HOSA Goa is a cross between an art gallery and a restaurant—and if that doesn’t sound intriguing enough, then the place serves reimagined South Indian dishes, too, which gives a gourmet twist to humble street as well as comfort food.
A Review of HOSA Goa
South Indian cuisine gets a modern makeover at HOSA Goa.
There’s a whole lot of appetisers to choose from. There’s even an exhaustive bar snacks menu! It’s interesting to see how chef Suresh gives an innovative twist to humble street food. There’s Mirapakaya Bajji, (fried chillis stuffed with mashed potatoes and masala; INR 225) that is ubiquitous in the streets of Southern cities. But at HOSA Goa, it is served split and beautifully plated—like a piece of art. It is accompanied with potato palaya, tomato crema and peanuts. The popular Iyengar bun (INR 225) comes like a melt-in-the-mouth, pull-apart brioche bun served with curry leaf butter. And who would think paniyaram (INR 345), a favourite snack at South Indian households, could come stuffed with edamame and a delicious pineapple- coconut chutney?
My favourite dish is the delectable Curry Leaf Cured Snapper (INR 545) that’s served with herb oil and spiced kokum rasa. Tender and flavourful, it’s simple without any complicated textures. The Gowda fried chicken (INR 445), a Bengaluru-style kebab which is served with cucumber pachadi and green peppercorn prawns, are highly recommended too.
The menu comes with a tag line: “HOSA (‘new’ in Kannada) embraces the culinary diversity of South India beyond the familiar”. True to its claim, the restaurant delivers novel dishes.
Wild Mushroom Varuval pongal (INR 545)—a popular rice dish—comes with a black pepper rub and herb oil, and is topped with wild mushrooms. It has a cheesy taste that lingers on the palate for long. Another super star in this section is the Chicken Meat Ball Gassi (INR 545). The meat ball dumplings come in a thick gravy that is served with crispy kori roti made of rice. It is to be eaten by adding the gravy and meat on to crushed kori roti, the chef tells me. As I do so, the different textures of the dish take me by surprise and delight. Kochi Chicken Curry (INR 545)—tender chicken pieces in a creamy coconut spinach gravy—comes with a side of egg appam, and manages to create quite an impact with simple yet distinctive flavours.
Desserts at HOSA Goa hugely inspired by traditional favourites. For instance, the Mysore Pak Coffee Cheese Cake (INR 345) with frothy ghee crème on top and corn crumble around subtly reminds you of Mysore pak, adding a dose of nostalgia with great taste. However, it is the Coconut and Curry Leaf ice cream (INR 175) that leaves a lasting impact. While curry leaves are usually used to temper South Indian dishes, I hadn’t ever imagine its as a dessert! But chef Suresh’s ice cream changes your perception about the humble curry leaf. There are also a wide range of inspired ice creams and sorbets to choose from like Kokum Cheese Cake (INR 195) , Filter Coffee (INR 175) and Spicy Buttermilk (INR 175).
A lot of thought has gone into the drinks available at the grand bar at HOSA Goa. Taking centre-stage at the restaurant, the towering bar has 180 bottles of spirits lined up to the ceiling. Varun Sharma, who leads the award-winning bar at EHV’s (the parent company that owns HOSA GOA) other restaurant, Comorin, heads the beverage programme here, too. Cocktails feature classic, tiki and modern interpretations. I try the low-calorie options — Naughty Puloma (a concoction of tequila, fennel, grapefruit and rosemary botanical water; INR 600) and Gun Fizz Powder (Gin, vanilla, gunpowder mix, vaum mango and fig botanical water; INR 600). I quite like the blend of flavours that are distinctive but not overwhelming.
Beer also gets an interesting twist here. Pale ale beer is blended with lemonade, balsamic, shrub molasses and grapefruit. It’s quite refreshing and is highly recommended in Goa’s balmy weather.
HOSA Goa is the newest restaurant in Goa to effectively capsulate immersive dining. It brings together multiple elements to create a unique experience. Firstly, the old Portuguese Bungalow—originally built in 1900s and located on the banks of Chapora river opposite St Anthony’s church in Siolim—serves as a theatrical setting for the food histrionics helmed by chef Suresh DC. He gives simple, age-old South Indian dishes a makeover with modern cooking techniques gathered from his stints abroad. His efforts are well supported by head mixologist Varun Sharma, who takes inspiration from surrounding tropical elements and infuses drinks with seasonal and local ingredients to create aromatic and refreshing drinks. However, the art sourced from Apparao Galleries in Chennai and showcased here further enhances the creative flair of the space. Art works of contemporary South Indian artists are displayed over the entire restaurant and are up for sale, too. The restaurant is apt for people looking for more than just a good meal.
Price for two: INR 3,000 (approximately; without alcohol)
Address: House 60/1, Vaddy, Near St Anthony’s Church, Siolim, Goa
Timings: 12:00 noon to 11:00 pm
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