Susegad in SoBo
A just-launched eatery in Tardeo seals the deal for Goan food lovers with its authentic xacuti. But we missed the poi
A piece of poi is dunked into sorpotel. Steaming, thick kodi is poured over reddish-brown, fat rice or sheeth. A pomfret is sliced, revealing the flavourful raecheado masala. The mouth begins to water and a Bomaicar (Bombay Goan) sinks into nostalgia.
The truth is, when life gets tough in the city of dreams, you can put your faith in Goan food to find a sense of familiarity. So, when I spot an eatery in Tardeo with a signboard that says Goan Spice, it’s hard to hold back the Bomaicar in me — especially when there are only a handful of restaurants in the city that are truly authentic. Close to home, I head to the place with my mother, who is much more of a Goan than I will ever be. The space is tiny and can accommodate roughly 20 people. The interiors are simple — not a hint of Portuguese detailing and so, don’t expect a guy with a mandolin to serenade you by the table.
The menu is fairly extensive comprising Goan, Chindian and North Indian cuisine. Although there’s no fried calamari, a compromise in the form of squid Goan chilli fry (R250) for starters, is struck. And an order for a chicken xacuti (R180) with pav (R15), a crab thali (R380), and a lime soda (R70) to wash off the spiciness that is expected is placed.
The soda arrives quickly but tastes more like Limca. Then, in the blink of an eye, the plate of squid is placed on the table. Tossed with onion, capsicum and chilli, it is cooked to perfection and isn’t too oily or spicy. While eavesdropping on the Konkani chatter in the kitchen and mopping off half the plate, the steaming xacuti (which my cousins and I deliberately call “execute-y”) arrives. Accompanied with the chicken pieces that are tender to dig into, the curry carries a rich coconut flavour, not letting the poppy seeds overpower it, as is the case in most places. And although settling for pav in the city is common, poi here would make this a complete experience.
For the thali, one can choose between chapati and bhakri, and we opt for the latter. It comprises dry prawn kismur (a salad made of shrimp, grated coconut, onion and chilli), tisryanche suke (dry clams), cauliflower gravy, and two pieces of crab coated with masala along with solkadi. The thali is the star of the meal, instantly transporting us to a Goan grandma or mai’s kitchen. It has a nice balance of flavours, thanks to the fact that it isn’t entirely crab-dominated. Although the gravy is a bit tangy, all the bowls are wiped clean. There’s plenty of flesh in the crabs to complement the spicy chopped onion masala with hints of raecheado, and the prawns have the right amount of crispiness.
Given the overall experience, it is easy to ignore any minor flaws at this no-frills eatery. It is easy to do the nitpicking when the real deal is over 600 km away. But Goan Spice is a much-needed addition to a stretch that has for long, not been able to boast about anything beyond Swati Snacks and Sardar Pav Bhaji. For what it’s worth, it would certainly make a Bomaicar happy.
At Shop no 3, Zainab Manjil, Tardeo.
Time 12 to 4pm; 7:30pm to 12am
Catch up on all the latest Mumbai news, crime news, current affairs, and also a complete guide on Mumbai from food to things to do and events across the city here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Masterchef finalist Karishma Sakhrani's breakfast tutorial!