To Experience Scrumptious Bohra Cuisine, Dig Into ‘Thaal’, Goa

The word Thaal is iconic with the Bohra Cuisine and hence full points to Rumama Roowala for naming her restaurant ‘Thaal’.

Little Bit Of History

Bohra Muslims, who are said to have migrated originally from Yemen to Gujarat, are firm believers in the maxim: “The family that eats together, stays together.” The entire Bohra family dines out of one platter called the thaal and it typically accommodates 4-8 people. Each dish is placed in the centre of the thaal and every member pulls his or her share. Bohras have a no-wastage policy. Not a single grain of rice is left on the plate when it is taken away.

To promote this thought and keep the tradition alive, Rumana came up with the idea of ‘Thaal’ as she too believes in community eating and bonding over food.

Location and Ambiance

Thaal which is located right opposite the Coco Beach on the Reis Magos Fort Road has both indoor and outdoor seating options. The indoor option with its low floor seating is where the traditional thaal is served. For savoring a thaal, you need to be in a group of minimum 3-4 people, otherwise, you could sit in the outside area and enjoy the smaller versions of thaal called thalis.

We chose a lazy Friday afternoon for our lunch at Thaal. Since we were just two people, me and my son, we opted for thaalis and sat down in the outer seating area that oversees the coco beach. It was a bright, beautiful and breezy afternoon, perfect to enjoy a great meal. The view was great too, I anyway am the happiest around the sea.

Food

Coming to food, we ordered two thalis for ourselves, one can choose between the starters, but the main course changes on a daily basis. But we were lucky and got to savor two different main course dishes as well. As per Bohra tradition, the meal usually begins by tasting salt which acts as a palette cleanser, it is then followed by a dessert, they consider it auspicious. So keeping with the tradition, I started by eating my dessert first, the Kalamra, which is basically sweetened curd and rice with lots of dry fruits in it. It was quite nice, after this I came to the Channa Batata, a salad with chickpeas and potatoes tossed in nice tangy tamarind chutney and the best part was some fried onions on the top, they enhanced the overall taste so much.

My starter included the Bohra Chicken Cutlets, these were simply amazing, crispy coating on the outside and almost melt in the mouth soft on the inside. Subtle flavors and a perfect texture, these definitely are worth trying.

My son’s thaali had Keema Pao as a starter and that too was excellently prepared. The Keema was delicious and the Paos soft and buttery, it made for a perfect combination.

For the main course, while I got to try Daal Gosht with Rice, my son had Gosht Biryani and both these dishes were mind-blowing. Especially the Daal Gosht is one dish that you definitely should not miss. The mutton pieces in both the dishes were extremely juicy and tender and that speaks for the quality of food. The biryani was Kacche Gosht Ki Biryani, which means that everything is cooked together and that’s one of the prime reason for getting out the best flavors. All meat is marinated overnight and slow cooked for about 4-5 hours and this explains its tenderness perfectly.

To finish my meal, Sheer Khurma, the dessert made with sweetened milk, dates, vermicelli, and loads of dry fruits was just perfect.

So I highly recommend it to both my Goan readers and friends and my readers from across the country and globe that when in Goa, this place should definitely be on your list.

Habanero- A Tex-Mex Culinary Experience

The moment someone says Mexican, I imagine cowboy hats, a raw appeal, some Guns and Roses type music and Nachos! So it was about time we explored this Tex-Mex Restaurant & Brewery in our very own Goa, and hence Habanero happened. Living up to its name, Habanero, which means North America, looked every bit Mexican. I especially loved the vibrancy of the place, the bold colors of lamps and those big Mexican hats adorning the tables. It has a picnic table kind bench seating, which gives it a very appealing look overall. You feel as if you have entered a happy zone and this seating enhances the experience. They usually have live performances quite often and there is a decent size stage where it happens. Unfortunately for us, it was only instrumental music, but anyway the place seemed lively enough. As we settled down, the first thing we did was to pick up those hats and of course, pose and get some pictures clicked 🙂

 

The lady manager at the Restaurant was a very warm person and came forward to both welcome us and then also suggest the must-haves. So going mainly by her choice we ordered:

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Starters

Macho Nachos, Chicken

Fully loaded with chicken, tomatoes, beans, jalapenos, olives, melted cheese, sour cream and guacamole, these were simply the best. Rated amongst their signature dishes, I would say it does full justice to it. I have eaten loaded nachos at a lot of places, but topping it with sour cream and guacamole was an add-on that I had just at this place.

