Goan Food at Diya, the Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon

[singlepic id=1725 w=80 h=92 float=left]Diya at the Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon delivers such a faultless dining experience for most part, I look forward to my next visit here, unlike many other restaurants. The service is prompt with being subservient, polite and engaging without being syrupy or chatty and the food of course is great! So, coming to the point Diya is running a Goan food festival and keeping up to Chef Kunal’s standards, it’s definitely a must visit. There were a few things I thought needed a closer look, but we’ll save those for later.

[singlepic id=1040 w=320 h=240 float=left]We tried portions of Galinha Cafreal [550] (tender pieces of chicken in a delicious, spicy masala), Mushroom and Cheese Rissois [450] (deep fried pastry like parcels stuffed with a creamy mixture of cheese and mushrooms), Vegetable Fottas [450] (stuffed, deep fried, semolina coated rolls), Peri Peri grilled Canadian Lobster [2000] (lobster, coated with masala paste, grilled whole), Japanese Baby Crabs [150 each] (tiny flash fried soft shelled crabs), Silver Pomfret grilled with Goan Masala [700] (whole pomfret, coated with a blend of spices and grilled), Chicken Xacuti [650] (chicken in a very traditional Goan blend of flavors), Mutton Vindaloo [700] (the most cliched Goan dish in the world, distinct due to the use of Goan vinegar and loads of chili), Black Eyed Beans Masala [425] (beans cooked in mildly spiced, coconut gravy), Goan Masala Dal [425], Mushroom and Peas Xacuti [500] with rice [250], Pao [150] (type of leavened bread) and Poie [150] (type of flat bread, similar to Pita) followed by Bebinca (layered, baked, sweet pancakes) with Ice Cream [350] and Fruits [250] for dessert.

Though I may be going against the terms of my membership at CIC (Clan of Incorrigible Carnivores), all the vegetarian dishes were very very good. Babiita, our guest for the evening, couldn’t resist a few more helpings of the Goan Masala Dal despite the huge amounts of food we were stuffing ourselves with. The Black Eyed Beans (lobiya) Masala were very good too. Babiita’s grilled Pomfret was delicious and done just right while my Lobster grilled in Peri Peri Masala was well done too, though I couldn’t figure out why it was distinctly sweet.

[nggallery id=70]

My grouse the last time I wrote about Diya, the Leela Kempinski was that the spices in their food tend to be toned down rather drastically, probably to cater to the tourist and expat crowd, and it was the same this time – low spice and sparse use of that lovely Goan vinegar. Looking at the execution though, I’ll very confidently blame it on policy rather than talent. The other disappointment was the complete absence of pork dishes, without which a Goan food experience isn’t complete for me and many others I know. That’s all, and these shouldn’t stop you from visiting the Goan Food Festival at Diya, the Leela Kempinski.

Vegetarian or non vegetarian, you must visit Diya soon, because the festival is ending on the 27th of March and if you like your grilled seafood, there isn’t a better opportunity in town at the moment.

– Sid
PS: They have live music too, though I thought their non-English numbers to be much better than the English ones.

Meal for two: Rs 2800 [without grilled seafood and liquor]

Sid Khullar

Sid Khullar is the founder of Chef at Large, a blog that began in 2007. He enjoys cooking, writing, travelling and technology in addition to being a practising Freemason. Health and wellness is a particularly passionate focus. Sid prefers the company of food and animals to most humans, and can be reached at sid.khullar@chefatlarge.in.