At Low & Slow restaurant in Goa Velha, the secret's in the smoke

A birthday gift led Chef Charlton to plunge into a business that unlike its name – Low & Slow – has grown high and fast
Taste a plethora of mouthwatering delicacies at Low & Slow in Goa Velha.
Taste a plethora of mouthwatering delicacies at Low & Slow in Goa Velha. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

An anniversary is more than just a date on the calendar, it is a milestone – a reminder of how far you’ve come and the opportunity to take a moment to celebrate and retrospect on the journey. The good, the bad and most importantly, the best parts of it.

Every year, people all over Goa celebrate December 3 as the feast of Saint Francis Xavier. But for Chef Charlton after the year 2020, this day now has a special added significance.

Chef Charlton, the man behind it all, will serve you with a smile.
Chef Charlton, the man behind it all, will serve you with a smile. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

It was exactly three years ago, today, that he opened the doors of his restaurant, Low & Slow, which stands in the quiet village of Goa Velha. And, today, December 3, 2023 marks the third anniversary of his restaurant.

Like most of the best stories, this one was slow cooked and began on September 4, 2020, on Charlton’s birthday when he was very thoughtfully gifted a smoker (an apparatus with an enclosed chamber that is used for smoking food as for curing or imparting flavour).

“Low & Slow was an idea that started out as a birthday gift. The smoker was gifted to me, and I've always loved cooking meat throughout my 18-year career. Looking back, I think it was the perfect gift because it was only once I started playing around with it that I suddenly saw a small business there,” smiled Charlton.

The start is never usually smooth, and it was no different for Charlton. “We started Low & Slow as a small takeaway place. We did not have any seating, but we always smoked our food from day one. I still remember how we used logs of wood and would serve in areca-leaf plates,” he reminisced. Word spread like wildfire, and soon, Low & Slow, a full-fledged but quaint restaurant was born.

With abundant greenery and ambient lighting, Low & Slow is the perfect place to unwind after a long day. And, as for the food, just like the name explains, everything, right from their chicken dynamite burgers, smoked boneless chicken with buffalo sauce to the best-selling brisket and baby back ribs, they are all deliciously cooked at a low temperature for a long time – low and slow. 

“We do not cook our food in over-fired wood temperatures. Unlike an open fire grill where you have your heat source down and your food on top, we cook our meats on an offset smoker wherein the heat is generated at a different place and the meat is cooked using only the smoke. This is a very time-consuming process, but the biggest challenge is still finding quality meat to work with,” explained Charlton.

Taste a plethora of mouthwatering delicacies at Low & Slow in Goa Velha.
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He started with good intentions. “I wanted to start a place wherein this kind of food can be affordable even though it’s a labour-intensive cuisine, and the only way I could was by working with local produce,” he added.

It goes without saying that this is just the beginning of more to come, and Chef Charlton is certainly excited about the future. But, as for tonight, his only focus is celebrating this milestone with his near and dear ones and taking a juicy bite of some smoked meat at his favourite restaurant in Goa Velha.

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