A Taste Of Goa

January 21, 2013 7:45 am by

Masala clams at Soul Fry Casa. Photo: Sheena Dabholkar.

Held captive by unrelenting work schedules, we can’t get away to Goa as frequently as we’d like. Our consolation then is that in Mumbai there is no dearth of restaurants serving the sumptuous food of our favourite holiday destination. The majority of these are unpretentious, modestly priced lunch homes run by third and fourth generation Goans who bring to the table the sort of authentically spiced meat and seafood focused meals that are typical to homes in the state. We made our selection of nine favourites from those eateries that serve quintessential Goan dishes such as sausage chilli fry; vindaloo; sorpotel; fish and prawn curries; and beef chilli fry. Just in case you don’t have willing relatives or friends to bring back Goan goodies like mutton chops, plum cakes, Goa sausages, pickles, and masalas, we’ve also compiled a list of snacks and ingredient shops that stock these treats. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

C. D’Souza
To its old patrons, C. D’Souza is still Marosas, a restaurant that was located in Fort from 1940, when it opened, until 1989 when it shifted address to its current spot in Kalbadevi. The change in address brought with it a new name, but the menu has remained the same. The all-day restaurant has the unpretentious appeal of a living room in the care of a kindly old dame (the mother of one of the four partners behind Marosas) who manages both the kitchen and the service. There are Goan staples like vindaloo (you get a choice of pork, chicken, and beef), sorpotel, Goa sausage fry, potato chops with kheema, jam tarts, Bolinas (coconut biscuits), and plum cake. Both the green-chilli flecked fish curry (Rs100), and the greasy, fat-lined Goan sausage chilli fry (Rs140) pair perfectly with bread.
Near Paris Bakery, opposite Our Lady of Dolours Church, Dhobi Talao, Marine Lines. Tel: 022 2206 5893.

Though the menu lists Continental and Italian staples, we suggest sticking to what they know best: home-style Goan preparations. The wallpaper of palm trees that’s plastered over one wall of this simply-decorated long-standing Colaba establishment won’t transport you to the Sunshine State, but the food definitely will. Our picks include the not-too-spicy Goa sausage chilli fry (Rs95), which is close to how the half-Goan amongst us makes it at home. Except here they dice the potatoes into small pieces instead of cooking them whole to mop up the spices. More fiery is the bright-red prawn curry (Rs90, with rice), which is low on oil and high on flavour. Also on offer: sorpotel, vindaloo and beef chilli fry.
Glamour, H.N.A. Marg, lane opposite Theobroma, Colaba. Tel: 022 6504 3633.

Goa Bhavan
This one bedroom flat-turned-canteen offers nominally priced but top quality seafood thalis. Their teesriya masala (Rs70), and kokum-flavoured prawn curry (Rs120) will have you angling for seconds as will their crisp rava fried bombil (Rs100), and rava prawns (Rs100). Expect to find the dining hall always packed with Goans who reside in the guest house of the same name in the same building as the canteen.
Gulmohar Cross Road, near Fabindia, JVPD Scheme, Juhu. Tel: 022 2620 5184.

Highway Gomantak
This 21-year-old eatery started as a khanaval by Ramesh Purshottam Potnis and his wife, is a Mumbai institution. Among our many favourites are the pomfret thali (Rs170) for the lush fish curry made with light coconut milk, turmeric and tangy kokam juice; the thick teesriya or clam masala (Rs160) made with tons of garam masala; and the kolambi curry (Rs170) made with tiny prawns that have enough flavour to make all other prawns taste like tofu. Be sure also to share a big bowlful of bombil fry (Rs200); Highway’s buttery-on-the-inside, crunchy-on-the-outside rendition is the best in the city.
Gandhi Nagar, Service Road, Bandra (East). Tel: 022 2640 9692.

This tiny restaurant run out of a garage in Orlem in Malad is owned by a part-Goan part-Mangalorean family, leading to the amalgam Mangoes. Try the beef tongue (Rs121), the Goa sausage fry (Rs111) and Mangalorean chicken ghee roast (Rs117) with kori roti, all spicy enough to make you snivel.
Shop No.1, Almar Apartments, near Orlem Church, Orlem, Malad. Tel: 022 2801 5552.

