Assado- it’s Goan but not as we know it!

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We were invited to review Assado, a new Goan restaurant with Portugese and Brazilian influences in Waterloo. We were very excited to try it out, as we have struggled to find good Goan food in London, surprisingly given how on the tourist trail Goa is and how much Britain has embraced Indian food. Assado has a good pedigree as the chef behind it Cyrus Todiwala worked for 21 years in Goa as executive chef at Taj, a luxury group of hotels.

When we walked in the restaurant, it was a casual style eatery with booths and wooden tables. We were brought warm bread to start, although the prices slightly shocked me. If I was paying, I’m not sure I’d be happy being charged £1.50 for a pat of butter! We sipped Laurent Perrier Champagne whilst we waited for our starters and enjoyed our relaxed surroundings.

 

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Starters were beef croquettes, prawn rissoles and beetroot puff. The beef croquettes and prawn rissole were nice enough, it’s hard to go wrong with things that are deep fried although I would prefer more assertive spicing in the beef croquettes, flavours should be dancing across your tongue and there was no dancing happening on mine! The beetroot puff felt a bit pointless, shredded beetroot in puff pastry is not much to write home about.

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Mains were lamb xacuti and fish curry accompanied by garlic rice and cheese naan. Fish curry is the staple dish of Goa, most people eat it nearly every day for lunch. It should be a deep red from the rechardo masala (a curry paste that should incorporate dried Kashmiri chillies, vinegar and dried shrimp) giving it a hot and sour flavour. The fish curry that we were served was mild, yellow and coconutty. It was pleasant enough but bore no resemblance to the fish curry that is served in Goa. Equally, the lamb xacuti lacked the depth of flavour that you get from complex spicing and long marinating. The cheese naan reminded me of pizza gone wrong, I don’t think I would order it again. The garlic rice was probably the tastiest dish on the table.

 

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The dessert was a selection including mango and coconut cheesecake that had an oddly soapy flavour almost like perfumed handwash. I left mine and I never leave dessert which should tell you everything you need to know. The best one was the pastel de nata, a custard tart which was thermo-nuclearly hot as if it had been nuked in the microwave.

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We spoke to Abigail, the manager, who informed us that that the spicing in the curries had been toned down to suit their international clientele (the restaurant is attached to a Hampton by Hilton hotel). There was also very long waits in between courses, our meal there took nearly 3 hours, although again Abigail explained that the kitchen was under a lot of pressure as many large tables had arrived at once and the head chef was away. Sadly, I think our search for authentic Goan food in London continues.

Twitter: @AssadoWaterloo @ @Clementinecom

http://www.assado.co.uk/

Opening hours

11am – 11pm

7 days week

http://www.clementinecom.com/

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About goantolondon

International food and travel blog by London based British Goan duo: Jason and Chiara Pinto. Twitter: @goantolondon @jasonpinto100 @chiarapinto About Goa: Goa is a small state on the western coast of India. Though the smallest Indian state, Goa has played an influential role in Indian history. Goa was one of the major trade centers in India, thus it had always been attracting the influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries since its earliest known history. Throughout its history Goa has undergone continual transformation, leaving an indelible impression on various aspects of its cultural and socio-economic development. History of Goa: The East-West symbiosis of Goa makes it different from other parts of India, more than the historical and social niche. The history of Goa is a sweet and sour story of colonial heritage, oppressive rulers, a glorious culture, and uneventful immediate past. As a land with the identity of its own, Goa was brought into focus when it was liberated of Portugal from its oppressive rule of around 450 hundred years in 1961. Goa was captured and annexed to the Portuguese in 1510 following the urges of trade and demand of spices and also cottons and indigo. But, Goa has a history that starts much before Portugal even thought of Goa being where it is. Goa was coveted and ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards. The first kingdom to rule Goa and Konkan were Bhojas, who were the feudatories of Ashoka in 4th and 5th centuries AD. The city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) was founded by Prince Chandraditya, son of Chalukya King Pulakesin from 566 to 597 A.D. after this, Goa was ruled consecutively by Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas from 1022 to 1342 A.D. From the 14th century onwards, Goa became a great trading center on the west coast, especially in the vast trade of horses imported from the Middle East. This was the time for bigger empires to move in and Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1344. But there empire was not going to last too long and in 1347, Bahmani Sultans defeated Vijayanagara forces in 1347 and controlled Goa. Afterwards, it was a time of great prosperity and peace for Gpa, especially during the rules of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They created beautiful houses, fortified Goa, and encouraged local craftsmen. Their liberal and progressive rule was not going to last too long and situation changed in 1510 A.D. Goa for all purposes was not on the Portuguese Radar even after a long time of their presence in India. When the Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque were sent with a powerful fleet in 1503 on the orders of King Dom Manuel I, the purpose was to defend the cargoes of spices, mostly pepper, against Arab Muslim raiders. The center of spice trade was Calicut at that time and Portuguese had built forts in Cochin and Cannanore. It was in 1506-08 that an opportunistic pirate, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa and acquire a better land base. This made Goa, Portugal's first real territorial acquisition in Asia. After a brief period of recapturing by the Muslims, Goa Albuquerque finally captured Goa in 1510. The inquisition of Goa in 1540 reversed the previous liberal policy of Albuquerque and imposed strict censorship of literature and new laws to forbade non-Christians from professions. Forced conversions took place continuously, censorship was established on literature, the temples were destroyed, and non-Christian priests, holy men, and teachers were evicted. This led to continuous fleeing of Hindus from Goa to other parts of India. It is not that the relationship with Portugal brought only destruction for the Goans. Portuguese also built great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians from around the world. But it is also true that pre-1961; Goa was a highly impoverished region very backward and primitive. It is after the liberation that Goa of today has emerged and it has surprised even the locals many of whom had left their homeland before its liberation. Portugal and India are today friends and Goa continues to be a fascinating blend of Latin and Oriental. Information sourced from: http://www.royalorienttrain.com/goa/goa-history.html
This entry was posted in Assado, Bars, Beef, Bistro, Brazilian, Clementine Communications, fusion cuisine, Global inspirations, Goan, Lamb, London, menus and prices, Portugese, seafood, Style of cooking, Waterloo and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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