Flora Family Restaurant & Pub, thriving on mother’s touch

Joaquim wants to highlight distinct features of existing Goan food instead of reinventing it
The Afonso brothers have operated out of the same location for the past three decades.
The Afonso brothers have operated out of the same location for the past three decades.

BY FR CARLOS LUIS SAC

Nothing has changed in terms of its originality, but a lot of hard work has gone into the progress seen at the Flora Family Restaurant and Pub in the last 32 years.

The Afonso brothers have operated out of the same location for the past three decades, and it is now a landmark on Church Road, opposite Sunil Pharmacy, Curchorem, Goa. 

 Customers feel at home because the restaurant continues to serve its signature delicious food.

On July 15, 2023, Flora Family Restaurant and Pub celebrated its anniversary, a time of jubilation for the family of talented and creative people that helps execute the daily functioning of this successful restaurant.

The dining area of Flora Family Restaurant and Pub.
The dining area of Flora Family Restaurant and Pub.

Joaquim Tomas Antonio Afonso, one of the owners, tells us how the concept of this restaurant was ideated. 

He says, “I was working in a five-star hotel as a waiter and always thought of having a restaurant of my own. But all of a sudden, the place I worked at had a strike, and thus, I lost my job somewhere in the 1990s. I had no clue what to do. It so happened that I was home at my mother’s place.”

The Afonso brothers have operated out of the same location for the past three decades.
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He continues, saying, “There we had an ancestral house which was closed. So, I asked my mother whether we could use it and open a restaurant. After taking the decision with my parent and brothers, a small place was opened with 4 tables and 16 chairs. My mother was a chef as she was a good Goan cook. So we started the restaurant on July 15, 1991.”

Interiors of the restaurant
Interiors of the restaurant

At Flora Family Restaurant and Pub, one can enjoy irresistible dishes and a refreshing choice of mocktails and cocktails to embrace any and every season that Goa is blessed with.

Especially for the monsoons, one can treat one’s taste buds to the ideal fusion of crunchy pleasure and energising drinks. 

Their grand dining hall is the ideal place to enjoy a delicious lunch with your family and loved ones because of its royal vintage atmosphere, the ideal lighting and comfortable seating.

The Afonso brothers have operated out of the same location for the past three decades.
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Joaquim tells us, “For the past 32 years, we have dedicated ourselves, me and my brothers, Charlie Afonso and Aldrin Afonso, to the business. It has been a rollercoaster ride, but come sun or rain, whether corona or any other trouble, we have braved it all.” 

“We went through a lot of changes. We have extended and grown bigger, and from bigger to the biggest. We started with 16 chairs, but now we have a 150-seating capacity. The journey has been exciting, but I am sure more excitement still awaits in the years to come,” he goes on to say.

Flora Family Restaurant and Pub 'Staircase to Heavenlicious'.
Flora Family Restaurant and Pub 'Staircase to Heavenlicious'.

Flora Family Restaurant and Pub is making a mark as a multi-cuisine restaurant at Curchorem. 

Humbly responding to this compliment, Joaquim says, “There is no secret sauce, it is just our mother’s hand, her touch along with the support of our dedicated co-workers – in a very special way – Wilma.” 

He says, “The others who add the special ingredient are my brothers, my children, my wife and the staff who help us make a mark in a multi-cuisine global world. We cook the best cafreal, masala chilly, balchaosvindaloo and so on. Come and taste it for yourself.” 

It is perhaps this simplicity of the Afonso brothers that sets Flora Family Restaurant and Pub apart from the others, which open and falter after a while. 

The Afonso brothers have operated out of the same location for the past three decades.
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Flora Family Restaurant and Pub has special cocktails that make them distinct from the other restaurants. For instance, to beat the summer heat, Flora offers you Flora’s Urrack Cocktail. Also, to spice up your palate, Flora offers an exciting new adventure and a whirlwind romance of lemonade.

Joaquim points out that he is not concerned with improvisation but with taking Goan food and culture to greater heights. 

He says, “Goan cuisine is being experimented upon, but I want to take Goan food and culture to greater heights as there are many distinct features of already existing Goan food that we haven’t explored. You notice tourists from various nations visiting Goa to enjoy not just the beauty but to taste authentic Goan food.”

Flora Family Restaurant and Pub have undoubtedly experienced their share of troubles with regard to staying relevant and delivering the best, but they have maintained their standards and, therefore, can stand tall, weathering any storm. 

The Afonso brothers testify that they have always received support from each other, and the best advice they have received is to never give up hope. 

The Afonso brothers have operated out of the same location for the past three decades.
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Joaquim adds, “Both my brothers are dedicated, and they help me to remain focused and keep going; to never give up on my hopes and to keep trying new things and adapt to new trends.” 

Joaquim is grateful to all the locals who have placed their trust in him and for allowing him to continue his business for the last 32 years.

(Carlos Luis is a priest belonging to the Society of the Catholic
Apostolate (Pallottine) and is currently studying for a licentiate
degree in Moral Theology. He comments on social and moral issues.)

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