It seems almost sacrosanct for anyone staying in Mumbai to visit Goa. And most, if not all accounts of these trips seem to revolve around some basics- EDM, crowded beaches, a rave if you’re really “cool” and the rest of the trip whiled away in hazy, happy, drunken stupor.
But I’m not cool, you guys. So when I first visited Goa at 18, I chose to go with mom and stay with a couple of family friends- Go on, laugh all you will.
I then proceeded to spend my week there getting 9 hours of sleep a day, sampling a myriad of authentic Goan spots for lunch and dinner, visiting some lesser known beaches down South and indulging in enough karaoke to render me speechless (literally) for a few days. And I don’t regret it one bit.
I think my slightly “hatke” experience in the party state is the reason I associate Goa, not with frolic and frenzy, but food. Earthy, wholesome coastal food that can warm the cockles of your heart if done right.
New Martin’s in Colaba has been a relatively new find for me on Zomato’s expanses, and I’m genuinely upset it took me six years to get here. Because without the slightest hint at exaggeration or hyperbole, the food here is love at first bite.
Yes, there is no “decor” to speak of. But to say the place has no ambience whatsoever might be a bit of a fallacy. With five high backed booths and options to share seating when it gets busy- this is the breezy, unpretentious focus on food that I loved about Goa in the first place.
Vegetarians, there is nothing for you here- so perhaps give this a pass. Their menu is seafood and meat filled glory to the very last item, with a couple of staples and a bunch of other specials that change everyday. If there is anything in particular that you would like to return for, be sure to ask their server for a copy of their menu of daily specials to take back with you.
They have one server, capable of doling out a decent suggestion or two when prodded, and the order is brought to your table in a matter of minutes, after which you’re left to delve into their many porktastic offerings to heart’s content.
This is what we got:
Meaty bits of mince in a well seasoned potato mixture, breaded and fried. Steamy hot when brought to the table, the mutton flavour is evident in every bite and works so well with the bold spices of the mixture. I personally loved breaking apart chunks of the cutlet to sandwich between the fresh pav ordered on the side with a squeeze of lemon and a roundel or two of raw red onion. Absolutely scrummy.
Goan Chorizo chilly fry
The pieces of chorizo almost melt in the mouth and engulf the palate with vinegary, spicy gusto and the generous addition of softened onion offers a slight sweetness that complements the chorizo perfectly. And all that oil that you think you’re seeing is not just oil. Its flavourful rendered pork fat from the sausages in the dish, and the soft, almost giving pav is perfect to absorb every last bit of it in the end. A word of warning to their slightly newer patrons- most Goan pork and sausage fry ups are known for their generous zing from the vinegar used. So if you don’t have the stomach for it, proceed with caution.
A Goan take on the Portuguese vinha d’alhos, this is a hearty tomato and pepper based curry in which the protein of their choice (chicken/pork) is simmered. New Martin’s does a fair version but I did find the chicken a tad overdone. I look forward to trying its pork counterpart the next time I pay them a visit
To the ones who have seen Ratatouille, an adorable film on a very gastronomically gifted rodent, there is a scene where famed food critic Anton Ego takes a bite of the Ratatouille presented to him which results in a sudden but pleasant jolt down memory lane.
And I know exactly how he felt now.
One mouthful of this curry and everything around me was reduced to silence. All I could think of was 12 year old mini-me at Grandmom’s cavernous kitchen in Kerala, tasting a spoon of her freshly made fish curry before taking it out to the dining area. In fact, mom threw away her fork for good measure and went hands in because for us, the curry was THAT good- that distinctly reminiscent of home.
Asked for their papad, to be given hot, comforting, South Indian appalam. Pray, is there anything better than fish curry, rice and crunchy papad on the side? There may be, but I was more than content to lose myself in this particular piece of heaven for the time being.
New Martin’s is in every sense of the term one of Colaba’s best kept secrets and it scores high on the board for authentic Goan fare and exceptionally fast service. If there is any place you should chuck the chichi for and focus on the food alone, this is where its at.
I hope to be back soon for some of their other dishes, and I see it becoming quite the haunt for me in the days to come.