The Spice Route
Designed like a sprawling country kitchen, the Alila Diwa’s signature restaurant Spice studio is an interactive space, says Maria Louis.
The grand old banyan tree that benevolently offers shade in its courtyard, is what gives the Spice Studio its character; but the show kitchen is the central focus of this destination dining restaurant of the Alila Diwa resort located at Majorda in scenic South Goa.
An interesting mesh of contemporary and conventional elements, the steel frames and fridges are integrated with clay wood-burning ovens, earthen pots, hot plates and other traditional Indian cooking equipment.
Cupboards and shelves lined with bharnis (jars) underline the unpretentious country look the restaurant aspires to.
While the seating area is defined, the kitchen is an experimental zone. Here, chefs from around India and the world, brought together by the general manager Saji Joseph and the ebullient Chef Birdie, gather to experiment and produce Goan and Indian cuisine that is authentic in preparation, but modern in style and presentation.
During our culinary school session with her, the lady of the house, Chef Linda lords it over the unique chef’s table set within the open kitchen area, where we were immersed in creating traditional delicacies such as crab xec xec and pomfret rechaido.
The Spice Studio is an interactive dining experience – so the line between the restaurant and kitchen is blurred, and the guests are able to observe the gastronomic drama as it unfolds.
This dinner-only restaurant serves an à la carte and a degustation menu (taking the guests’ dietary preferences into consideration) that changes every season.
The degustation menu is a showcase of unique dishes created by using different spices and fresh local ingredients, cooked using traditional methods. A large selection of wines is available for the sommelier to pair with the week’s degustation menu.
Client: Alila Diwa Goa
Architect: Stapati Architects, Calicut, Kerala
Interior Design: Plum Design, Singapore
Lighting Design: AWA Lighting Designers
Landscape: Site Concepts International
Floor and walls: Handmade and customized clay tiles by Indian Ceramic Centre, Mumbai
Furniture: Antiqued timber, custom-made
Fabrics: Shyam Ahuja