In Goa — A Journal Entry (Part 1/n), I captured the different beaches I explored in Goa. In this article, I will try to do justice to the different cafes, bars, pubs and local alcohols that I tried during my week-long workation at Goa. You can check out part 1 here — https://anirban-saha.medium.com/goa-a-journal-entry-part-1-n-89fd3288cc6c
Cafes, Bars, and Pubs
Cafe Morjelo is just 200–350 metres away from our Zostel in Morjim. And it was our go-to place whenever we wanted to try something outside our Zostel cafeteria (which itself is pretty good).
We tried their Pita Bread and Hummus, their Pizza, a few different coffees, some local beers and their Serradura. The Serradura is a must try. It quite literally melts in your mouth, and the flavours are subtle but delicious.
Morjelo has an amazing WiFi connection, and since I was on my workation, I did visit the cafe quote a few times for attending calls. The service staff are really helpful, and will turn the volume down for you during your calls (Don’t misuse it to keep it down for extended periods of time — They play directly off Vh1, and so the music is also pretty okay).
Link — https://www.zomato.com/goa/morjelo-morjim
German Bakery — Anjuna Beach
We went to a very old bakery on Anjuna Beach called the German Bakery, and had a few of their confectionary products, Seesha with Old Rum base, and Susegado beer (English Ale and Tropical Wit).
The Susegado beer is definitely worth a try, according to Susegado (and rightly so), it is malty, bitter and balanced. Tropical Wit was rightly Light, Fruity and Spicy!
Link — http://www.susegado.com/
The confectionary items were also pretty okay, the cheesecake was really good, the cinnamon roll got a bit hard after sometime, and the chocolate mousse was pretty standard. The sheesha did hit a bit thanks to the Old Rum base.
Link — https://www.zomato.com/goa/german-bakery-anjuna
After returning from the beautiful experience at Queirem, and attending a work call at Cafe Morjello, we went to a restaurant called Blue Turtle on Morjim Beach. It had a beautiful decor, and ambience. The service was top notch, the first time I experienced such a service in Goa. The manager, and the staff all kept checking in on us. The bartender checked in on how his drinks were. I had tried a Goan Feni based cocktail, and it was beautifully made. The Coconut based desert was amazing, the prawns were well cooked, the fish was delicious. The restaurant opened onto the beach after a small well decorated walk. Although the place was a bit premium, the experience, the ambience, the food and the service more than made up for it!
The next morning, we were in a cafe hopping, we started off with a really pretty cafe near Morjim, the name of which I cannot remember, and then we went to Purple Martini, near Anjuna which is supposed to have the best sunset view in town!
Although we went there around Morning, the view was spectacular, nonetheless. There were water sports going on near us, and we could see people parasailing, surfing and kitesurfing. There was live music playing, with a musician playing sitar live to the beats of tabla, and to the tune of beautiful old songs. It was a pretty unique experience and very different from the other live music cafes we had been to.
If you do go to Purple Martini, do try their special cocktail — Purple Martini (no surprises here!). It has a fruity flavour and is really smooth! It hits a bit late, and has a fresh aftertaste. Definitely worth a try!
The Activity Manager at Zostel organised two events for all the zostelers, we decided to join in for a visit to El Patron, near Vagator Beach; followed by Shiva Valley near Anjuna Beach. El Patron was playing live Psychdelic Trance Music, it had a hippie crowd with a mix of foreginers and Indians. There were people smoking up and vibing to the music, the bar was a bit congested as usual, but the bartenders were trying their best to keep up. The crowd was welcoming and it was really easy to talk to people and share a puff or two. It was supposedly the best Goa offers in Pystrance on a Tuesday night, and it was a chill laidback place to be at!
