We Goans are a strange lot. That goes without saying. But when it comes to our nosh, we get almost militant. Conversations on the breakfast table will always revolve around what’s to be gourmandized for lunch. At lunch, we speak reverentially of the expected dinner. And at dinner… well, you get my drift, yes; breakfast is discussed with passion and drool. Every self-respecting Goenkar worth his or her last peg of cashew feni will consider the idea of eating a Goan meal at a restaurant anathema. Sacrilegious even. If it’s Goan food, then it has to be home cooked. Period. Restaurant trysts are reserved for more ‘pedestrian’ fare like Chinese or Italian. But for Goan food, mais non.
So, at the risk of being lynched at the hands of my own Goan brethren, here’s my take on three dedicated ‘Goan-food-only’ Mumbai eateries that in my opinion come very close in approximating the authentic flavours, textures and love that go into a true-blue Goan meal. And coming from a foodie Goan like myself, consider yourselves in possession of the Goan food equivalent of the Golden Ticket…
For over two decades, this Matunga-based Goan food restaurant has been drawing in lovers of Goan food with their amazing fare. From Stuffed Bombils with Crab Meat and Roast Pork to unctuous Chicken Xacuti and feather soft Sannas to mop it all up, these guys sure know how to wow the palate. The super efficient staff and friendly owners—the Awchats—will make sure you leave this place like you’ve just come back from a Goan friend’s home. The restaurant itself is decked up like a Goan hacienda with its vibrant colours and kitschy artifacts. And to top it all, every evening they have a three piece Goan band belting out Goan love songs called Mandos to get you all in the mood.
Now here’s some good news for all you lovely suburbanites. Goa Portuguesa now has a branch in Andheri that is just as authentic and fun as the original Matunga one. Go now, I say!
Cost: Rs 2,500 for two without alcohol
Mili Building, T. H. Kataria Road, Near Hinduja Hospital, Opp Mahim Post Office,
Contact: 9930166363, 24440707, 24440202
SVP Nagar, Lokhandwala Road, Four Bungalows,
Contact 9167096460, 26313222, 26313777
Casa Soul Fry
As one of the few places in Mumbai where no one gives a toss about how badly you suck at karaoke, Casa Soul Fry is legendary for its sing-a-long evenings. But it is also equally, if not more popular, for its yummy Goan food on offer. Don’t tell my mum, but whenever I’m in Fort, I can’t resist sneaking into this cozy restaurant for some Prawn Reichado Fry and a helping of Fish Caldeen with Steamed Brown Goa Rice. But they also do a mean Portuguese Prawn rice that works superbly with a plate of luscious Lamb Vindaloo. But I always have one major gripe with Casa Soul Fry that still seems to be left unaddressed by the owners and the management. They steadfastly refuse to serve any porcine delicacies. I mean, come on guys, a Goan restaurant with no pork on the menu is like a Mallika Sherawat flick without an obligatory raunchy item song!
Cost: Rs 1,500 for two without alcohol
Where: Plot No. 111-A, Currimjee Building, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Contact: 022-22671421
New Martin Hotel
Now, this is one eatery that is the apt for the adage “never judge a book by its cover”. For if you were to do so, then, you’d be doing yourself a great disservice! Because New Martin Hotel in Colaba has, what an amazing foodie story to tell. A simple black board listing the menu du jour hangs loosely on a wall that is crying desperately for a new paint job. The Formica-topped wooden tables and hard benches sure have seen better days. The waiters are always at their gruffest ‘best’ and the owner-cashier looks like he will smack you real hard if you so much as dare to ask him if your platinum credit card will be accepted. But the food? Oh the food! Totally home-style (trust me when I say this) and redolent of the smell and taste of Goa, the food here is the brightest star. And the prices will make you cry with joy, with the costliest dish (Steak Onion Chips) at Rs 100. And yes, this in 2013, not 1983! Goa Sausage Pulao, fried onion-rich spicy Beef Chilly Fry, thick and fat-rich Pork Sorpotel, Chicken Liver Masala the list can go on, but I can’t! So, all I’ll say is get yourself here as fast as your feet/bike/car/jumbo jet can take you and please remember to give me a shout when you’re going.
Cost: Rs 500 for two (no alcohol available)
Where: Glamour House, Strand Cinema Road, Colaba,
Think we missed a great Goan food joint? Tell us in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pics courtesy Goa Portuguesa, Goanand.com, chefatlarge.in and Raul Dias