There has to be something illegal about Goa Bhavan Canteen, and I’m not talking about the fact that it’s a commercial eating establishment run out of a residential building; Which you have to admit, is a little unusual considering it’s in a pretty posh part of town. Then there’s the little detail of its prices not being listed online, which for a restaurant is roughly as suspicious as casually whistling while you loiter around a grocery store but never buy anything. Is Goa Bhavan a front for the mafia? Possibly. We may never know all the answers for sure; but we do know this; we absolutely love it.
As far the venue itself goes, Goa Bhavan is pretty boring, it’s a clean enough restaurant in a very clean neighbourhood, there’s absolutely no thrill of adventure involved whatsoever, which in my opinion is the most important part of any seafood review. Think about it this way, when you go to Grant Road you run the risk of being garrotted by a junkie, when you go to Goregaon you run the risk of being ingested by a leopard or possibly a hungry native, but when you go to Juhu, the worst thing that could possibly happen is your car getting towed. And we don’t even have a car.
But minor peeves like being clean and safe aside; Goa Bhavan really is a place worth going to, if anything for the food. There isn’t a whole lot on their menu, which makes picking exactly what to order a whole lot easier.
1) Bombil Fry
Goa Bhavan’s Bombil is one of the prettier things ones seen; they fry it beautifully, almost to perfection in a batter thicker than most. It seems to have a lot more in common with KFC (if KFC wasn’t absolutely filthy) than it does with a traditional Bombil Fry. It’s a bit bland, just the way I like it and firm enough not to totally disintegrate when you pick it up, which happens more than we’d like to admit.
2) Tisrya Thali
I’ve had some good Tisrya in my day and I’ll be honest, Goa Bhavan’s isn’t the best, but it’s not hat bad either. It’s a lot more watery than the competition, although the quality of the clams they use is better. It isn’t spicy to say the least but that doesn’t really matter, the sweet taste of coconut more than makes up for it. The tisrya serving itself is a rather small and the rotis they serve alongside it are fairly mediocre. Still, it makes for a satisfying lunch.
3) Surmai Thali
The real reason to come to Goa Bhavan is the surmai, no question. Bombil is a disgusting gutterfish, and tisrya are glorified barnacles, but surmai, that’s the food of kings. And Goa Bhavan’s preparation is impeccable. It goes a lot better with rice than it does with rotis and comes with a complementary serving of gravy, which is for the best considering the surmai is bone-dry.