New Martin Hotel
This no frills Colaba lunch home has been on the top of its game for over 60 years serving simple albeit flavour-packed Goan grub. On every visit to the New Martin Hotel we tend to over order not wanting to forgo any of their signature preparations such as the hot and sour Goa sausage chilli fry (Rs70); mutton vindaloo (Rs70); and rice with fish curry (Rs65).
Glamour House, Strand Cinema Road, Colaba. Tel: 022 2202 9606.

Snow Flake Restaurant
At this eight-decade-old Dhobi Talao establishment, as in Goa, the service is laid back, and the food inexpensive. The tangy and soupy curry leaf-flavoured fish curry (Rs35) served with the catch of the day is a lunchtime favourite of the nearby St. Xavier’s College crowd. The offal-inclined will be deeply satisfied by the robust, vinegar doused tongue roast (Rs70) cooked with browned onions. Call ahead before you go as the kitchen only prepares a limited amount of these daily specials.
Rebeiro Building, in the Dhobi Talao Lane opposite Kyani & Co., Kalbadevi, Marine Lines. Tel: 022 2201 4252.

Soul Fry/Soul Fry Casa 
Get the prawn loncha (Rs330), a semi-dry toss-up of the shellfish with a tangy coconut, ginger, green chilli and bay leaf masala. Equally scrumptious is the pompfret rechad fry (Rs650), two pieces of fried fish coated in a red vinegar paste that looks more fiery than its bite, and the rust-hued fish curry (Rs330), served with a meaty grained rice. Purists carp at their noted lack of pork items, but the teesriya sukha masala (Rs220), their signature preparation of de-shelled clams cooked in a spicy coconut gravy, more than compensates.
1/2, Silver Croft, Pali Mala Road, near Gondola restaurant, Bandra (West). Tel: 022 2604 6892; 111-A, Currimjee Building, opposite Mumbai University, near Fabindia, M. G. Road, Fort. Tel: 022 2267 1421.  

Mahim’s traffic cops flock to this modest, five-table lunch home, where Savita Karekar, Sushegad’s mild-mannered owner and cook, shuttles between the bill counter and her spotless open kitchen. Karekar’s tongue-searing, kokum-infused fish curry (Rs125) is cooked with two fleshy pieces of surmai and a heavy hand of Kashmiri chilli powder. Its biggest achievement is that it is practically oil-free. Her prawn rava fry (Rs130), made of fresh, plump prawns marinated in a fiery chutney before it’s dipped in a semolina batter, is also exquisite.
Opposite Paradise Theatre, near Kakori House, L. J. Road, Mahim. Tel: 022 2444 5555.

Farm Products
This is where you go when you want Goa sausages, pork chops, beef steaks, Goan pickles and masalas, Christmas hams and revelatory roast beef tongue (Rs700 per kilo). The Colaba institution, which has been around since 1890, is run by Luiza Rocha and her children Olga and Ronnie.
Salvation Army Building, Ormiston Road, opposite Hotel Diplomat, behind Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba. Tel: 022 2284 0335.

Perfect Confectioners
It’s best to avoid Perfect’s confectionery, which sits in the display cabinet looking unappetisingly pasty, and focus instead on its savoury food. The mutton chops (Rs15 per piece) are tasty, but it’s the fish cutlets (Rs15 per piece) that we could make a meal out of. This tiny shop in the lane behind the Chandanwadi crematorium also sells roast beef tongue (Rs380 per kilo) and sorpotel (Rs400 per kilo) and is a great place to stock up on Goa sausages, Goan pickles like dried bombil and prawn balchao, and masalas for items such as vindaloo and sorpotel.
Sethna Building, Ground Floor, Chandanwadi, Marine Lines. Tel: 022 2205 8492.

Vienna Bakery
The mutton patties (Rs12 per piece) are always in short supply at this Vakola institution tucked away behind St. Anthony’s Church. The bakery is usually crowded with locals keen to wipe out the tasty patties and Vienna’s famous plum cake (Rs200 for 800grams).
Plot No.125, Ground Floor, Vakola Pipeline, behind St. Anthony’s Church, Vakola, Santa Cruz (East). Tel: 022 2667 2513.