Lose yourself in the aromas
Don Jevonn is Herald’s in-house food critic. He (or is it she?) will appear incognito, sample wares from off the menu and then leave, having paid the bill in full. For Don Jevonn is one of Goa’s quintessential characters and believes that in order to be objective, he must appear to be your average diner
While one drives down Colva, one of South Goa’s most popular beaches, there’s a well curated hoarding that speaks a lot about a place. Mehek, which translates to fragrance, in this case, aroma, is a restaurant in Colva and their advertisement hoarding reads, “this advertisement doesn’t do justice to our food”. And yes, they’re correct.
Indian fine restaurants usually are overpowered by loud music and live acts, trying to enact the orchestra performances in the other states, Mehek, however, run by Tejan and Tanisha Karekar, plays Indian instrumental music at all times, which goes well with the warm lighting and overall classy ambiance. Having completed his post graduation in Hotel Management in Switzerland and with an eye for perfection, Tejan manoeuvres around the restaurant, overlooking his staff and welcoming guests at the restaurant. Tejan explains that the reason behind Mehek was to give Salcete a truly exclusive Indian Cuisine restaurant. From placing orders to issuing bills and receiving feedback, the entire process is networked and the tabs in the hands of the waiters mean that all orders reach the kitchen while the one touch menu ensures that there are no errors with orders placed. But food is the real reason to go to Mehek, especially the kebabs. Imagine a kebab platter has Malai Tikka Kebab, Mutton Seekh Kebab, Murg Gilafi Seekh Kebab, all in one plate, A complete meat fest! While we begin our meal with the clearest and lightest yet tasty Chicken Shorba, the expectations have been set very high. A shorba, whether chicken or tomato, is just the right starter to warm you up on a cool rainy day. The Fish Tikka Ajwaini is another accomplishment by itself of the Bengali chef at Mehek and the flavours of ajwain and the sour curd really stand out in these as well as the Chicken Malai Tikka Kebab. The chicken tandoori from Mehek’s 24x7 fired tandoor is also an added attraction with its big massive chunks of chicken cooked just right in the masala. If you’re vegetarian, then the Hariyali Kebab with a lip smacking spicy dip will just melt in your mouth. The main course was about a perfect Prawn Biryani and Mutton Rogan Ghosh with Butter Roti, a suggestion of Tanisha, who explains how she loves the soft Indian bread and the right mix of masalas in the biryani, which, she feels, is the uniqueness of Mehek. Tejan explains to us that the essence of the restaurant is happiness, which is always in store in Indian food and getting the flavours right is the key for them. “Margao has a floating crowd where people want to try a different restaurant and a different cuisine all the time but the success of Mehek is its repeat customers, especially when they come back in larger groups,” stated Tejan. A restaurant which fills your insides with sumptuous Indian food for something as light as Rs 1,500 for a meal for two, with drinks, easy parking facility, soft and tender meats fired from the barbecue is what makes Mehek stand out as a restaurant. But don’t forget to add the Fish Koliwada and Mutton Nihari to your long string of orders.
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