Holidaying in Goa in the early 1970s, we found many roadside houses with handwritten signs saying ‘Fresh Goan Fish Curry’. There would be a couple of tables in the compound, serving delectable home-cooked, steaming hot, fish-curry-rice.
However, when I came to live in Goa in the late 1900s, I couldn’t find those places. And, though many restaurants list Goan cuisine on their menus, I didn’t find that ‘singular’ flavour, until I recently came upon Joao’s, tucked away in a bylane, in Caranzalem.
It’s a small takeaway outlet with a couple of tables inside, to grab a cup of tea, coffee and snacks. The witty framed posters on the walls, and a shelf displaying Goan snacks, gives it a homely vibe.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT
The owner of the little place is Joao Fernandes, who worked in Oman (in the Middle East) in F&B in starred hotels, and as a chef on the Dhow River Cruises, in Dubai, for twenty years. Owing to the lockdown due to Covid, he came back to Goa. Assisted by his wife, Piedade, he incepted Joao’s on September 8, 2021.
“We don’t cook in bulk, and the main dishes listed on the menu are made to order. Hence, there is no wastage and leftovers. The snacks are also made in limited quantities, and sell out by the evening. However, you can get Fish Curry & Rice, sometimes Pork Sorpotel, without prior order, and due to the prices of raw materials fluctuating from day to day, and being an à la carte menu, fixed prices are not listed on the menu card,” explains Joao.
At Joao’s, you can cool off with fresh fruit juices, a variety of fruit-based milk shakes, hot and cold beverages, as well as snack on delicious Beef Croquettes, Chicken/Beef Pan Rolls, Prawn Rissois, Veg/Beef/Chicken Puffs , Sandwiches, Choris Pao and bread rolls.
The main course lists Goan cuisine – Chicken Xacuti/Cafreal, Pork Sorpotel, Vindaloo, Pork Roast, Prawn Pulao, Goan Sausage and Vegetable Pulao.
I absolutely relish the Beef Stew (macaroni and vegetables, wrapped in a tangy brown gravy), delectable Beef Tongue (with whole spices, paired with roast potato), and Goan Pulao accompanied by Pork Sorpotel, which imparted a well-balanced tartness, pleasing on the palate.
The icing on the cake was the Goan Fish Curry (with a choice of mackerel or sardines) with teflam (teppal) – a green berry indigenous to Goa, that leaves a sizzling sensation in the mouth and keeps you salivating – which lent that one of its kind flavour and personal touch, which I was looking for. It sure hit the spot!
The outlet also stocks an array of delicious Goan sweets, including Bebinca, Dodol, Doce de Grao (soft fuggy sweet made of coconut, flavoured with cardamom), Pinagr (made with roasted rice powder and palm jaggery), Batica/Baath cake (a traditional tea time snack made with ghee, eggs, semolina, grated coconut, with nutmeg, lending a unique flavour), Bolinhas (cookies with semolina and coconut baked lightly; crisp on the outside, soft inside, which crumble and melt in your mouth).
And, that’s not all. Their chocolate, strawberry, vanilla pastries, cup cakes, chocolate mousse and rum balls are to-die-for. Joao’s also caters for parties and does snack boxes for occasions. Joao’s is definitely worth visiting on your next trip to Panjim.
Joao’s also offers home delivery to some locations as well as discounts. Orders must be placed at least two days in advance.
LOCATION: Caranzalem, Tiswadi
CONTACT: +91 9005384545