all year round!