Chef Gary Mehigan Experiments With Modern Goan Cuisine
Image Credit: Cavatina/Instagram

Goan cuisine has a special charm and works its magic on everyone who has the good fortune to try it. A truth that Chef Gary Mehigan has been learning during his visit to India’s smallest, but endlessly charming state. His trip around the country has taken him to Kerala, Mumbai and now to Goa as he works his way through all the state’s most iconic dishes. 

His latest stop was at a restaurant that has been making waves in the food world for some time, Cavatina by Avinash Martins. This critically acclaimed restaurant has been turning heads with its modern menu and reimagining traditional Goan fare. Chef Martins has cooked globally, sometimes alongside Michelin-starred chefs and is bringing the wealth of his knowledge to the carefully curated menu. 

Named one of India’s Top 30 Chefs, his vision for Cavatina was a place where the heart and soul of Goan cuisine came together with local ingredients in a modern setting. This concept has been drawing the attention of food professionals all over the world and when Chef Mehigan stopped by the Benaulim address to experience it for himself, he was not disappointed. 

The meal began with a nod to Goa’s attachment to bread and an ode to the poders (bread vendors who deliver throughout the state) in a small bread bun filled with spicy gravy and served with a fresh tomato salsa. Martins then served up his take of the iconic Cafreal in his dish, Cafreal Nest which features a crisp potato shell filled with quail eggs and pulled chicken cafreal. They then moved on to one of their most celebrated dishes, the Hay Smoked Mackerels which emulate the way local fishermen smoke and preserve their catch. Another of Cavatina’s fan favourites, Koyloleo was also on the menu. A savoury version of the Goan dessert, Patoleo filled with Goan choriz. 

For the main course Chef Mehigan got to know Goa’s seafood a little better with the Banana Leaf Wrapped Seabass served with a pumpkin cashew hash, red amaranthus and a curry leaf cauda. They wrapped up the tasting menu with a Raw Honey Caramel Flan which was made with honey from local hives. 

The Chefs also shared some time in the kitchen where Chef Martins whipped up a crispy fish stir fry with Whitebait, curry leaves, garlic and pepper, a simple dish that came together in ten minutes. Despite its simplicity, Chef Mehigan kept coming back for more, a testament to the beauty of simple cooking.

Chef Mehigan has always been vocal about his love for India and its food, and at Cavatina, he seems to have been introduced to a new aspect of its potential through Chef Martins forward-thinking menu.