We did go to Shiva Valley from El Patron. Zostel managers had mentioned that it would be a free entry after about 2 AM, however, they were charging around 1,300 for stag entry and around 800 for couple entries. Our group did negotiate and bring it down to 800 for stag and 500 for couple, none of these were cover charges, but only entry charges. This took around 30–45 minutes, and it was already 3:30 AM, and me and my group had work next day, so we decided to call it a night! I really wanted to join in, because nights like these are rare, and I am someone who really wants to keep trying new things, however, I did not want to desert my group, and I took the route of convenience and drove back with my group. The few people who did go, had mixed reviews. Some loved the ambience, and some felt you could only enjoy the place if you were tripping.
We tried crabs, prawns, and kingfish. The ambience of the restaurant was really nice and laidback like most of Goa. The service could have been faster and better. Like most of Goa, it seemed understaffed and the staff being laidback most of the time. Being used to the service in metro cities like Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad, this was a bit new. But this place is worth a visit for their fish recipes.
Jardin near Morjim overlooking the Chapora River, was the first restaurant I had tried in Goa. And it set the standard too high for all the other places. It’s a beautiful place near Chapora Bay, and is really well decorated. The music is soft and good, service was pretty good too. I tried Cabo on the rocks at Jardin, and steaks. I asked the Steaks to be well done, and it could have been way more softer, but the flavours more than made up for it.
It is a must try restaurant in North Goa.
Feni — Cashew Feni and Coconut Feni (Gin but better?)
On Day 1 of my trip, the very first drink I tried was a Cashew Feni on the rocks at Silver Sad Beach Resort on Morjim Beach. Interestingly, through out the trip, this Cashew Feni was the only drink that gave me a bit of a hit (and I did drink quite a lot on this trip — as you will see).
I later tried Coconut Feni at the Goan Kitchen, which was a small restaurant near Zostel in Morjim, and I liked that too. It didn’t hit as good as the Cashew Feni (my body was already filled with alcohol by Day 3, when I tried the Coconut Feni).
Later, at the Blue Turtle, I tried a cocktail based on Feni, and it was smooth and tasted really good.
There are a lot of options to try Feni in Goa. Do try to stick to known and popular brands, at well established pubs and bars. The market is filled with counterfeit Feni’s who do not follow the proper distillation process.
Patrao Fenni would be a pretty good option to start with.
I tried Cabo on the rocks at Jardin D’Ulysse near Chapora. It was again a smooth spirit, and didn’t leave any aftertaste. Cabo is a rum that is based on Coconut, and is made in Goa. If you like coconut based liquors or want to try them. Cabo is a good option to start with.
People’s Lager is probably the most popular and easily available locally brewed beer in Goa. It is brewed by the Goa Brewing Co. It is a light beer, and smooth. If you are in Goa, and a fan of beer, this is definitely a must try.
King’s beer is another light beer that is brewed in Goa. It is comparatively difficult to find at bars or pubs, but is easily available at F.L. Off shops in Goa. It is also light and smooth.
Susegado provides you multiple options. It is available on top with tasters at the German Bakery in Anjuna.
The Susegado beer is definitely worth a try, according to Susegado (and rightly so), English Ale is malty, bitter and balanced. Tropical Wit was rightly Light, Fruity and Spicy!
Link — http://www.susegado.com/
Urrak is properly freshly brewed Goan Desi Liquor. It’s better to be very cautious of where you are trying it from. It is generally available in Bisleri Bottles in liquor shops. There are a few small bars which will serve you Urrak and Urrak based cocktails. The smell of raw Urrak is really strong.
I tried Urrak in a small bar in Fontainhaas. It was served with Fanta, chilli and lemon. And I loved the taste.
A few bars like Joseph’s Bar in Fontainhaas makes a rose based cocktail off Urrak which I heard is really good. You can also find Kokkam and Urrak combo near Fontainhaas. If you are in Goa to try their liquors, Urrak must be on your list too (with some caution!).
Some other Places — Fontainhaas and Big Daddy Casino
Big Daddy Casino — Hyatt
Finally we ended the night with a trip to the Big Daddy Casino at Hyatt hotel. This was my first trip to a Casino, and I was pretty excited. We started off by checking the games out, and saw games like — Casino War, Blackjack, Andar Bahar, American Roulette and the Money wheel.
