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We have all nursed the fantasy of setting off to Goa on an impromptu trip, leaving our mundane lives behind for a day or two. And for some of us, a huge part of this daydream involves gorging on some oh-so-flavourful Goan food. If you have visited the beach state often enough, you will know that the ubiquitous ‘fish curry rice’ does not even begin to shave the tip of the iceberg that is local Goan cuisine. Pune may not exactly offer a profusion of restaurants pitching truly authentic Goan fare, but here are some of the city’s best options when your stomach starts sending out urgent Goa withdrawal symptom signals.
The ambience of Café 1730, replete with vibrant live music, is quite reminiscent of a Goan tavern unto itself, and then, of course, the icing on the proverbial cake is the lip-smacking Goan delicacies it dishes out. Start off with a buttery, flaky rissois (chopped prawns cooked with shallots, green pepper and stuffed in a crescent moon-shaped roux pastry and crumb-fried), and proceed to some recheado-stuffed seafood, beef tongue, or fish in a variety of elusive curries such as ambotik, temperada and guisado. Vegetarians can go for the mellow stew caldeen, while carnivores have the beloved pork vindaloo and sorpotel to wolf down.
Café Goa in Viman Nagar, a pretty little cubbyhole of an eatery, is the only place in town where you can nibble on some ros omelette – Goa’s popular street food that combines the piquant gravy of chicken xacuti with a fluffy omelette and often comes stuffed in the middle of poi. They also do lovely Goan breakfast items, including alsana curry with pao. While mains here mostly comprise seafood, you can also try some chicken cafreal accompanied perhaps by squid masala fry.
The Place – Touché The Sizzler also rustles up some decent Goan dishes, such as the fiery prawn piri-piri in sizzler form, and even the rare sobremesa the Goans inherited from the Portuguese, the creamy, crumbly Serra Durra. Fat Cat’s Café in Salunkhe Vihar, meanwhile, does a scrumptious chorizo roll and a vindaloo meal, besides organising Goan food festivals every now and then featuring deliciousness such as prawn balchao, melt-in-the-mouth chicken croquettes, and even a slice of the mildly sweet and layered Goan dessert, bebinca. The chef here adds her own personal touches to every dish, which therefore comes alive with new flavours and with its ‘traditional’ essence still mysteriously retained.
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