Although hearing men use the term ‘brother from another mother’ while referring to their best friends has become the new normal in 2023, Café Basil is refreshingly the brainchild of three brothers who are really from the same mother – Saahil, Harsh and Nikhil Zaveri.
HOW IT SPROUTED
“Our café was born from the need to have good, reasonably priced food in Panjim which was seriously lacking. It was completely organic, and all ideas were planted and germinated like a fractal design,” began Nikhil.
Located in Tonca, Café Basil sprouted in 2013. The idea to call their café ‘Basil’ came from Harsh. “Basil is such a versatile herb and is also very much a regular and has a cute presence in Goan Hindu households,” he explained.
Never compromising on quality or quantity, Café basil was the newest addition to town 10 years ago and today has a menu showcasing a wide range of burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, milkshakes, steaks, mojitos, desserts and everything in between.
While the start was moderately difficult, the Zaveri’s did not have the slightest clue to what was snowballing for their café. “Response was kind of slow in the beginning because it was started with no fanfare or politicians cutting silly ribbons,” recalled Nikhil.
As for the ambiance, Café Basil is the definition of the 21st century slang of the word ‘chill’. Right from walking under a canopy of plants that leads to the front doorstep of the café to the quirky menu spread across a huge blackboard on a wall, this place will mentally register as one you see yourself revisiting.
Not forgetting the urge that any deep-house music lovers will feel to get their phones out and shazam some of the catchiest tunes that are always background music when at Café Basil.
“The vibe that we were going for was one that what would make us happy to work at and visit a café. Nothing was strictly planned,” explained Nikhil.
A room full of stories - every wall here has its own story to tell. The inside of Café Basil is a place where inhibitions come to naught. Waiting for your food has never been more fun, with the options of playing the in-house guitar, admiring the wall full of framed artworks or simply sitting on a beanbag and reading a book that you picked from the bookshelf.
ART & PUNS
And if this was not enough, why not spend date night sitting beside the glass painting of Vincent Van Gogh’s starry night which will prove to be the perfect pun to let your partner know that you will never let them ‘Gogh’!
Interestingly, the artist who recreated the starry night on glass, the chef who cooks the tasty food coming out of the kitchen, and the gardener who has single handedly beautified the outdoors is none other than Saahil!
“Today, watching over the counter and seeing the café house-full is like watching over your own children - with a sense of pride and fulfilment,” said Nikhil.
As far as expanding is concerned, that has always been the goal for the Zaveri brothers. “Our Saxtti customers have been complaining since forever!” they laughed.
Over the years, Café Basil has grown into more than just a place that serves some of the best food in Panjim, but has also turned into a bubble of memories – one that will never burst.
Looking back is like watching a 360-degree hyper lapse, watching time pass us by. While only a couple of tables and chairs have been moved around over the years, the people occupying those seats have multiplied manifold. Some old, some new – rarely leaving an empty chair in sight.
“A couple told us they used to hang out at Basil’s and now they're happily married, thanks to us apparently.” smiled Nikhil.
Café Basil, a place that became everybody's go-to has seen some of the best moments, even if they were the simplest ones.
Be it birthday treats and a table full of people or the undeniable love in the eyes of two friends that always sat in the corner and claimed that they were 'just friends'.
People bonding over their fondness for vanilla milkshake, or the warm smile always accompanied by a polite 'thank you' and a thumbs up gesture by the Zaveri brother that happens to be behind the counter on that particular day, "let's go to 'Basil's," is a sentence that will never grow old.
MUST TRY: GMC Burger, Vanilla milkshake, Chicken Steak
TIMINGS: Monday to Saturday, 11am -3pm 5pm -9pm
CONTACT: +91 9860289290/ +91 7387372222/ +91 9420976798
PRICE RANGE: ₹300 to ₹400