I didn’t know the rules of any of these games, apart from Money Wheel which was straightforward. It had the following options — 1–1, 3–1, 5–1, 7–1, 11–1, 47–1. 3–1 meant for every chip, you bet, if the wheel came up as 3, you would receive 3 chips, if not, you forgo your bet, and so on for the other numbers.
I initally counted the number of 1’s on the wheel, at it came above 50% of total numbers. So, to convert my promotional chips to money chips, I bet one chip at a time, and converted 3 of my 6 chips. Then slowly made it to 4 chips.
And then tried to observe and understand the roulette, and finding out probabilities (Thought of putting my Maths Degree to some use). We had food and drinks which were unlimited at the casino. There was pole dance going on in the centre of the casino. The service was really bad, however, the vibe was what you would expect from a Casino. It was congested, full of energy, drinks and loud shouts!
We went for some dinner, having some chips in our pockets. My partners had lost all their chips already at Blackjack. I had 4 chips remaining. I went back after dinner and a few drinks, and became net profitable by betting on (First12 and Second12) — There are 37 number — 1 to 36 and 0. Now if you bet on First 12, and the number comes up as anything between 1–12, you chips are tripled, else, you forgo your bet. The chances of it being from 1–24 was around 2/3 (24/37), and I won a few times, and lost of a few times too. Had around 6 chips before we went for another round of drinks. My partner took a loan of two chips from me, made it 4 and then immediately lost all 4.
I came back after completing our quota of drinks (4 limit from the bar, unlimited inside the casino).
After that the roulette wheel showed its wrath and spinned up quite a few 24+ numbers and zeros. I bought a few more chips (thanks to the alcohol), and became net profitable again, only to lose it all to chance again, teaching me that Greed, Alcoholo and Casino on Salary Day on the Last Day of your trip is a bad combination.
Final day of the trip, with a heavy heart packed my bags (after one last amazing pool session). And set out for the last day with my three dormmates (and by now good friends) Sourabh, Nikhil and Manas. We decided to drop Manas at the Dabolim airport and then head for Fontainhaas. Morjim to Dabolim was a 1.5 hour ride. And Dabolim to Fontainhaas was 30 minute ride. Fontainhaas is beautiful. It has the renovated and kept the Portugese heritage and architecture alive with bright coloured buildings, with slanting roofs of tiles, a small protruding balcony, wooden doors and windows (that open towards the inside), and windows covered with straight iron rods. The Fontainhaas area opens up to the Mandovi River and multiple casinos on the river (Goa does not allow Casinos on land, so legal wordplay implies we can have casinos on water -smart eh!).
There are multiple small bars and cafes (that serve alcohol too — it is Goa!). We went into one such really small local bar, and had Urrak (They served a simple concoction of Urrak, Fanta, Mirchi and Lemon), and it was really good. Finally I had tried almost everything — Local Beers, Cashew Feni, Coconut Feni, and now Urrak!
We then went to a little cafe which had a minimalistic and cute decor, called the Goldspot Cafe (Wifi Password — homefromwork — wordplay at it again!). We tried Kokum juice to freshen up amidset the heat of the day. Explored the beautiful buildings and their architecture and made our way to Mapusa bus stand to take the bus back to corporate life in Bangalore.
On our way back, Police checked our bags at two checkpoints for liquor, because lost alcohol tax revenue is more important than any other crime, and needs to weeded out at source! Luckily, I was not carrying any alcohol, but multiple people were carrying a few bottles. The police took them to the side and there were “discussions”, after which they were let go (Will my blog be deleted, if I describe how the discussions ended — I would rather not take that risk, and anyway, we know right? — Nevertheless, if you are taking a bus/car back, don’t try to carry alcohol bottles out of Goa, cause discussions are expensive and you can rather buy it with peace in Karnataka/Maharashtra).
Anway, that was my beautiful and memorable trip to Goa. It is definitely the first of many trips to Goa. I would be exploring South Goa next, and then North, and then South, and then North again, and then, okay you get the drill! See you in my next blog! Adios amigo! Au Revoir!
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