Being a young millennial, my association with Goa had been shortsighted. I had been to Goa a couple of times and every time we would end up lazying on the beach, sipping its ever-popular King's beer. Goa is a place I have always loved and looked forward to visiting, something that I shared with Chef Lloyd Braganza, who became my host this time around.
The creative mind behind Goa's popular establishment House of Lloyds, Chef Lloyd started out in a tiny Calangute garage and learned the tricks of the trade by running a Goan restaurant and BBQ joint with his mother. In 2011, he restored and converted a century-old Portuguese bungalow into a sprawling 250-cover restaurant that offers a range of authentic Goan food and delicious drinks concocted by him. Located in the calm and picturesque North Goa, House of Lloyds in the village of Saipem in Candolim is his tribute to the state.
With a new restaurant opening in Mumbai this month, Chef Lloyd took us to all the places in Goa that have inspired him and added a hint of nostalgia to each visit. On this trip, I saw a different side of Goa, the one that is veiled behind tourist attractions and wild parties. So, take a cue from him and go on these unexplored experiences the next time you plan your Goan vacation.
Kicking off the trip on a sweltering Friday afternoon in May, Chef Lloyd treated us to his favourite lunch place, Copper Leaf at Chogm Road, Alto Porvorim.
Hugely popular for its fish thali, we feasted on crabs, shellfish, prawns and the titular Kingfish all in one big platter. Prepare to have your eating prowess tested on this one because it also comes with a side of gravy, white rice and gulab jamun and banana. We finished off the meal with the Goan delicacy bebinca, a jaggery based dessert you can have with a side of vanilla ice cream.
Next we headed out to the Mandovi Fishermen Marketing Co-op Society Limited, for an up, close and personal view of the place where Chef Lloyd sources fresh seafood. If you do well with the smell of fish (and won't mind real live crabs walking all around), give this place a visit. Head there early around 6 am and the fishermen may even let you lend a hand at the unloading of the fresh lot!
Making our way to Chef Lloyd's favourite bread maker, a thirty-year-old establishment Santosh Lima bakery, I was excited to witness how homemade bread was done. Popular for its light as a feather pohi (wheat husk bread), you can partake in mixing the flour and baking bread in an oven the size of a small room. We hope you have your recipe down to the tee cuz' this one can be tricky!
To give us a taste of true blue Goan street food, Chef Lloyd took us to indulge in some fiery rassa omelette and meethi chai. This meal, with fiery mirchi pakoda, is not for the faint-hearted. A no frills dhaba at Saligao Circle is where you can find this dish and dine with locals and fishermen who thrive on this protein-rich diet.
A self-professed lover of barbecues, Chef Lloyd opened up his house for a lively evening spent drinking delicious cocktails and eating rich smokey BBQ staples. The restaurant is dimly lit and romantically designed (full with tabletop candles) for people who love a nice sit-down dinner. My top recommendations will be the Passion Fruit/Jalapeno and Fresh Plum Chocolate mixes.
The mains were absolute winners, too. I had helpings of spicy chorizo with freshly baked pohi, pork chops with steamed veggies, and mud pudding.
After this culinary extravaganza, we took a five-minute breather and headed out into the night for dancing and live music. Cavala bar on Calangute-Baga Road is a must visit if you like some end of the night mad fun. At this spot, you are just a jive away to uninhibited happiness!
House Of Lloyds Goa is all set to open its first-ever joint in Mumbai on the 23rd May 2018, so you can experience Chef Lloyd's gourmet delights in one more city now!
Address: Above Grandmama's Cafe, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai
Contact: (+91) 7400092996, (022) 26602955