Bernardo’s, Gurgaon – Goan Restaurant

[Rated: 4.5/5]
What does it take to be a restaurant which, in its eight-year-long existence, changes location six times across south Delhi and Gurgaon and is still followed by its loyalists? Well, here is what seems to be Bernardo’s simple recipe – take a small space, decorate it simply, serve up authentic and fresh Goan food… and add the personal touch. Like some old black and white photographs from the family album, lovely goan music, cane furniture with brightly coloured table cloth.
“I cook home-style goan food”, says Chef and co-owner Crescentia Fernandes, “this is the kind of food you will find in any goan catholic home. I have resisted any attempts to pander to the taste of Delhi, because then I cannot call my place a goan restaurant.”
Crescentia Fernandes
So on her recommendation, I start with the exciting sounding prawn recheado (Rs 375), which are succulent prawns filled with fiery red looking recheado masala made from red chillies and spices ground in vinegar and shallow fried. The prawns are fresh, and retain the crispy bite. The heat of the masala is a perfect balance to the mellow taste of the fish.
For the main course the chef suggests a goan staple – caril de peixe (Rs 295) or the goan fish curry  cooked with spices (red chillies, coriander and cumin), simmered in coconut milk and flavoured with cocum. The curry does a great job in capturing the true taste of goa. The peixe ambotik (Rs 295), a pretty hot fish curry, is cooked with red chillies and cocum, and served with rice or pau (I choose rice). It is fiery, and is truly enjoyable.
Caldinho ‘D Camarao
chicken xacuti

The sorpotel (Rs 280) is finely diced pork and liver, boiled, fried and then cooked together with ground spices and vinegar and kept to mature for a couple of days. Like its richer cousin, the vindalho de porco (Rs 280), it tastes better when kept for a few days. This is a multi-layered dish – sweet and tangy at first, with a background of heat. What the palate discovers soon thereafter is the meaty notes, and then crisp yet perfectly cooked bite of the diced pork and liver. The accompanying pauis ideal to soak up the gravy.

Among the other popular dishes here are the prawn curry (Rs 395), chourico (goan sausages; Rs 280), and chicken xacuti (Rs 220). The vegetarian options are fewer, but nevertheless authentic and tasty. There is veg xacuti (eggplant cooked in a thick paste of roasted coconut and spices, Rs 130), fugad (Rs 130) a dry dish of stir fried finely sliced cabbage with grated coconut, and temperade (Rs 130), which is okra simmered in mild coconut-based gravy.
It is customary to end a Goan meal with Bebinca (Rs 50), an intricate dessert baked in 16 layers, and how can I say no? The dish resembles a slice of a cake, and is rich though thankfully not as sweet as other Indian desserts. The texture is gooey and soft. Bernardo’s also serves many home made cakes.
Bernardo’s promises and delivers the true, authentic taste of Goa. If you haven’t been there, you should.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 5.0 | Ambience: 3.5 | Service: 4.5 | Overall: 4.5
Meal for Two: Rs1000 | Alcohol: No | Credit Card: Yes| Timings: 1:00 pm – 3:30pm; 7:30pm – 10:30pm
Address: Bernardo’s Goan Restaurant, B-229, Super Mart-1, DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon | Phone: 0124-6518323/ 98115-71379
– Aalok Wadhwa

This article was first published in Friday Gurgaon

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