A feel (and taste) of Goa
Serving: Goan (Catholic)
Atmospherics: If there was a family-run restaurant anywhere in Goa, it would be a lot like Bernardo’s, now in its 14th year of operations! There are remarkably few eateries run by individuals in the NCR, perhaps because of the sheer tidal wave of paper work that needs to be accomplished: it is much easier for a team to tackle it, rather than a couple who are getting on in years. Kudos to Chris and Cress Fernandes who have changed the address of Bernardo’s half a dozen times, but who continue to keep up the quality, serving coastal food in an inland city, all this time. Supermart 1 is full of small-sized eateries, and for sheer staying power and effortless ease, Bernardo’s has become the Big Daddy of them all. There is an enclosed verandah at the back and though family photographs still form the focus of the décor, the cheerful table-cloths and curtains brighten up a corner of Haryana to approximate Goa: the Konkani music helps too.
Table talk: the mainstays of the menu are seafood (fish and prawns) and pork. This branch of Goan food has little for the vegetarian. There are few chicken and mutton dishes: cafreal (Rs 675/375 full/half) being the most popular. Pao con chouriço (Rs 525) features the deservedly popular Goa pork sausages made and smoked in the Bernardo’s kitchen. Flavoured with Goan toddy vinegar and red chillies, they are as good as the best you’d buy in Goa and not surprisingly, they are sold over the counter as well. However, it is the array of fish curries that is at the heart of Bernardo’s. Caldeen (Rs 725/625 prawns/fish) is a pale lemon gravy; caril de Goa (Rs 725/625) is the everyday fish curry, where the fish changes daily but the masalas don’t, ambotik (shark/boneless fish Rs 625) that is spicy and sour, the better to cut out the fattiness of shark and samarachi kodi (Rs 725) that has roasted coconut and mango as a souring agent. Each curry is made in the traditional way with freshly grated coconuts from which the milk has been extracted. Bernardo’s is more classic than many restaurants in Goa, incredibly enough.
Plus and minus: The best vegetarian dish, khatkhate, is available on special request; the prawn balchao is a watered down version of the real thing.
Must try: chicken xacuti, chouriço and potato curry, sannas
Food: 3.50; Service: 3.00; Décor: 3.50
A 237 Supermart I, DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon
Ph: 6518323, 4057067
Open from 12 noon to 10.30 pm
Alcohol licence awaited shortly; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 1,500