Restaurant Name: Cherry Tomato, Colva
I am normally not someone who takes the time-out to write a restaurant or food review. Its not that haven’t done one; too much of serious writing sometimes take the fun out of the glossy write-ups. But I cannot resist myself to write this article, which is a bit of a food review, restaurant review and a conversation with a young Goan restaurateur.
When a friend told me, we were going for lunch to ‘Cherry Tomato’ – a quaint yet trendy restaurant on the Margao- Colva. I was neither optimistic or pessimistic, I was indifferent. I expected to get a regular fare of Goan, Continental or Chinese food. But I when I reached the outlet, sat in its small courtyard on the cushioned sofa and glanced at the menu. I was pleasantly surprised. I was fascinated by the different unusual food items to offer; to me it appeared to be a fusion cuisine outlet, with the creativity of blending Indian, Mexican, Italian and American food in a chic and trendy manner.
Cherry Tomato – owned and managed by a young Goan Chef Max Almeida. Interestingly Max is not a educated in being a Chef. But has an incredible flair for cooking and learning to cook. With an education from the IHM in F&B, this young lad who worked on a Cruiseliner, was so passionate about the food at his outlet, that he personally supervises and prepares, it was almost infectious and gave me a feeling of pride to see such a young Goan think and act like an entrepreneur.
I started off with a Chicken Hawaiian Salad, while my friend decided to kick-off with a Chicken Ceasar Salad. Though not on the menu, Max, was a perfect host and decided to toss up a salad for my guest and a hungry me. I have eaten at some of the country’s best restaurant in some of the best hotels, but a ‘MasterChef’ quality plating on both the salads, was simply spell-binding. That’s when I realized that this lunch was going to be a food experience.
We followed the salad with a ‘Chicken Wings’ for my friend and for me, a extremely funky named dish ‘Dog.Mash.Mush’. (which is a Cherry Tomato special, a combination of grilled hot-dogs and mushrooms served on a bed of cheesy potato mash with chilly barbecue sauce). I could not care less, if my friend was enjoying his wings, but I could see him relish his dish. I went completely ballistic on my dish. It was a foodie delight. I almost licked the plate. So impressed was I, that I decided to ask Max for the Chef. I was surprised when he told me, he was the Chef as well.
So I asked him, what else do you recommend I try. My eating companion was surprised and so was the young restaurateur, cause after the Salad and Dog.Mash.Mush, they thought I would not the stomach for more. But they failed to understand my fascination for the kind of food on offer. You could choose Italian – Italian Ham Pizzettes, Beef Mexican Tortillas, Lasagnia, Prawn & Tomato Rissotto, Chilly Oyster Chicken. But its speciality are burgers and hot dogs. You could do Chicken, Beef, Pork, Crab burgers and different hot-dogs like the ‘Bad Dogg’ or ‘Mexican Dog’. You could also try something out of this world ‘Australian Boomerang Burger’, ‘The Craby Burger’ or ‘Pork BBQ Baguette’.
I decided to settle for its Chef’s Special and Customer Special ‘The Craby Burger’. One bite into this burger and I was finger licking the delicious chilly-flaked sauce. I ate this burger like a burger was meant to be eaten, with my hands, mouth and face. It was incredible. It was out of this world. And the chilled Cranberry Soda Pop just added to the experience.
I cannot say whether this was ‘Love at first Bite’, but ‘Cherry Tomato’ was a beautiful escapade from the normal high-flying eating at some good restaurants in Goa and India. I think what brought more flavor to the food and aura to the experience was the passion of the Chef and Owner Max Almeida, a young Goan entrepreneur from Curtorim.
Review by Savio Rodrigues