Eating out: Carnival De Goa is unpretentious, serves up a hot plateful, and is almost value for money
Carnival de Goa has a busy afternoon; tables are packed with large groups of friends and colleagues. The manager magnanimously allows me to choose where I want to sit; my options are limited and I don’t give it much thought. The place is bustling and loud, and I want to make it quick. I peek at the other tables and something tells me that the meals are the way to go.
“One chicken meals, coming right up!” he exclaimed and one did, except, we ordered two. The meal includes a large portion of rice and a sizable serving of chicken and gravy along with a leg of chicken cafreal, clams, a vegetable sabzi, vegetable gravy, papad and a shot glass of solkadi.
The solkadi throws a punch that primes me for the rest of the meal, and I am prepared for the heat and sweat. I use my fingers to make a crater in my bed of rice and fill the well with gravy and a succulent piece of chicken. There are no airs about Carnival De Goa and it’s comforting to be able to tear the meat and feel the grainy, tangy masala of the chicken cafreal on your fingers.
The wait for the second meal, the king fish fry and the beef pepper fry is long and grating. In the meantime they bring us a portion of roast beef with pav, which is really good, but don’t be surprised if you recognise the masala from… I don’t know, may be the cafreal. The wait for the rest of our lunch was spent playing a round of ‘What would I eat if I were a vegetarian..’ with the menu card. Vegetarians have dal varan or split red lentil curry, seasonal vegetable gravy and shallow fried banana among a few options.
The beef pepper fry when it arrived was fairly disappointing. However, the king fish rava fry, with a squeeze of lemon that you can ask for, was worth the wait.
You are sniffling and mopping your brow, you like it but you cannot stand it, and then some fresh lime soda to exhilarate your tastebuds. Lunch is done, and it is time for dessert – caramel custard that came firm, soft and cold with a generous glaze of burnt syrup. The bebinca with ice cream disintegrated under the pressure of the spoon, but so what if it is in sheets or a stack as long as it tastes good.
Carnival De Goa is simple, straightforward food that comes with a no nonsense attitude. You don’t have to like them, and they are not eager to please. It is not great food or ambience or even reliable – but it is a good time and you will go back again just for the comfort and convenience of the place. Visit the restaurant at 8/6, Ulsoor Road. For reservations call 7676767620.
Keywords: Carnival De Goa