“Welcome to our home, welcome to our kitchen” says the home page of Bernardo’s. I got the chance to be welcomed there last Saturday when I joined the Gurgaon Food Freaks for my first Gaonkhana.
The striking thing about Bernardo’s is the unpretentiousness of the place. Even with your eyes open you could miss the location, deep in the rear of Supermart 1 at DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon. The restaurant is small, so much so that with the 13 of us crowding in, it ran out of space. What it lacked in space though, it made up with the gastronomic delights that Crescentia had in store for us.
Ed: Luckily Bernardos is one of few restaurant who have consistently maintained their quality. To read about our last visit check, our last visit
The cutlery service was simple and no-nonsensical but the same cannot be said of the food that was being served. First on the block was Figado de Galinha, chicken liver. While I am lily-livered when it comes to eating the iron rich organ of the crowing bird, my fellow foodie urged me to taste the masala, which I did. It was rich with onion, tomato and special spices that reminded me of the southern mutton masala fry that my mum makes back home. Next was the Rawa fried fish. Hot off the frying pan, the crust was fine and what else, crusty, while the seer fish slice was done just right, soft and flaky. It was followed by what appeared like florets arranged neatly on a plate-Prawn Recheido. The fiery red colour of the marinade belied the subtle taste and the succulent texture of the prawns. Excellent.
With the appetizers having been polished off but my appetite only just whetted, I turned my attention to the evergreen, fiery red, Goan dish Pork Vindaloo. Moist morsels of the Pau bread dipped in the spicy, tangy curry were disappearing faster than the food being served. Not to be outdone, Goan Fish Curry was next on the serving queue. Served with fragrant yellow-coloured coconut rice, I was once again homesick, reminded of rice cooked in freshly-pressed coconut milk flavoured with a few sticks of whole spices. The seer fish did not disappoint and the curry was flavourful yet light, despite its coconut provenance.
Surprisingly, the Pork Crackling had all of us cackling as it turned out to be the black sheep of the meal. When the critics seated around the table noted that there were hardly any sparkle on the hard-to-chew crackling, it came about that Crescentia had no hand in its revelation but for those of a couple of well-intentioned Gurgaon Food Freaks! The sorceress that she is when it comes to food, she set about making amends and a while later voila, she had us all pigging on the crispy, tasty porcine rind.
The best was served last. The Crab Xacuti served as the last of the mains, was seafood extraordinaire. The coconut in the curry balanced the light pungency of tamarind. As I was no Jaws of James Bond fame, Crescentia kindly had the thick claws cracked open for me from the kitchen. That is how I came to taste the sweet meat that was not part of the dessert tray.
Having tasted the best of chorizos before, I had my fingers crossed but my mouth open when I spooned in a mouthful of Chourice Pulao that was served with the crab. Being a homemade pork sausage, flavoured with smoked chillies besides other spices, the dish held its fort against the original Iberian variety. Fresh coconut water served along with the meal played an unobtrusive role as a palate cleanser throughout. Lastly, the sweet and softly layered Bebinca served as dessert did well to settle the repast fit for kings and queens. Or, in this case Gurgaon Food Freak.
As I trooped out of the restaurant along with my fellow Foodies, with a smile on my lips and a glaze in my eyes that usually follows a hearty meal, I could not but reflect that my first Gaonkhana also happens to be my first Goankhana. Definitely, shall not be the last.
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