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Sesame Shrimp Lime Tostada

Lightly grilled shrimps, cooked with a sesame lime sauce on a bed of lettuce leaves and salsa on a crispy tortilla, it made for an interesting dish. Totally worth indulging.

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Chipotle Chicken Skewers

I totally loved these, grilled chicken chunks in sweet and spicy chipotle sauce. The first bite may feel more on the sweeter side, but as you eat, you feel the chipotle spices doing the work. I quite enjoyed this sweet and spicy combination.

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Drinks

Bloody Mary

Pineapple Mojito

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Beer Sampler

There were 3 beers served as a part of the sampler, IPA, Lager and Mango Wheat, of all three I liked Lager the best. IPA was ok, but the Mango Wheat did not leave me with any mango flavor.

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Main Course

We were so full with the starters, that main course almost confused us. We glanced through the entire menu, shifting choices between Burgers, Tacos, Mexican Rice Bowl and Pork Ribs. All of them seemed appetizing enough to order, but we weren’t sure if we would be able to finish. Hence after a lot of deliberation, we settled for a Mexican Thali. Yes, even Mexican menu has a thali, though reading the word thali with Mexican food, didn’t quite gel well for me, but it made me all the more curious to see what was it all about and how was it served.

Well to be honest, when I saw the thali, I was disappointed. I understand that thali concept basically means getting to try a little bit of everything and we are normally used to seeing traditional thali’s in many cuisines, but with Mexican, all I expected was at least a different presentation. A typical steel thali with compartments didn’t do justice to this cuisine. I was quite put off with that, the food did not look appealing at all presented that way, neither did it look Mexican. It’s my heartfelt suggestion to the management, that even though the concept is great, it would be better it items are presented in some other manner, more like a combo than a thali. Taste wise the food was very Mexican and alright, but the presentation kind of ended the game for me, as far as the main course was concerned.

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Desserts

Fried Ice Cream

This was nicely done, but the outer covering does have a scope of improvement, it should be slightly thinner, the quoting was too thick.

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Tres Leches Cake

This definitely was a very soothing experience, both of the eyes and the mouth. It looked beautiful and tasted equally good. Again a small suggestion here would be to not sprinkle too much of cinnamon powder on the cake, as it takes away the subtle taste of buttercream cake dipped in milk.

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Overall the experience was not very great but wasn’t bad either, it was good, and I can surely give another chance to the place because I enjoyed the starters and my drinks.

 

Habanero Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Artjuna- A Prefect Combination of Food & Lifestyle Place!

Normally, we don’t think of a lifestyle shop and food together, for most of us they are two different things and we have to go separately for eating and shopping, but If I tell you about Artjuna, it offers more than just food, its a perfect place to shop apparels, fashion accessories and even furniture, yes you read that right, Artjuna has all this and a lot more to offers its visitors.

Right from the entrance, the warm vibes engulf you, the place has such a colorful and vibrant feel to it that one can simply spend hours chilling there. I am sure once you step in, you make up your mind right then, that you don’t want to leave soon. It’s a place that holds your attention and keeps it intact until you leave and even after that. For me, Artjuna has been a wholesome experience. The Bohemian fashion apparel, accessories, and furniture is something that Moshes and his wife Anastasia, two passionate people who own the place, have collected over the years. Their love for art and classy things is evident in their collection. If you really take a closer look at the items on display, they give you a feel of a very personalized collection, it’s not that they have just picked up anything and everything to fill up the place, but its a very selective and tastefully placed collection.

