Let the Sunset Deck at Vivanta by Taj – Holiday Village Goa amaze you with its resplendent view, exotic meals and warm service
By Sinead McManus
It was a sultry evening. The rain that wet the streets a day earlier did nothing to dispel the humidity that hangs heavily in times like this – it’s a forecast of the wet months ahead, but a rather sticky one indeed. A couple of friends and I thought we’d stop by Vivanta by Taj – Holiday Village Goa, more popularly called Taj Holiday Village – for an early dinner.
The name itself is well-known, and its laurels seem to keep coming year on year. It has been named the Best Beach Resort by World Travel Brands, and it comes as no surprise that its romantic, and also laid-back, bar called the Sunset Deck overlooks one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in Goa – Sinquerim Beach.
LJ, Mark and I spent an hour by the pool just soaking in the unique atmosphere of the Taj. Styled on Goan-Portuguese architecture, the stylish leisure it conveys makes one feel at ease and cared for almost immediately. We had arrived before sunset and had the pleasure of enjoying a lilting sea breeze washing in from the blue Arabian. What a welcome respite from the humidity!
Walking onto the Sunset Deck was a bit like being on a promenade against a painting of a splash of warm colours, almost like one of those picture postcards you see on Mediterranean vacations. Tucked neatly into a corner of the resort, this spot holds one of the finest beach views in Goa. Years of lashing tides and erosion of the coastline has lent the Sunset Deck an elevated feel, a towering look-out to the beauty below. The beach, which was earlier barely a shadow of its former self due to the strong undercurrents, has now regained its past glory and once again invites you to take a walk on its silvery sands.
While the Sunset Deck is ideal for parties and weddings, it can also turn into the perfect spot for an intimate seaside dinner. Nothing more than the sound of the waves intrudes on soft whispers or feelings of romance. Muted lanterns and cosy settings are balanced by a delectable meal and great service. During our evening at the Taj, a few tables dotted the deck and we looked forward to an experience of fine dining under the stars.
Presently, along came Executive Chef Behra, who introduced himself and sparked off a riveting conversation about his travels around the world and the experiences he has had. In the course of the conversation, he elicited our dietary requirements and soon set our taste buds off with some exquisite introductions to the Sunset Deck experience.
We were presented with a Moushe Bouche, a wild mushroom soup, which arrived in a shot glass! It was laid out on a plate beside a yellow courgette wrap filled with cream cheese and topped with a sprig of fresh rosemary. A great start to dinner! For the appetizer, Executive Chef Behra conjured up a sea food collection – a shrimp kebab rolled in semolina and a crab cake with coriander and hot peri peri sauce.
Sous Chef Molla soon joined us from the kitchen and gave us a little background on the kind of dishes we were going to be served. He also spoke about his passion for food, giving us time to digest our appetizers and enjoy the crisp white imported Australian wine.
Soon, the main course arrived, in the form of a succulent fillet of Kingfish perched pleasantly on a bed of fresh spinach and sweet corn. Across the table, a blanket of fresh apple sauce lay under a tender chicken breast. There was also a side portion of vegetable korma served with piping hot naan.
The delicious food was chased by an even more spectacular dessert. Coconut-vanilla flavoured ice cream dolloped on a cone base, accompanied by the Goan classics bebinca and dodol. Our perfect meal was sealed with a warming cup of fresh coffee.
It was a great surprise, when General Manager Sushil Tandon stopped by just then. As we sipped our coffee, he shared with us stories of his 24 years of working with the Taj hotels, anecdotes from faraway countries and nearby metros.
Nothing could have been more perfect that day – interesting stories told under the twinkling stars as the cool sea breeze brought in the sound of the waves.