We are a gourmand couple who love to discover new places and eat our hearts out. Follow us for a guilt trip along the food road.
We remember mentioning this statement previously in one of our articles. “Food is not rational. Food is culture, food is habit, food is craving. Food is identity.” If you’ve been following our posts, pictures & articles, you will realise that food obtains a prominent space in many of our lives. One doesn’t necessarily need to be a foodie or a bon viveur to enjoy good food. The simple love for good taste and the passion for trying out varied culinary options are just enough.
Mumbai stands out In the culinary experience when it comes to the variety of cuisines. And with so many offerings, It’s more of a “been there and done that” tag. But what about our own tradition ? How often do we come across restaurants serving authentic regional cuisines ? Not many right ?
Our search for- “That one such place” lead us to Goa Portuguesa – Belapur. It was more of a pleasant surprise as we bumped into this place. Bringing back childhood memories, we were elated that this legendary place has opened doors in Navi Mumbai. Our visit, rather visits to the first outlet in Mahim were wrapped and stored amongst the many fond memories. And now it was time to unwrap that so that we could add some more.
Here is a low down of our experience in their almost new outlet.
Our evening started with some fresh ‘Sol kadi’. A pretty looking pink drink full of flavours from the coconut milk, kokum and a spike from the chilli. This drink startled our taste buds in the right way.
Following the drink was the ‘Crab Kalimiri Soup’.Not a sea food lover but this was way beyond expected. The bits of ground pepper took this soup to the next level. The vegetarians were served the ‘Pumpkin Soup’ not very convincing but all you need is the courage to take a sip and then one can go on and on without taking a break till the bowl is licked clean.
The appetisers at Goa Portuguesa were a clear cut winner. None of the both, vegetarian or the non vegetarian lagged behind in any way. Each was better than one another in their own way. Our satisfaction was way beyond expectations and all our fellow diners enjoyed every option served to us.
Cashew being grown in abundance in Goa, was used in almost every item served. The ‘Kaju Kothimbir Vadi’ also had its share of cashew bits in the otherwise humble coriander chickpea fritter. Cut into perfect cubes these vadis came with a spicy green chutney. The cashew added the extra crunch and punch to this dish.
‘Bhindi Crackers’ was another favourite amongst all. Crispy okra batter fried along with some cashews and ground nuts was another clear winner.
The ‘Peas Potato Chops’ had a very unique taste to it. Thought they were just potatoes and peas boiled and smashed together along with some onions and tomatoes and then batter coated and deep fried. It was the Goan spice that added to the extra special taste to it. This went really well with the Tamarind chutney.
‘Prawn Rissois’ is a Portuguese special dish which has tender prawns cooked in a cheesy base. Extremely mild and soothing on the taste buds.
The ‘Andhra Chicken’ was succulent chunks of boneless chicken cooked in a coconut based dry gravy. The speciality of andhra food is the use of lots of ground spices and the big red dry chilly added some drama and beauty to this dish.
Fish is synonymous to Goa and hence the ‘Rawas Dry’. Marinated with Goan spices the Rawas was pan fried to perfection. The crust had the perfect crunch and the inside was extremely fresh and soft. We were quite reluctant with seafood during monsoons, but never anymore. With a hint of lime it just tasted divine.
As always when starters like such are served we loose control of the amount we are eating. We tend to overeat forgetting we still had the main course and dessert to try. That’s the kind of obsession we have with good food.
Thought quiet full, but definitely not willing to let go of the mains, we tried a few hits and a few misses. And here is what we had.
‘Tender Coconut Cashew Sukke’ or a semi dry curry. Just like the name suggests, small bits of tender coconut tossed with cashews, tomatoes , onions and goan spices. This dish was a show stealer in respect to the way it was served. The preparation was served inside a coconut husk. Very authentic to look as well as to taste. Our recommendation is to have it with hot chapatis.
‘Veg Kozhambu’ was a healthy mix of vegetables like carrot, cauliflower, peas, potatoes etc in a thick tamarind and coconut based gravy. Very typically south Indian in taste and our recommendation is to have it with ‘Amboli’ or rice flour dosas.
The third and the best of the 3 vegetarian curries served was the ‘Rajma Tondak’. We indians love our pulses and these could be in any form. This gravy was cooked in a pungent red gravy and the flavour seemed to be slightly spicy but a perfect combination to the ‘Peas Pulao’. The otherwise sweet Pulao maintained the balance with this spicy Rajma curry.
The ‘Prawn Curry’ was a perfect match to the buttery ‘Garlic Pav’. The combination of raw mangos along with the coconut was the base of the gravy. Though it wasnt as per the likes of all on the table but we enjoyed it pretty well. A special mention to the ‘Garlic Pav’ again which was well crisped and the butter overdose just made it way too perfect.
The ‘Chicken Xacuti’ was not too appealing and we quiet didn’t enjoy the same. The flavours of the excess coconut killed the originality of this popular Goan dish. But we’ve tried this in the other outlets and the spices weren’t subdued and we loved it.
‘Vindalho Mutton’ also wasn’t as good as expected. The meat was a little too chewey. But one can’t be too critical when majority of the items on the table were an instant hit.
Time to halt, take a break and sing along with the live music. We crooned along with the lead singer some of our favourite songs and were appreciated as well. After burning a few calories, of course by singing we were back to what we were are best at..Eating.
We were served 3 desserts of which 2 were authentic Goan in nature.
‘Dodol’ is very similar to the Indian Halwa. This was a mix of ragi, milk and palm jaggery. As good as it tasted it was also very light and definitely a healthy dessert , which one could eat without guilt.
‘Bibinca’ is a typical Goan dessert which is a 7 layered dessert. The ingredients used are many but easily available ones like flour, sugar, milk etc. Eggs are a very important part of this dessert and it was used in plenty. This soft textured and layered sweet was wiped clean in less than a minute.
The last but not the least was the ‘Caramel Custard’. Very light and perfectly textured with the right amount of pores. This proves that the custard had been prepared the right way and set perfectly. The ‘Caramel sauce was not too charred but a light golden orange. Giving it the perfect flavour.
Our evening came to an end and all of us had a common feeling ” Mhojea jivak borem dissonam” meaning “I am happy”. We have had our share of happiness when are you getting yours ?
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