An old Portuguese house that has been converted into this lifestyle shop and restaurant also houses a decent sized library for book lovers and also a place for yoga and recreation.

 

Coming to food, Artjuna takes great pride in not just saying but maintaining high-quality standards in all their food items. They strictly use fresh farm produce, seasonal vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, imported tahini and wild honey to prepare healthy meals. They serve Meditteranean, Israeli and Lebanese cuisines. This garden ambiance adds to the overall appeal of fresh serves and healthy food. Every juice that you order at Artjuna, is prepared right after you order, nothing is pre-prepared and kept and hence the freshness is always guaranteed.

I began my culinary experience by ordering a Watermelon Salad with Feta, as it has been one of my all-time favorite dishes and Artjuna totally lived up to my expectations. The best part was the Feta, it was perfectly balanced and not over salty as most of the places serve. To go along, I settled for the Energiser, a combination of beetroot, carrot, orange, ginger and some cinnamon which gave the kick to this fresh juice.

Followed this up with a Mazzet Plate, served with Pita Bread, this platter had a perfect selection of Meditteranean flavors, with a smooth tahini, greek kalamata olives, olive pate, feta cheese and mixed vegetable pickle. It makes for a really delightful dish and is surely a must try.

Baba Ganoush was another dish that I tried, flame roasted eggplants, creamed into a thick paste with tahini, and seasoned with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, this makes for a flavourful dip to enjoy with pita and I loved it. The creaminess was almost mouth melting.

A chocolate fondant cake with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate eclair is what made for the amazing desserts. The cake was so soft and fresh, that the quality of the products used was once again brought to notice.

The place has its own charm and I insist on a visit at least once, the second time you would not require any conviction from my end :). The food, the ambiance, the warm people, the lifestyle shop, the books and a couple of dogs and cats will give you more than you need to enjoy a day out. Trust me on this one, not that you shouldn’t trust me on others ;), but do give it a try, it will be worth your while.

As far as I am concerned, I enjoyed myself thoroughly and look forward to visit the place soon again. Let me know what you think about it, have you visited it yet, or is it on your list now?

Artjuna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Experiencing great North Indian food at The Yellow Chilli, Goa!

When you are away from your home town, apart from missing your loved ones back home, you miss the typical home food the most. During my recent trips to Goa, one evening I was really missing the typical Indian food, especially the Dal Makhani and some Butter Naans and then I remembered The Yellow Chilli by Sanjeev Kapoor which is housed in the very famous Mall de Goa and I immediately jumped with joy, grabbed hold of my friends and we all headed straight to the restaurant.

The quirkiness of the places catches your attention immediately, with some amazing caricatures adorning the walls. The seating is casual dining type and is apt for families and youngsters both.

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To begin with we settled for some Masala Papad, Dahi Ke Kebab, Tangra Chilly Paneer, Lehsuni Murg Tikka and Chanak Tawa Masala. The Chanak Tawa Masala was easily the best dish, nice and crispy fish with a flavourful masala and I simply loved it. The Lehsuni Murg Tikka was another delightful preparation, the chicken was mouth meltingly soft and the taste of garlic was just right.

Dahi Ke Kebabs were nicely done and I loved the small innovation of adding a bit of cheese in the centre, which tasted quite well. The Chilly Paneer was good, but could have been better, as the taste of salt and garlic overpowered everything else.

For drinks, we tried Jaljeera, Butterscotch Caramel and Tarbooza and all of them were good. I personally loved the Jaljeera, my friend ended up ordering the Butterscotch Caramel twice so I am very sure it would be awesome too.

For the mains we settled for Lalla Mussa Dal, a hot favourite at the Yellow Chilly and Ghee Roasted Chicken. Both the dishes were great, and we relished them with butter naans.

Bebinca with butter made for our dessert and it was delicious. You can’t miss on trying a bebinca especially when in Goa. Overall it was a great experience of having typical North Indian food in Goa and satiating my taste buds to the fullest. So when in Goa do try the Yellow Chilly and I am sure you will love it.

The Yellow Chilli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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