When the wise ones said gravely, ‘Everything happens for a reason’, I think they may have been alluding to the grand Pork feast cooked up by the multi-talented Chef Gresham Fernandes at Salt Water Cafe – a nose-to-tail extravaganza grandly, and aptly, named Swine Dine! That a hog-fest can create beautiful bonds and spin amazing stories was proved beyond doubt that night when, amidst all the incessant porking and beautiful singing and endless Sangria, we made some crazy-good friends, the ones who you meet and wonder ‘Why EVER have we not met before?’
Many months later, at our own little porky get-together called Pool of Pork, pork played the unifier again, this time reuniting long-lost, dear friends completely out of the blue, six degrees of separation be damned!
It all started with the desire to have ‘seriously good’ pork, and after several food-hearted debates about the best pork shop in Bandra, best pork dish and other very critical porcine discussions, Rahul Sharma (the madder half of the couple friend from Swine Dine) and I decided to bury the… piggy!
Venue, menu and legendary pork-lovers from amongst our friends were rounded up and the hogging began…
The swish, sweeping lounge and pristine kitchen of Rahul Sharma and Samira Koppikar’s residence was the venue for the night. On the menu was a Pork Cocktail Sausage with a Spicy Mayo, a deliciously mean ‘Rahul ishtyle’ starter that woke up your taste buds, prepping you for things to come.
And what came next was the unmatchable Beer Braised Pork Chops that had gone through some intense braising and blitzing in Rahul’s oven, and even more intense and dedicated chomping and chewing at the dinner table, accompanied by some fresh and soft Goan Baos to soak up the gorgeous juice.
The original plan was to space out the next two dishes made by me, but the hungry house of gluts wanted to go with the epicurean porky flow. So I tossed up the the Parma Ham, Rocket and Melon Salad double-quick, to hit the table at the same time as the giant ‘handi’ of Soy Pork Belly, slow cooked for nearly 4 hours. The table erupted in a flurry of Egg Noodles and Spring Onion slices crisscrossing with bowls, forks, ladles and hands, the clatter soon giving way to deep ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ between melting mouthfuls of rich, aromatic chunks of pork!
Charles Dickens famously said in Great Expectations, ‘If you want a subject, look to pork!’ Well, our group didn’t want for subjects, but we looked to pork anyways 😉 Samira, a fabulous singer and composer, inspired the other crooners in the room to open up. And open up they did, to some brilliant live guitaring, turning the night into one long, hearty music session, with a Djembe popping out here, and a closet singer (Sartaj?!?!?!) stepping up there!
So, you see, friendships built on pork are truly unique. They bind like Sausages, entertain like Whole Roasted Suckling Pigs, stimulate like juicy Chops, satisfy like Smoked Bacon, and hold up strong and tasty like a Rack of Ribs! Oink if you agree!
[Pork lovers who oinked till the wee hours of the morning were:
Rahul Sharma, Sameera Koppikar, Puneet Sharma, Kedar Teny, Sartaj Aulakh, Amreena Singh, Sanjai Srivastava, Veljon Noronha, Carlton Nazareth, Dev Chugani, Rupali Mehta, Jitu Mirwani, Anupam Mirwani and Gaurav Sharma.]