The Sanctuary – Heritage Haute Cuisine

Esha Aphale | February 28, 2024 | Life

The Sanctuary is a hidden gem nestled amidst the serene ambience, surrounded by lush greenery and the 250-year-old ruins, offering a one-of-a-kind dining experience amidst old Goan ruins. Crafted by Gokul Krishna, Co-Founder of The Sanctuary and CEO of W Design Studio, stepping into this space is like stepping into a different era. Here, history, luxury, and gastronomy come together to redefine the culinary landscape, promising a dining experience unlike any other. Originally from Hyderabad, the establishment is renowned for its rich culinary excellence and innovative heritage. Drawing inspiration from diverse cultures and cuisines, the menu at The Sanctuary, helmed by Chef Sarah Todd is a blend of tradition and evolution.

“For me, Goa has always been synonymous with seafood, and the menus I’ve created in the past have reflected that focus. However, with this establishment, there’s a deeper connection to the earth that has emerged in the menu,” says Chef Sarah Todd, MasterChef Australia alum, and the curator of the menu at The Sanctuary.

Chef Todd has been passionate about infusing more historical context into the dishes, incorporating stories that reflect the rich heritage of the place. While they have made progress in this direction, she is committed to further exploring and delving into the heart of Goa, as she believes there is immense beauty and magic here.

Chef Sarah Todd at The Sanctuary;

Mutton Korma, Papdi, Pepper Sauce
Tender mutton in a creamy korma sauce, served with crispy papdi and a bold pepper sauce.

The preserved ruins at The Sanctuary; The Ruin Bar

“I fell in love with this property and Goa itself about 10 years ago,” says Chef Todd, reminiscing about her first time in the state. “And that love is reflected in the menu, which is imbued with the influence and essence of this extraordinary place.”

Over the years, Sarah Todd has had the opportunity to travel extensively across Goa and immerse herself in its culinary traditions. One memorable experience for her was being involved in cooking with a local family on the backwaters, where they caught a crab and prepared a delicious Crab Xacuti on the riverbank; these experiences have deepened her connections to Goa.

“Coming from Queensland, Australia, with its tropical climate, monsoon weather, abundance of seafood, and stunning beaches, I instantly felt a kinship with Goa,” says Chef Todd, seated at The Sanctuary, surrounded by lush greenery and the ancient Goan heritage. “There’s something about the region that resonates with me, perhaps due to the similarities with my hometown.”

Outdoor seating at The Sanctuary

“One dish that I feel embodies the essence of the property is our seafood platter,” says the chef. It beautifully combines elements of the land and the sea, featuring local ingredients like Goan sausage alongside an array of fresh seafood. Drawing inspiration from the rich tapestry of Goa’s culinary heritage, with its emphasis on seafood and bold flavours, she has meticulously curated a dish that celebrated the region’s bountiful offerings.

Diners can savour the flavors of Goa with each bite, evoking the sun-kissed beaches and vibrant markets. This dish celebrates Goa’s culinary heritage, highlighting the profound link between food, culture, and place.

The restaurant’s architecture and interior design serve as a loving tribute to its historic setting, creating an atmosphere that fully immerses diners in a unique and memorable experience. Situated amidst the ancient ruins of Goa, with forts and remnants of history enveloping it, The Sanctuary stands as a testament to preservation and innovation. Rather than detracting from the heritage site, it seamlessly integrates with the surroundings, enhancing the ambience.

The Sanctuary’s approach to upgrading and updating the ruins is meticulous, ensuring that every addition and modification respects and honours Goa’s rich history and heritage. The result is a harmonious blend of old and new, breathing new life into the area while preserving its intrinsic character.

Words by Esha Aphale.
Image courtesy The Sanctuary.

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