Set Against The Backdrop Of A River & Church, Fireback In Goa Brings Bold Thai Flavours To The Table


Shortly after checking into my hotel in Goa, I freshened up and set off on a culinary adventure. A quick 5-minute drive brought me to Hosa in Siolim. The restaurant, which is made within an old Portuguese bungalow and is the brainchild of EHV International – the folks behind Indian Accent and Comorin – offers South Indian food with a modern twist. But I hadn’t come to Hosa for lunch; a dinner reservation was made there instead. I was here to visit a new Thai restaurant under the same hospitality group. And the only way to get there was through Hosa’s back door. On exiting Hosa, you enter into a lush space where a modern glass house stands tall. I arrived at Fireback, a new restaurant that brings punchy Thai flavours to Goa, something that was lacking amidst the saturated Pan-Asian and European restaurants in the sunny state’s current culinary landscape. Inspired by the Thai national bird, the Siamese Fireback, the restaurant speaks to the fire-grilled cooking behind many of the restaurant’s dishes. 


Taking us on a tour of the space, Founder Chairman EHV, Rohit Khattar tells us what made him open a Thai restaurant. “In 1999 in New Delhi, we opened what was perhaps India’s first pan Asian restaurant, ‘Oriental Octopus’. I always nurtured the desire to open an authentic, approachable Thai restaurant.” And authentic it is – with Michelin star chef David Thompson, coming on board as Fireback’s Culinary Director. From his first award-winning solo venture Darley Street Thai to his current Michelin-star restaurants Aahran and Aksorn, the Australian chef is globally known for his expertise in Thai cooking. 

Chef David Thompson

Khattar further tells us that a team of 7 chefs led by Fireback’s Brand Chef Swatantra Gautam – who began his career with EHV’s Old World Hospitality group in 2023 –  attended a Thai cuisine workshop with Chef Thompson for over a month in Bangkok, after which Chef Thompson spent a month with the team to help finalise the menu for Fireback. Expect classic Thai dishes ranging from Pad Thai Noodles to Thai curries with authentic Thai flavours, minus the coconut milk. 

The Space

Khattar admits the interiors of Hosa turned out way more lavish than he expected, making diners believe it’s fine dining, which is the opposite of what he envisioned. He intended to have a casual dining space, which he accomplishes with Fireback courtesy of London’s Russel Studio. Enjoy a relaxed yet elevated dining experience in a glasshouse that steps down to outdoor decks. Whether you choose to sit by the fish pond, the promenade overlooking a river and the stunning St. Anthony’s Church, or by the outdoor bar, you’ll get to relish Thai cuisine against the backdrop of the natural ambience with sounds of Goa’s busy street in the distance at this 90-seater space. The indoor section has seating with a view of an open kitchen for you to catch all the action and watch all the chefs at work.


The Bar 

Having travelled through Asia, Varun Sharma, EHV International’s Head of Bars, has curated a bar program with clarified cocktails inspired by Thai ingredients. The no-nonsense cocktail menu is simple and to the point with clarified cocktails being named after the ingredient in it. You’ll find Rose, Lemongrass, Galangal, and Tom Kha Colada, among other cocktails for just INR 500–something that people from Mumbai will appreciate given the high price of drinks in most restaurants in the city. Refreshing, clean, easy-drinking cocktails that pair well with the striking Thai dishes and most importantly, won’t give you a hangover the next day. 

The Food

With the very first dish, I was transported to the streets of Thailand. We began with Coconut and Galangal soup, presented by Chef Swatantra. Every ingredient revealed a different flavour profile with each sip–it was fresh and packed a punch in a small bowl. After devouring the soup in seconds, Chef David makes an appearance. 


You’d expect a chef of that stature to talk more about his food and explain every dish in detail. But not David; he trusts his team to do that and indulges in humour instead. I see that when he comes and sits next to me, grabs my friend’s handbag and says, “This would have looked better on me if it was a shade darker. It would have gone with my uniform.” “You see why I shouldn’t be in an open kitchen now?” he adds. What followed was a conversation that displayed the chef’s sense of wit, and ample laughter accompanied by flavourful Thai food with the addition of an extra zing that came from Thompson’s personality. 

We then dug into the Scallop salad as well as the Pineapple salad, which to my surprise, I found myself enjoying a lot. I’m not a fan of pineapple but this salad had me going back for more. The condiments too got me intrigued, especially a dip that tasted just like peanuts; but it was made from jackfruits. It was later that the chefs told us this was done intentionally as they received many diners with a peanut allergy. Talk about being thoughtful!

Fried Pork Belly, Charred Cabbage, Tamarind Dip

Other must-try dishes include the Aromatic Lamb Skewers; Fried Pork Belly with charred cabbage that plays the part of taco shells for you to wrap your meat in and dip in tamarind sauce; and a Grilled Smokey Eggplant that I guarantee even meat lovers will enjoy. 

Grilled Smoky Eggplant, Gorlae Sauce

Of course, our mains included Thai curries made with in-house curry pastes but without the overwhelming flavour of coconut milk in it. The Sour Orange Curry comes with river prawns and shredded green papaya–its zesty taste comes from an orange squeezed on top of it. If you love spice, turn up the heat with the Green curry featuring hearts of palm, cauliflower and babycorn. It goes without saying that the curries are best enjoyed with sticky rice. The piece de resistance though was the Classic Thai Omelette with jumbo lump crab cooked by Chef David himself. The meal ended on a high note with the Coffee and Kahlua Ice cream with nuts, which we all jumped at the moment it was brought to the table. 

Green Curry, Hearts of Palm, Cauliflower, Babycorn

Later that night, when I dropped by for dinner at Hosa, I went to Fireback once again to check out the difference in the ambience. And to be honest with you, I would have preferred my dinner reservation to be here instead. The lit-up space with the Church shining bright in the distance along with a calm atmosphere paired with bold Thai flavours is just what you need from the usual hustle and bustle in North Goa. But hey, that just means I can go again, doesn’t it? 

Address: Fireback, At Irada Home, House No. 60/1 A1, Near St. Anthony’s Church, Vaddy, Siolim-Bardez, North Goa 403517

For reservations, contact: +91 9209717970

- Lifestyle Editor


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