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Say ‘I do’ at Sadu’s

Well, ‘I do’ is a phrase used in some marriage vows,but foodies will concur that the two words can also be used to acknowledge gastronomic wows. And if the topic of conversation is Goan cuisine that just hits the spot and does justice to the word ‘authentic’, one can easily be forgiven for falling short of superlatives or coming up with new ones.As per common knowledge, Goan cuisine is an interesting mix of eclectic influences – the 450-year-long Portuguese rule, besides that of the Muslim and Hindu kingdoms, has left a strong influence on the original style of Goan cooking and this has led to an exotic mix of truly tasty and spicy cuisine. Broadly divided into two, the Goan Hindu cuisine features coconut and tamarind-based gravies, and Goan Catholic cuisine is more vinegar-based and features curries that are thinner than the former.Locals will agree, the best of Goan cuisine can be found not in the fancy five star properties but the little bars and cafés that double up as restaurants, frequented by the locals for their daily meals. And if Salcete is home to the best of Goan Catholic cuisine, Ponda, considered to be a Hindu stronghold province, naturally offers the best of Goan Hindu cuisine.The temple town has eateries aplenty in the many quaint villages that take you back to the Goa of yore. And many of these gems, where the village locals sit and drink, have very few particulars on the food menu, some of which have earned signature status. A visit to Ramnathi is incomplete without a stopover at Mahesh Bar and Restaurant, better known as Sadu’s. Named after the late Sadanand Kerkar, aka Sadu, who set up the place a few decades ago, today the place is run by nephew Dheeraj Kerkar. Of course, the ageing senior Vasudev Kerkar, Dheeraj’s dad, manages the counter, but most importantly, initiates and partakes in conversations surrounding the state of affairs in the republic of Ponda.
Enter Sadu’s and a tiny balcao of sorts on either side welcomes you. Once inside, you realise that the place is almost like a maze with multiple rooms that require you to take multiple turns to navigate through them. With an apron tied around his waist, Dheeraj – the man at helm of affairs in the open kitchen, always greets everyone with a smile. The best of seafood is always on offer but the pièce de résistance is the famed Chicken Chilly, which is stuff of legends. Simply put, Chicken Chilly is to Sadu’s what Shrewsbury biscuits are to Kayani, or Bakarwadis are to Chitale’s.The humble fish curry rice, another must-try at Sadu’s, is a non fussy yet delectable affair. A neat mix of prawn curry, rice, veggies, fried fish and sol kadi, the fish thali is simple, wholesome Goan food cooked the Hindu way. The thali, or jevonn, can be had only in the afternoons, on all days of the week except Mondays, since most Hindus abstain from consuming non-veg on this day.Sadu’s does not try to be special – its simplicity is what makes it special by default. If a no-frills place that offers delicious local cuisine, a place where you can have your local urrak and also have international brands of beer and other spirits without being judged is your thing, Sadu’s should definitely be on your list. [H]

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