Third generation keeps the Durigo reputation intact in South Goa

Durigo in Colva, South Goa, is where the bricks in the wall have stayed the same, just as the taste of the food has not changed since the 1980s
A FAMILY AFFAIR: Durigo is one of few Goan restaurants, where the food is entirely managed by the family.
A FAMILY AFFAIR: Durigo is one of few Goan restaurants, where the food is entirely managed by the family. Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

During the time that Pink Floyd took the music world into another sphere with Another Brick in the Wall, in Colva, Benedita Rodrigues cooked an admas, a Sorpotel and cutlet bread that turned to be the wall that lined local intestines.

This was the early 1980s, and her outlet was simply was called Durigo (which is the Konkani word for 'compound wall').

A FAMILY AFFAIR: Durigo is one of few Goan restaurants, where the food is entirely managed by the family.
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In those days, Durigo had four benches under the shelter of coconut palm leaves, and opened in the evenings and closed pretty late, with alcohol sold clandestinely.

It was not the booze that brought people there, but the food. And, decades later, lots has changed, but much has remained the same.

BON APPETIT: Durigo, located behind the Colva police station, breaks walls with its menu.
BON APPETIT: Durigo, located behind the Colva police station, breaks walls with its menu.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

Now, the menu has gotten longer, the bar is open offering a variety of cocktails, but the taste of the dishes has not changed.

The reason for this is that the kitchen and its secrets have been kept within the family, with Amanda, the third generation of the family, certain that they, “do not want to commercialise the cooking”.

“My mother did add new items and branched from pork and beef to fish and chicken because she realised we needed to embrace all customers. We want to be true to our Goan culture, and that is why the kitchen is managed by mom and me,” says Amanda, who is a graduate from the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM), Porvorim.

TOP SECRET: Amanda Rodrigues, of Durigo restaurant, firmly believes that the family's recipes are the USP of the restaurant.
TOP SECRET: Amanda Rodrigues, of Durigo restaurant, firmly believes that the family's recipes are the USP of the restaurant.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

The Admas is the signature dish at Durigo along with Sorpotel. Though Amanda is unwilling to share the family secret, it is the amount of vinegar used and the quantity of kokum that makes their Admas stick to the wall of one’s tongue.

In most houses, Admas is not cooked as often as Sorpotel, and at Durigo the taste it leaves behind, strings the client back and forth with the sanna working as the perfect accompaniment to it.

A FAMILY AFFAIR: Durigo is one of few Goan restaurants, where the food is entirely managed by the family.
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“Durigo started by first catering to the working class,” confesses Amanda. But, with word of the flavours spreading, the place drew more customers, and is today, a favourite haunt of tourists from around the country.

“We tried pork meat for the first time here, and we think this was one meat we missed. It is tasty and succulent. The fatty meat slithers down the throat,” salivates Vivek (name changed on request) as he waits for the taxi after a meal at Durigo.

It was not the booze that brought people there, but the food. And, decades later, lots has changed, but much has remained the same.

“Somewhere down the line, our culture and food habits changed. And, if you are in the game to stay longer, you have to take things slowly. Our USP is the recipes shared through three generations, and we are happy this way,” says Amanda, for whom the lessons learnt in the kitchen at home are the best.

“I learnt customer management whilst studying at IHM. But, I learnt to cook at home, and that is what is helping me the most,” she says, and believes her mom has been her best teacher.

Amanda trumpets pork chops and the Durigo cocktail as her specialties. The place has a wide range of drinks, fish fried the typical Goan way – just enough to tickle one's palate and fresh Goan bread.

A FAMILY AFFAIR: Durigo is one of few Goan restaurants, where the food is entirely managed by the family.
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The settings at Durigo are minimalist because the emphasis is on the food. “In the beginning, the concept of family dining did not exist. Now, eating out is leisure, and I think we have shifted to fit into this change,” says Amanda as her mother refuses to leave the kitchen.

“I remember sitting on the bench and gobbling the Sorpotel and taking a swig of Solan whisky,” remembers Andrew D’Cruz.

"They didn’t have a bar license in those days, but the police never bothered because their food was so good,” says Andrew as he tries to remove a brick from the wall of the restaurant that can be found behind the Colva police station.

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