New in town
Remember the last time you visited Mumbai from Goa and started craving the fish parra that Mrs Parrikar would prepare during monsoon?
Margao Choriz & Slab Bacon Pulao. Pics/Sneha Kharabe
You'll be glad to know that we finally have a restaurant that offers a delicious version of it. In Bangda PAR-RA (Rs 100), the sharp flavours of pan-fried, pickled mackerel are balanced with sweet sauteed onion and tangy tomatoes. Smeared on crisp toasted bread baked at the in-house wood-fired oven, it's best had with Cashew-In-Spirit (Rs 400), a tropical cocktail laced with kokum-infused rum and cashew spirit, perfect for a summer afternoon at Baga. Oh, it slipped my mind to tell you how I stumbled upon this oasis. After a long wait, the team behind The Bombay Canteen (TBC) — partners Sameer Seth, Yash Bhanage, and culinary director Floyd Cardoz — will launch a Goa-inspired all-day bar and restaurant, in BKC. And it's called O Pedro. Do I spot a smile on your face, Miguel? Wait, the best is yet to come.
As I entered, I found myself standing under slow whirring fans suspended from the arched ceiling. Vintage china hung from a wall, just like the ones gathering dust at Uncle De-Souza's home. I also spotted a wooden cask holding a miniature whiskey bottle, vivid blue Azulejo tiles and wicker chairs where we'll sit the next time you're here, and hear about your travels down the Mandovi.
And the bar! The wooden beauty that glistened under chandeliers is an ode to yesteryear Goan originals, dotted with family frames stuck in a corner, and shelves holding barnis of fruit-infused alcohol. Bhanage shared the inspiration, "When we visited Goa for research, we learnt how Goan aunties would have their own bars at home where they would fill alcohol jars with fruits to mellow the effect of the spirit." You never told me about this before! The refreshing Lisbon Cooler (Rs 500), laced with in-house Ginja cherry liquor and a minty aftertaste, made me go giddy recalling our last soiree. I savoured it with crunchy Raw Papaya & Green Sprout KISS-MUR (Rs 60) and airy House Baked Sourdough Poee (`200) dipped in various butters, including a fiery balchao version. The food menu is a celebration of your state's diverse cuisine — from the vegetarian Goan Saraswat cooking to pork and buff dishes prepared by Catholics, and Portuguese-style pakoras, all woven together by executive chef Hussain Shahzad, who's been the sous chef at TBC for two years.
As I soaked it all in, the team regaled me with nuggets from their Goa sojourn — searching for rosary sausages in Mapusa market (they've tried veg versions with jackfruit!) and gorging on Ros Omelette standing at a bus stop. An ode to that trail is the Choriz Sandwich (Rs 425); the poee exploded with smoked flavours of shredded pork sausage and the crumbly texture of fried egg. You're not vegetarian, I know, but you'll like the Green Watana Rassa (Rs 375) flecked with fennel and mustard.
(From left) Sameer Seth, Floyd Cardoz, Hussain Shahzad and Yash Bhanage
We polished it off with Panjim-style 'bhatura' or buns sweetened with banana. Then, we tried Duck FEY-JO-ADA (Rs 650), a stew featuring alsande beans and Goan spices; its flavours soaked by chunks of the meat. And can a Goa-inspired menu be complete without memories from chef Cardoz's childhood? The Margao Choriz & Slab Bacon Pulao (Rs 600), also on Paowalla's menu, was packed with smoked flavours balanced with a fried egg and a side of kachumber. "It's how my grandmother would serve it," he reminisced. I ended the meal with Bebinca (Rs 250), a lighter version of the favourite dessert, served with roasted cashew ice cream and a cashew nut brittle too.
Miguel, we may not be able to meet in Goa often, but now, at least we have our own slice of the sunshine state where we can make new memories and cherish the old ones.
Yours in flavour, Krutika Behrawala
OPENS: on October 7, 4 pm to 1 am (Tuesday to Sunday)
AT: Jet Airways-Godrej BKC Building.
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