Whenever one thinks of Goa, the first few things that come to mind are the beaches, Kings beer, parties, the laid back environment and of course the awesome restaurants. My personal favorite in this beautiful Indian State has always been the food, especially the coastal cuisine. No matter where I have eaten, whether at a beach shack or at a roadside restaurant or one by the river, I have never been disappointed. I am not sure if this is because of the fresh produce or because this place has the best cooks in the country.
And adding to this collection of great restaurants is Mahe, the restaurant we are going to be featuring today. While it opened its doors to the public as recently as in December 2018, the restaurant has already been making some great positive waves in the local culinary scene. And we are here to tell you why!!
The restaurant which is jointly owned Chef Sandeep Sreedharan & Parth Timbadia (who btw also co-owns the Bonobo & Jam Jar restaurants in Mumbai) has a perfect combination of great food and beautiful ambience, in a way that they complement each other very well.
Let’s start off with the food. This department at Mahe is in the safe hands of it co-owner Chef Sandeep, who btw hails from the coastal town of Mahe (& thus the name), a former French territory. And he has made sure his new restaurant’s menu which is all about modern coastal cuisine, is nothing short of a celebration of his childhood culinary experience.
Speaking more on the same, Mahe told BucketList.Asia, “The menu is a contemporary interpretation of familiar food served from the former French territory of India and across the vast Indian coastline. The food, therefore, has European influence and is yet undoubtedly Indian.”
Chef Sandeep’s USP seems to be using fresh, seasonal produce, have both classic favorites & innovative/fusion recipes on the menu and easy plating. Some of their small plate specials that they are proud of include – Stuffed Morels with street style potato jus, Confit Yam with cherry tomatoes and Red Snapper Ceviche. Meanwhile their Large Plate must-haves which them claim will create a create a captivating experience include – Slow Cooked Lamb with tapioca mash & consommé and the Fish with Moilee Foam. They also serve good old-old classics such as Chicken Chettinad, Green Moong Curry, Fish Pulimulagu and Mahé Prawn Curry with Dosas. That said, their best-selling dishes include Aubergine Rechaedo, Kerala tenderloin beef fry, Crispy okra and the Srilankan Mutton Curry. (Now these sound so good, that we wished we were at Mahe right now).
While the menu, seems quite elaborative, Chef Sandeep is said to be planning to make some new additions in the next six months. Speaking on the same, Mahe said, “We are planning add a few fermented dishes like kanji (rice cooked in water and fermented overnight ) interpreted in a modern way , pairing bilimbi ( a local sour fruit) jam with seafood , bring dried seafood to mainstream dishes to name a few.”
Mahe also gives a lot of prominence to its cocktails. From little details like creating clear ice blocks and perfecting an in-house vermouth to creating signature drinks that pay homage to the terroir of the land, their cocktail experience is said to be blissful. They have an extensive cocktail menu which includes classics such as the Gimlet and Margarita to in-house specials such as the Sheikh on the Level (black tea gin, cardamom, fresh lemon, brown sugar & egg whites) and Glad Rags Sheela (made with straight bourbon, apple & cinnamon).
With food & cocktails like this, one may not really give too much importance for ambience, but this is not the case with Mahe. The place is so well-done that one will but standup and notice. This is all thanks to Bengaluru-based OCD (Office of Cognitive Design), the architecture company that was appointed for the job. They seem to have successfully restored a century-old Portugese house and fuse it with just-enough modern touches in a way that it provides a nostalgic and warm vibe for one to just lay back, forget the world and simply enjoy the food.
We liked the way the main house is divided into two different spaces – the Blush & Jade rooms. While the former makes for a statement bar, the latter allows one to enjoy an intimate dining experience. Another big plus is the large garden space where guests can enjoy an al-fresco dining experience. What we liked about this garden area, is that it brings out the quintessential Goa experience with white pebbles and lush, varied foliage.
To conclude, the next time you are in Goa, give the beach shacks a miss (at least for one of your meals) and head over to Mahe for a blissful coastal culinary experience.
(Reader Tip – Mahe sometimes offers attractive discounts on ecommerce platforms such as Eazydiner & Dineout…so do keep an eye out for the same)