The beach breeze may be faux but the fluttering kaftans are real, and they’re on sale, you’ll learn, as you walk across a sand bar, order Balchao clams and ponder the dangers of drinking too much King’s beer in a hammock.
We’re at Lady Baga, restaurateur AD Singh (of the Olive group)’s new Goan restaurant and bar at Lavelle Road, which is all too kitsch in moments, but captures well the sights and sounds of Goa’s touristy pockets.
All Hail The Kings
We watch a video of sun-beds playing on loop, slap on some sunscreen and wait for our cocktails. We’re brave enough to put ourselves through Lady Baga’s Acid Test, where fraternal twin tequila bottles are sent out on ice. One is tamarind flavoured and sour about its sibling’s more likeable personality – a pleasing lemony-pepper. We Like Big Coconuts & We Cannot Lie is a mouthful, a bracing vodka-nariyal pani fantasy; and The Ginger Man served in a Middle Eastern lamp-like glass mixes scotch with tamarind juice and ginger, setting the tone for the tangy appetisers that come next.
Father Lorenzo’s Chorizos take us back to Brittos circa late 90s, where we spent many afternoons mopping up all kinds of curries with pav. It skimps on the sausage, however, leaving us with just enough to pair with the bread. Succulent prawn loncha showcases fresh prawns pickled to perfection and deserving of an encore.
Flushed from the sunshine of the starters, we order chef’s special risotto and Konkani mutton curry-pav. The mutton is tender and the thick green gravy is herb-y fresh with just enough green chili to pump up the heat. The belle of this beach though, is the pearly white risotto heaped high with Balchao prawns, an ingenious Italian-Goan permutation.
For dessert we pick Serradura, a Portuguese style biscuit crumble layered with cream that appears as a tiny portion, ensuring the sweet from the cream does not overwhelm the palate.
Now here’s a Goan restaurant with all the susegad feels, but minus the awful service and season rush you would have been experiencing in a Goan shack right about now.
On a second visit to Lady Baga we notice how well she morphs from day to night, almost as seamlessly as Baga’s beach sarong sellers switching between Russian and English, all to please a customer.
Getting there: #25/4, Lavelle Road, call 9108934177. A meal for two costs approximately Rs 4,650. Konkani meals are available at lunch service.
Accessibility: One step up to the elevator that opens to the 1st and 2nd floors.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
This review was conducted by Anjana Appanna, a city based writer and voiceover artist
Wake up to daily updates on what to eat/shop/do in your city