Monday, March 18, 2019

O Pedro - Goan Bar & Restaurant

You can read a more recent review here.

I have a school classmates WhatsApp group, which is rather active. One topic that was being discussed was Goan restaurants in Mumbai. At one end of the spectrum you have the cheap, cheerful and humble lot comprising of Martins near the old Strand Cinema off Colaba Causeway, Gables next to it and Snowflakes at Princess Street. Then you have the recently opened House of Lloyd at Juhu Tara Road which is more upmarket and the big daddy and big bucks Goan restaurant - O Pedro at BKC. Inspired by this exchange of messages Goan food became top of mind.

One Saturday afternoon when we were in ‘town’ we stopped off for lunch at Gables. A decent lunch, a Sorpotel for HRH the Queen of Kutch and a Choriz Chilly Fry for me. The Sorpotel had enough liver to remain authentic though it needed a dash of Vinegar. Easily fixable. The Choriz was fine. Frankly, you would be better off doing a take away from Gables as the place is not exactly the Ritz.

Above: Pork Sorpotel

Above: Goa Sausage [Choriz] Chili Fry

A few days later, I had a brainwave. We are members of the MCA Recreation Centre at BKC, so, why not have a drink or three at that bar and then walk a few meters to O Pedro? This seemed like a good plan, a call was made to reserve a table at O Pedro for 9.15 pm. Nope, they did not reserve tables at that hour, just early at 8 pm and late at 10.30 pm. Frankly, it makes sense. We were told that if we had to wait for a table we could wait by the bar, and if we liked we could eat at the bar as food was served there too. No problem.

After our share of intoxicants at the MCA Spin Bar, at about 9.15 pm we walked to O Pedro. While walking we passed a very comatose Hemant Oberoi [the restaurant not the man], then Butterfly High which was packed to the rafters, then a rather empty and morose Gateway Tap Room to reach the very lively O Pedro. There were no tables vacant. Our choice was the bar and a few empty high tables around the bar. The high table was our choice. From our perch we could observe the goings on.

A very casual vibe prevailed. The décor was to replicate the look of a Goan house. I did think the potted plants looked rather out of place and made the room look unkempt. A large bar with a glass back looking into the kitchen. The views of the kitchen were shielded by the bottles of alcohol placed on the back of the bar. Nice touch.

The tables had no table cloths or tablemats, miniscule cloth napkins and ordinary stainless cutlery was given. Since we are not children we know what we drink, the long descriptive cocktail lists were un-necessary. A Talisker, ice, water on the side for HRH the Queen of Kutch and a “Thanda gaar beer, deshi please” for me.

At this point our order was taken by the charming Niketa. She was a delight with her ever ready smile, cynical observations and infectious enthusiasm. She asked us if we were allergic to anything to which my reply was that I was a Jain, Niketa after a moment of horror realized I was pulling her leg. She recommended the Red Snapper Ceviche, which I was promised had no raw onions. This dish was an absolute knockout. It was fabulous. The cooking liquid – normally called Tigers Milk or Leche De Tigre comprises of Lime Juice Chilli and Cilantro – was made milder with the addition of Coconut Milk. The Cilantro took the form of an Oil. While the sauce and fish were, as I said fabulous, for texture they had added some very crunchy “boondi” made with Tempura batter. This made the dish even better. Wow, what a start.

Above: Red Snapper Ceviche

Another two dishes require special mention. The first is the humble Poee. This is a whole wheat bread with bran typical of Goa. It is delicious, but unavailable in Mumbai despite having a large Goan population. This was served at O Pedro, fresh and hot. Excellent.

Above: Poee

The other very well cooked dish was the Prawn Balchao that we had ordered. This is a Portuguese Goan dish, almost pickle like, tart and spicy. While the recipe was good, the skill with which the prawns were cooked was most impressive. The prawns were not overcooked to MRF Tyres at all. Well done.

Above: Prawn Balchao

Above: Choriz Chilli Fry Taco with potato Salli

We had also ordered Pork Sorpotel with a Sanna which is a fermented rice cake, much like an Idli, eaten in Goa and Mangalore. Sanas are available in some shops in Bandra. The Sorpotel was decent, much better than the one we had from Gables just a few days earlier.    

Above: Pork Sorpotel

 Above: Sanna

We also got a free dish. Beef brochette [skewers] alternating with Pork fat. This was a clever way of adding moistness to the otherwise dry Beef. Also, a clever way of using Pork fat. The dish costs very little, but giving it “free” to diners ensures goodwill. A nice gesture, honestly.

 Above: Beef Brochettes with Pork Fat

For dessert we ordered a single Pasteis De Nata the classic Portuguese Custard Tart. This was priced at a rather shocking Rs 125/- for a single piece. A bit excessive I thought. Mind you it was thoroughly decent, with a creamy custard and crisp pastry.

Above: Pasteis De Nata

I must say that we thoroughly enjoyed our evening. The food ranged from excellent to above average. No dud dishes. A very nice lively atmosphere and a charming hostess, Niketa. There was a lot of food that we would have ordered if only we had larger appetites or more eaters. The food included a lot of Hindu Goan vegetarian dishes as well as many more delicious sounding meat dishes.

We would certainly be going back soon to have another meal at O Pedro. Fully recommended.

We paid Rs 1,980/- for all the food excluding booze, tax and service charge. I though good value.   


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