Cuisine: North Indian, Bengali, Chinese, Goan.
Where: Off Chogm Road, about 2 kms from Porvorim circle, on the right, going towards Saligao. Can be approached from the National Highway 17.
Quality of food: Very good.
Quality of service: Very good.
Cost of a meal for one without drinks: less than Rs 700.
The fact that there is parking space gives it one star immediately. Its Goan lunch-thali draws well-and medium-heeled office-goers as the gravies are faithful to local recipes and the fish is fresh. Garlic wafers, or roasted papads or boiled moong-sprouts/black-chana are offered complimentary.
We visited it for dinner, when the customers seemed to be a mix of tourists from outside the state and country, and locals who felt like an evening out. It was crowded on a Thursday evening, and the live-music (Bollywood) livened things up. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays is theme Bollywood or Konkani. Choice of music soothing. The décor is modern, with the lights not too dim.
The menu is divided into soups, starters, Indian (mainly Punjabi), Bengali, tandoori, Chinese, rice, noodles, rotis, main course and desserts. The crab soup (Rs 170) reminded me of the chowder we’d eaten in Los Angeles, a meal by itself.
The Chef Dinesh himself suggested MacherVapa with chonak. Fluffy chunks in delicate mustard sauce. Recommended. It’s taken him 15 years to refine this menu: if you taste Diwani Hundi, you’ll see the results. This was the best mixed vegetable paneer dish I’ve eaten in a long time, with peas, mushrooms, carrots, French-beans and baby corn in an onion-base.
The water-melon twist mojito had mint muddled and strained, the green orchid khus mocktail with a tease of ginger and the un-named cranberry plus apple lemonade (all at Rs 150 each) indicate that the bar-person is someone I’d like to make friends with.
The snacks came in large portions. The tender Punjabi murg kababs (Rs 320) had a hint of big cardamom, the Benarsi kabab was another winner. The sliced (Rs 260) Chicken Singapore Chilli was sharp and slightly sweet. One unusual one was the palak-cheese-kadak kabab with has a fried rawa exterior. The huge slice of Goan-style fried visvonn (kingfish to ye that don’t speak Konkani) was perfectly cooked—a seafoodie will recognize that.
The prawn and mushroom cafreals are something not offered elsewhere… at least not made as well.
A main dish portion can feed four average appetites.
In the roti category, North India ruled. Missi and whole wheat rotis, naan, laccha and other parathas, rumalirotis to be eaten ‘hot-hot’. When the tandoor flares up, all other breads pale. Visit Copperleaf just for this—a coconut-cheese naan. It’s unusual, you’ll go back for more. I’d suggest that instead of plain boiled rice, you could order these rotis with the long list of mutton, chicken and fish items. The Bengali cuisine, my favourite, tops the list of curries. The mutton rogan josh, full of well-cracked, marrow-filled long-bones, was the only thing I felt required to be more authentic, for Kashmiris don’t mess with fried onions or tomatoes. Even then, there was josh in the mutton, for sure.
We were full, but we had to try something from the Asian section. A simple vegetable hakka noodle and chicken in oyster sauce combination proved that the kitchen was catering to experienced tastes. The noodles were al dente (as the Italians would say) and the saucy part ‘badhiya’ (as an Indian would describe it).
The coconut-ice-cream dessert was a surprise. On a bed of sweet shavings, small chocolate balls and one caramelized cashew sat a ‘cup’ of yellow ice-cream with a chocolate skin. Inside the ‘cup’ was a scoop of white vanilla. The appearance was that of a coconut. Fancy idea.
On the top floor of the building is ‘Mayflower’, the banquet hall that can fit 150 people. A minimum of 50pax is required for booking, the prices start at Rs 600 per head and go up to Rs 1100, no rent is charged for the space. For smaller groups is the 30-seater‘Mint’.
Since Copperleaf does home delivery around Porvorim, I wondered why so many customers came, ordered and took packages away. Maybe, I figured, they come from further away. It’s worth the effort, I must say, for the food is good and the service is fast.