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Indulge in flavourful South Indian delicacies at Goa's hottest new restaurant

Updated on: 28 November,2022 10:05 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sammohinee Ghosh |

The minds behind award-winning restaurant Indian Accent invite us to a sensory space in Siolim that’s spicing up Goa’s soul with tempered curry leaves

Indulge in flavourful South Indian delicacies at Goa's hottest new restaurant

Gunpowder kid corn

What would you do if you could stretch time? Our maiden trip to Goa upskilled us with a secret power — the power to bloat time. Packing more moments in a minute and quiet in a while is an art we are yet to tame. But someday we will wield the susegad spirit that Goa — with sun and sand in attendance — avowed. Did it happen over a sylvan home, the stone benches, a porch skirting the street or the longest dinner of our life? It was a blend that seeped undisguised into the last bit: the dinner.

Cured red snapperCured red snapper

There’s something about stepping into a restaurant that has measured out exact portions of the old-world and contemporary. Was this someone’s home? Our first thoughts perch on intrigue and intimacy. The Portuguese-influenced cottage in Siolim  that houses Hosa seems to be hosting a lively party. We listen in on conversations that sweep past the arched partitions. A closer look, and we realise these are diners seated at different tables, playing a part in the spare friendliness of Hosa. Hosa means new in Kannada. The jollity begins from the cosy entrance that leans over to the bar. To the left, a private dining area restfully sits between walls where stories from the architecture of resplendent Chettinad homes take centrestage. To the right and beyond — where sections blend, much like the cultural milieu in Goa — corners bubble with food and banter. In the heady waft of curry leaf oil, fresh flowers, malty drinks and choicest glimpses of art, its newness holds our hand.

Puli munchi wingsPuli munchi wings

Moulding a fresh face

To catch our breath, we step out onto the patio. Tucked in the back, this inner court overlooks the sky. The white-and-blue seating against a bright peach wall could transport even a non-dreamer to Amalfi. But the reverie needs some sunshine and lemon trees. It could wait until we dig into the food that’s been sourced over a three-month trail in the hills and valleys of South India. Chef Suresh DC from Bengaluru, had fun curating a menu that focuses on flavours from the region with a new approach. We munch on their cashew nut pakoda (Rs 345) as an accompanying snack to our kokum cola drink (Rs 600, with rum). The house-made kokum cola drink takes us back to the simple joys of childhood. We had requested a non-alcoholic drink to enjoy the tang of kokum cola, but one can have it with rum. The cashews are lathered with a coarse spice mix that offers a pleasant break in between sips. We like the lemony aftertaste. The chef shares that it has been tossed in lime leaf podi and fried chilli. “The idea was to find a wider identity for the food I grew up eating. My friends and colleagues believe that South Indian food can be summarised in dosa, idli and sambar. I wanted to turn that idea on its head and present an amalgamation of micro-cuisines from its towns and villages.” With our next drink, sandy shack (Rs 500 for a glass), we move on from childhood to late adolescence — the malty undertones are hard to miss. The pale ale beer base gives us a spirited nudge. At this point, we note the upbeat music that’s all-pervading but never quite gets in the way of the drinking or dining experience. 

Coconut and jasmine sorbetCoconut and jasmine sorbet

The food menu at Hosa is fuss-free. The dishes as per appetite — categorised under headers such as small plates, large plates and extra large plates — take after the single page menu card in a South Indian café. We move on to the banana blossom cutlets (Rs 345) which are served with a tomato chilli jam and pickled onions. The crispy outside makes way for a gooey spicy inside; but the contrasting textures are held together by the subtle-sweet jam. We then try small plates coconut shrimp (Rs 495) and curry leaf cured snapper (Rs 545). The first one echoes a match made in heaven; the latter can take a while to warm up to your palate for the slight seawater taste of the fish. But the spiced kokum rasa and herb oil drizzled all over it adds the right kind of tart. We end our meal by polishing off some succulent goat ghee roast (Rs 745) and Guntur crab fry (Rs 1,195) with a flaky soft parotta. Needless to say, the chef seemed to have saved the best for the last.

Hosa bears the spirit of a Goan-Portugese homeHosa bears the spirit of a Goan-Portugese home

All about conviction

We barely have room for dessert but can’t refuse the coconut and jasmine sorbet (Rs 295) that looks like a beautiful mystery. The bed of ice it’s enshrouded in helps retain texture. We dig deep in to mix all the layers. The spoonful has coconut ice cream and cookie crumble on a bed of jasmine sorbet. What follows is a symphony of un-alike but delicious flavours in our mouth. Full from the artsy and electric ambience, and the indulgent food portions, we can’t stop thinking how a thorough lens from South India attempts to view decadent Goa. “Going ahead with a restaurant that takes South Indian cuisine to a whole new level was always on my mind. We were waiting for the right environment. This space clicked with what we had in mind,” admitted Rohit Khattar, founder-director, EHV International — known for its award-winning Indian Accent. With our long, relaxed dinner coming to an end, our first innings in Goa sets the bar high. 

Horchata colada. Pics Courtesy/Rohit ChawlaHorchata colada. Pics Courtesy/Rohit Chawla

ON 1 pm onwards (lunch); 7 pm to 11 pm (dinner)
AT Irada Home, house number 60/1, near St Anthony’s Church, Siolim. 
CALL 8326747212 

Wild mushroom sukka; interiors of the mezzanine sectionWild mushroom sukka; interiors of the mezzanine section

Let’s experiment

For those eager to experiment with South Indian cuisines, chef Suresh DC advises to go easy on the spices. “Traditionally, we use a lot of masalas. In many parts of the region, food is cooked in coconut oil. This can be overpowering for many patrons,” he reasons, adding that spices should be used judiciously and if unseasoned, one shouldn’t go overboard with byproducts of coconut or curry leaves.  

Gun fizz powder; (right) Mohabbat ka sharbatGun fizz powder; (right) Mohabbat ka sharbat

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