Dil hai paani paani

Updated: Jan 28, 2020, 13:46 IST | Anju Maskeri | Mumbai

The guys behind Andheri restobar Yazu have launched a beach club in a less-visited part of North Goa, offering surreal views and comforting Asian food (as if you needed that to convince you to go to Goa).

The 130-seater on the Candolim beachfront is one of the few to stay open even through the monsoon. PICS/SEPHI BERGERSON
The 130-seater on the Candolim beachfront is one of the few to stay open even through the monsoon. PICS/SEPHI BERGERSON

Picture a beach vacation and you are bound to conjure up an image of sitting at a sun-dappled shack, gazing at the waves with a cocktail in hand. On a breezy evening, we find ourselves sunning with tropical birds at Yazu, the pan Asian beach club, and the new kid to enter Goa's sandy shores. It so happens that we are not on vacation. But if this is work, let us be toiling till the end of days.

The 130-seater beach club-cum-dining space on Candolim beach, is backed by restaurateurs Atul Chopra, Gurmeet Arora and Ranbir Nagpal. It was a year ago that the trio launched Yazu in Andheri West. Forget Goa, even expansion within Mumbai wasn't on their radar until opportunity came knocking at the door.

Shiro Poison, the lounge that occupied this location, shuttered a year ago. We were offered the chance to launch a beach club in its place because the owners had visited Yazu in Mumbai and loved the concept," says Chopra, formerly proprietor of Santacruz neighbourhood bar Three Wise Men. The club is part of Marquis Beach Resort property that also owned the previous nightclub. "The biggest question for us at the time was, should we do it all?" says Arora who also runs Lower Parel nightclub Tryst and Flax, a health food chain in Breach Candy and Powai. After mulling on the matter, they decided to dive in. The Andheri outlet's performance over the last year gave them the confidence to soldier on. "There's not much happening on the pan-Asian cuisine front in Goa so it was a new market to tap into," adds Arora.

Ranbir Nagpal, Atul Chopra and Gurmeet  Arora
Ranbir Nagpal, Atul Chopra and Gurmeet  Arora

Candolim sees fewer tourists and offers more privacy. Incidentally, Yazu happens to be Goa's only pan-Asian beach club. Unlike other neighbouring properties that close for monsoon, this one will welcome visitors all year. "As of now, the footfall has been organic and from visitors from the resort," says Chopra, who heads operations.

Lemon butter garlic lobster and Grilled pomfret in Sichuan spicy sauce
Lemon butter garlic lobster and Grilled pomfret in Sichuan spicy sauce

No trip to the beach is complete without unfussy seafood. The menu, curated by chef Karma Tenpa, has the usual suspects from the Mumbai outpost. But a new section under the 'Inspired by Goa' category offers Korean beef bulgogi with thin slices of marinated beef tenderloin; Yazu chorizo bao; Shapta or Tibetan inspired beef chilli; and grilled mackerel served with sesame garlic sauce. "The fresh catch of the day and the variety of seafood Goa offers make it interesting to curate a menu," thinks Tenpa. While prawn, shrimp and mackerel dominate the menu, the 60:40 ratio of non-vegetarian to vegetarian dishes ensures the latter don't feel left out. The cocktails are out and out Asian, including signature drinks wasabi martini, a spicy concoction of litchi, a dollop of wasabi and vodka; and Yazu spiced gin and tonic which is their take on the classic G&T spiced with star anise and cinnamon.

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For now, the owners plan to take turns to shuttle between the two Yazus to iron out the operations. Not that they're complaining. "I think I've found my retirement home," winks Arora.

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