Masterchef Australia finalist Sarah Todd is at the helm of Goa’s sexiest new restaurant
Im sitting at a super-stylish, alfresco restaurant with stunning views of palms, sky, sand and sea. A plate of lobster linguine gleams in front of me, cooked by none other than Sarah Todd, whos become something of a household name here in India after her appearances on hit TV show Masterchef Australia. Sarah has been to India a few times since the show, preparing elaborate meals for audiences (including me) here who are fascinated by her Australian-inspired streamlined cooking techniques and love of Indian food. (Her husband, Devinder Garcha, is of Indian descent.) It was on one of these trips that Sarah met Delhi restauranteur Ashish Kapur (owner of Dimsum Bros and Yo! China) and they started discussing the idea of working on a project together in New Delhi or Mumbai. But, Nothing felt right to me, somehow, says Todd. Finally, when Ashish found this piece of land in Vagator, he called me to come take a look. Once, I saw it, I simply couldnt say no. The area actually reminds me of North Queensland, where I grew up.
Lucky Sarah. The setting is indeed gorgeous: perched on the cliffs of Vagator in North Goa (44 km from the airport), the Antares resort boasts not only this stunning 250-seater alfresco restaurant, but also 13 wooden cottages, an infinity pool, a boutique selling Australian resort wear, and finally, a beach club with another restaurant down by the sea. In addition, there are various chilling zones along the way. We envisioned an all-day destination where people can come hang out: eat a meal, take a dip in the ocean, shop, and transition from beach to party at night, says Todd. Before becoming a chef, she spent a decade travelling all over the globe for modelling assignments and its those very experiences that shaped her vision for Antares. I was inspired by world-class beach clubs such as Karma Kandara in Bali and Sunset Ashram in Ibiza. We wanted the space to have a very international feel and vibe.
It does. Its slick and well-finished, and the combination of spectacular views and a modern Australian menu focused on quality ingredients is fantastic. My lobster linguini is delicious: the lobster fresh, the pasta perfectly cooked, amplified with zesty flavours. We want to serve simple, light food that is perfect for the beach climate, she says. One of my biggest challenges has been getting the right ingredients to cook with. We even went out fishing with the fishermen one day to actually see where the seafood is procured from. After months of trial and error, weve sorted out sustainable sources for quality produce and Im very happy with the way the menu has turned out. In fact, Ive surprised myself! Apart from the linguine, the grilled rawas tacos, mushroom rilette with papad and pork ribs are star dishes on the menu. For dessert, Sarah plates up a decadent pecan brownie desert, served with fresh figs, cream and bourbon.
I suspect Antares is also going to become this seasons hotspot for sundowners: Australian mixologist Nathan Ford makes some truly delectable drinks, including a Pine Caramel cocktail I spent an enjoyable afternoon with. When evening comes, the sun sets over the Vagator cliffs with jewel colours: orange, pink and violet. Throw on the right soundtrack, and this could easily feel like Bali. It certainly did today.