Meldan D’Cunha extends the legacy of his hugely popular seafood eatery, Soul Fry, to the suburbs. Called Tavira- Spice Village, this open-air highway restaurant is situated in Borivali. A much-needed seafood diner in this predominantly vegetarian district, Tavira’s extensive Goan and Maharasthran menu aims to satiate those looking for an alternate meal experience.
Though seemingly dubbed a tavern, Tavira is anything but a cosy inn. The confused retro-meets-canteen décor is inviting, with each table covered with Kashmiri embroidered cloth wrapped in plastic schoolbook covers. A ship wheel holds fort on two sides of the outdoor seating with a bamboo panel running around the three walls. The staff is polite and quick in bringing orders and the prices are to-dive-in for. But ask for a drink and, like in any neighbourhood dive, the alcohol comes bottled. Our regular rum and coke was brought to the table in a make-your-own drink manner - quarter bottle of rum, a soft-drink cola bottle and an ice-box.
For starters, we ordered the chef-recommended Chingri Cutlet (prawn cutlets Rs. 190), Chapta Fried Chicken (Rs. 170) and Crisp Calamari Rings (Rs. 190).
As expected, seafood being their speciality, the calamari and prawns were simply divine. Crisp and well textured, albeit oily, these fried bits were worth every bite. Served with mint chutney and lime, they made for the perfect accompaniment with our dinks and laced our appetite for the main course.
Here’s where things went wrong. Our main course included Prawns Xacuti (Rs. 190), Aamti Maharashtrian Dal (Rs. 90) and Goan Chicken Jeere
Meere (R 170) eaten with garlic naan (Rs. 100). At this point, if you were to take a tasting challenge where you guess which dish you’re eating blindfolded, chances are you’ll fail miserably. All three dishes tasted the same. Each seemed to be cooked in the same masala base with generous portions of cumin and curry leaves. The Prawns Xacuti was overly pungent, even when we asked for it to be made medium spicy, and left a burnt after-taste in the mouth.
What we like
What we don’t like
In a tweet: Prawns and calamari starters are a must try. Avoid main course.