The Mediterranean Vibe at Tamarin Gusto | Calangute
Tamarin has rebranded it self to Gusto and has a new address at E/1-282 Gaura Vaddo, Calangute, Goa.
After spending a slow long evening, enjoying the beach view, with the breeze in your hair, watching the sunset at Calangute, you will probably want to head down to dinner. However, with the choices you have, you might not be able to make up your mind. We are making this a lot easier and so will just send you to the best in the area. Head down to Tamarin Gusto and you are in for a Mediterranean treat.
Tamarin Gusto was not always the restaurant you see today and the menu came about through a lot of changes and modifications over the six years that they have been getting their roots set in. Tamarin Gusto has also been given a Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor for receiving positive reviews throughout 2013 to 2016. It is one of the only restaurants in North Goa offering genuine imported Biodiversity Friendly Black Baza coffee. Some have even said the best coffee in Goa. Why not come and taste for yourselves.
The restaurant is managed by the Dar family; namely Jennifer, the manager, Bilal, the head chef and Sayeed, the sous chef. When in conversation with Jennifer she told us how her husband and she always wanted to start their own restaurant and the result was Tamarin Gusto. After spending their entire lives in the hospitality industry, the next logical step for the husband-wife duo was running something of their own.
Tamarin Gusto serves a wide variety of Mediterranean food and when you come to think about it, they serve food from almost every country around the Mediterranean sea. Whether you are planning to head down for a small snack, coffee or cake, or dinner before turning out for the night, Tamarin Gusto has a menu that can suit your needs. Their menu focuses heavily on North African and middle eastern dishes. Since Bilal and Sayeed, the brothers and owners, have their base in Kashmir, they added a section of their menu focusing on the wondrous and diverse cuisine found there. That’s not all, Bilal and Jennifer take great pride in producing a majority of their ingredients in-house itself, along with baked goods, bread, and yoghurt among others. As mentioned, most of their ingredients are produced on site but there are times where they have to import if they do not have the amount they require. A lot of the items used are imported from Kashmir which gives them an edge over other restaurants in Goa.
They even have a small Deli in the back of their restaurant where their customers can buy a few of the products that they use in their kitchen. Following through with their principle of supporting small industries, that is where most of their products come from.
Before the food, a few seconds have to be given to the menu which has been beautifully put together. The dishes aren’t just arranged according to the different sections but also by the different parts of the Mediterranean. Just to make sure that everyone is on the same page, the management has taken the trouble to add a map of the Mediterranean countries on their menu so you can see where your food is coming from.
We started out with a bottle of wine, that went along with some tasty Lebanese Beef Kibbeh, which was like nothing we had ever tasted before. The meat was tender, and crisp and stayed together while melting in your mouth. Bilal mentioned that the meat was thoroughly tenderized to reach that level of softness.
We cannot fail to mention the Pomegranate mojito, which other than being very fruity also had a mint twist to it. This was followed by the hummus which was again like nothing we have ever tasted. We also enjoyed the Stuffed Calamari which was a preparation without the usual Semolina encrustment but instead stuffed three different styles of tomato: fresh, sun-dried & black aged.
How can we forget the giant Moroccan prawns, Bilal managed to come up with the right amount of tomato and chilli making them neither spicy nor sweet so we received the perfect blend of the two with the prawns. Sadly, though, we were only two of us with a very very vast menu, we were just helpless, but are pretty sure that it would have been very good all the same.
Jennifer makes sure that she tells all her customers, if they really want to enjoy the food, they should eat what they would not easily be served anywhere else.
For the main course, we thought we would move back to India and try out the Kashmiri food. Jennifer suggested we try out the Mutton Rogan Josh, one of the most traditional dishes of the Kashmiri region, rich in the flavour of dried chillies, along with the Kashmiri Chicken Biryani. We made conversation while it arrived and when it did, were we in for a treat.
More than looking appealing, which the food really was, the biryani had the perfect ratio of rice and meat, it had the right amount of masala without leaving it too moist, while the chicken was tender but firmly cooked. What distinguishes the Kashmiri Biryani from traditional Indian Biryanis popular in Hyderabad and Lucknow, is the blend of spices and masalas unique to the Kashmiri region that leaves a hot tinge at the back of your mouth and will keep you longing for the next bite.
Although we were stuffed to the brim, there was no way we could resist the dessert. We had to agree to Jennifer’s suggestion of going with the Lemon tart. It was as heavenly as she promised it would be with the lemon providing us the kick we needed to stay awake the entire ride home.
They have the largest menu of Mediterranean food that we have come across in Goa. There are very few others restaurants in the state with a similar menu. If you feel like the Mediterranean is a bit too much, there is always the Kashmiri menu that you can turn to. The head chef being Kashmiri, you will not be disappointed.
Address: Guarra Vaddo, Calangute, Calangute, Goa 403515 E/1-282 GAURA VADDO, Calangute, Goa 403516
Phone: +91 954 547 7670
Pic credits: Jill D’Souza