There was a time when if a Goa plan worked out, it involved tucking into local delicacies, largely limited to Vindaloo, Xacuti and Cafreal. These curries would then have a meat- this was like a meat carousel- and the protein was largely interchangeable. Chicken, lamb, fish, what got dunked into the Goan curies was irrelevant, it was that it got eaten up with relish, mopped up with parathas and rice. The food scene now in Goa is completely different. There’s gastronomy, there’s world class chefs, there’s fine dining.
And while the pizzas and pastas found favour pretty quickly, it is only now that delicacies from India are finding a coveted spot on the menus of restaurants in Goa. Hosa Goa puts the spotlight on the culinary diversity of South India, beyond the ubiquitous dosas and idlis. Nestled in the leafy and now trendy neighbourhood of Siolim, Hosa Goa heroes dishes that feature in the menus of many homes but were hitherto untranslatable in to a restaurant setting.
There’s something to be said about the vibe in Goa. Here, time moves languidly, moments are found on the seashore and restaurants straddle with old and new with ease. Hosa Goa is set in a bungalow with a history. Before the restaurant could take shape, the place needed some sprucing up. Rohini Kapur, EHV’s Director Design, says, “The bungalow was built approximately in the year 1901. The present owner, Yash Malhotra, bought it in 2022 and the bungalow is now called Irada Home. The decrepit red roof tiles needed a change and the old bungalow was only going to be restored. When the roof was taken off, we discovered that the traditional wooden rafters had been eaten up by termites. The old rafters were replaced by metal beams painted a pearl cream set off by a charcoal ceiling. Veteran architect & designer Ashley Mascarenhas managed to restore and fix all the structure and services and that gave me the opportunity to recreate the old Portuguese bungalow stylishly in a more contemporary fashion.”
That careful attention has been paid to detail is obvious in every nook and cranny of Hosa Goa. The leafy palms add a tropical aesthetic, the pattern of the floor furthering the easy going, contemporary vibe.
Of course, with a restaurant, the food and service have to occupy pride of place. And Hosa gets this right, with literally everything. The menu is succinct but every dish is big on flavour. They explore contemporary South Indian food here, and every dish delivers on aromas and taste giving you the comfort of the familiar. And then each one also has a hint of the unexpected and this is what really makes you sit up and take notice. I tried the Wild Mushroom Sukka and if there’s only one small plate you must pick, this should be it. The Vada Kari will also find many fans- the texture contrasts here are quite spectacular.
The Pulimunchi Wings and Mutton Pepper Roast also shine – the roast is a must-try. I was particularly drawn to the Hyderabadi Jackfruit Kofta and it does not disappoint. Of course, the seafood curries here are also worth tucking into and one that you should leave place for, or build up an appetite for. The dosas and appams are delicious, light and fluffy, making it impossible to stop eating them. You might get slower, but you do continue to tear tiny pieces and mopping it up with the curries you’ve ordered.
Desserts here are also an elaborate affair, and the ice creams are stuff legends are made of. I was served three portions which I confidently said was one too many before going on to polish them off.
Long after you’ve leaned back in your chair and discussed how full you are (you feel full, not stuffed), you will remember the flavours that tingle on your palate, and that perhaps is the best part of Hosa Goa.
Of course, you need the drinks that complement the fare and the cocktail menu features some interesting combinations and cocktails designed by the staff in house. The Hosa 75 comes strongly recommended. The Mai Chai also caught my eye but the drinks are pretty potent so I was sorted with just one of them. Or maybe I am a light weight. Possible.
If you’re looking for a casual Goa vibe with fantastic food and a vibe that’s enjoyable and never rushed, Hosa Goa is the place. But go with an appetite.
Want to read about the stunning property that is The Leela Palace Jaipur? I wrote about it here.