Casa de Goa checks all the Goa boxes you'd expect: whitewashed walls, blue shutters, cheesy beachside art, and a bookshelf stocking Sidney Sheldon. The key ingredient missing is a bit of imagination.
Or so we think when we mooch in on a Thursday afternoon and find only two other couples at the restaurant. We put it down to off-season: Kalyan Nagar is more afternoon nap than weekday lunch to many people, after all. In retrospect, the emptiness may have more to do with the loud playlist and a waitstaff that hovers like kites over a schoolyard lunch.
We quickly order cocktails to distract ourselves from the uncomfortable attention: Ripe Mango Ringo mixes white rum, mango juice and curry leaves with all the skill of a college party punch. The worse crime, and one we cannot forgive, is using canned mango juice in a month when the streets are flooded with fresh mango. Ginger Urrack, with coconut water, ginger and sparkling wine, ruins what should have been a delicious cocktail with one rookie error: serving the drink tepid instead of icy cold.
This is usually the point at the meal where it seems like things might look up: after two misses, we’re due a hit, and anyway, who opens a Goan restaurant unless they love Goan food? But reader, brace yourself for the run of ridiculously bad luck we encounter over the course of this lunch.
First, watching wildebeests in the African savanna on Animal Planet might make you look at your plate of beef xacuti a little differently, but it helps more that the masala on the meat is so overpowering, you have no idea what you’re eating, even if it was a shoe in a past life. Squid recheado is fiery, but even its crisp coating cannot mask the smell of stale seafood. Babycorn cafreal is a better bet, even if the base masala tastes a little raw.
Should you find yourself here, please avoid ordering the poi at all costs – we are informed that the breads are brought in from Goa once a week and can personally attest to this, given how stale they are.
There’s a thick, luscious Gonzales beef curry that tastes suspiciously similar, nonetheless, to the xacuti. Coconut rice provides a much-needed distraction: fluffy and perfectly cooked, with the coconut just one degree shy of being overpowering. Much to our delight, the sannas are a dream - soft and poofy, they are perfect for mopping up gravy - should there be a gravy on this menu worth lapping up. (Heads-up, it’s not the veg feijoada, which tastes like a rajma with an identity crisis.)
We wish this story had a happy ending in the form of a redeeming dessert, but our sizzling bebinca with ice cream is the final straw: charred and only palatable because of ice-cream not made in-house. Not even the festival of human ennui that is Calangute in December deserves a tribute as wrong-headed as this. We can’t believe it, but Bangalore has actually accomplished a thing we thought impossible, and put us off Goa for a while.
Getting there: 2075, 4th Cross Rd, HRBR Layout 2nd Block, Kalyan Nagar, call 080 49652718. A meal for two costs about Rs. 3100.
Accessibility: Two steps followed by an elevator that takes you to the restaurant.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
Wake up to daily updates on what to eat/shop/do in your city