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The Thoughtful Feast: Indian Spirit, Indian Cuisine

  • Mandovi Indian Cuisine 150 S. Sepulveda Blvd. El Segundo, CA 90245 (map)

A Paul John Whisky Dinner

One of the most interesting developments in the world liquor trade has been the rise of malt whiskies from India. After initially being regarded as novelties, these are now garnering international acclaim. And though production is limited, several brands are now available in the American market. The most highly praised newcomer is Paul John, distilled in the former Portuguese colony of Goa, on the west coast of India. The company has won gold medals in international competitions for whiskies made using local barley and pot stills crafted in India but aged in American white oak barrels.

You can savor five premium expressions of Paul John whiskies plus two Brilliance-based whisky cocktails, at the very first dinner in California to pair these whiskies with food from Goa. Over centuries of colonization that tiny colony developed a unique fusion of Iberian and Indian culinary traditions, but since there was little emigration to the US this cuisine is little known here. The whiskies are:

  • Brilliance - 46% ABV, unpeated
  • Classic Cask Strength - 55.2% ABV, unpeated
  • Edited - 46% ABV, lightly peated
  • Bold - 46% ABV, Islay-style, peated
  • Peated Cask Strength - 55.5% ABV

One of the few Goan restaurants in California is Mandovi Indian Cuisine in El Segundo, named after the river that flows through the old capital city. Chef George Godinho's menu of Goan specialties, specially prepared for this latest edition of The Thoughtful Feast, a series hosted by the Pacific Food & Beverage Museum (PacFAB), follows.

Appetizers (paired with Whisky Punch)

  • Mini Beef Samosa (turnovers filled with spiced ground beef and peas)
  • Mini Batata Vada (spiced potato dumplings coated with chickpeas)

Main courses (each paired with a neat pour of Paul John whisky)

  • Galina Chicken Cafreal (Goan green divine spiced chicken)
  • Pork Vindaloo (pork braised in garlic, malt vinegar, and hot peri-peri chilies)
  • Mandovi Rava Fried Fish (crushed-semolina-seasoned fresh pan-fried fish)
  • Cauliflower, Peas, and Pumpkin Caldin (vegetable medley in Konkan tamarind coconut sauce)

Dessert (paired with after-dinner whisky cocktail)

  • Mandovi Serradura Trifle (Portuguese creamy, crumbled biscuit pudding)

Paul John’s US Ambassador Ajay Bhoja will explain each expression and answer questions about the evening's whiskies, while master mixologist Tarita Noronha, a native of Toronto whose family hails from Goa, will craft cocktails that demonstrate the character of the spirit. 

Dinner is $55 for all National Food & Beverage Foundation (NatFAB), Culinary Historians of Southern California, Women Who Whiskey, and USBG members, or $65 for non-members, and includes tax and gratuity. Space is strictly limited, and reservations are required. NatFAB membership is available to all at