An ode to Authentic Goan Cuisine
Mum’s Kitchen, Goa
Last night, I went to Mum’s Kitchen for dinner. I was so hungry & excited at the prospect of getting Xacuti after three months that I forgot to take pictures. This happens very rarely (me forgetting to document my gastronomic adventures), but that’s what Mum’s Kitchen does to you.
In the 21 years of its running, I must have had at least 50 meals here. They started out as a multi-cuisine restaurant when Goa was building its hype and claimed to be one of the most authentic Goanese experience even back then. As a child, I have fond memories of gorging on one of their continental dishes called ‘ Portuguese Connection’. A large crumb fried chicken steak stuffed with cheese & slathered with cream sauce on top, served with fries. It was heavenly. Eventually, they completely removed every trace of being a multi-cuisine restaurant and made going back to the roots cool. Unfortunately, I’ll never get to have this childhood favourite again. But, I laud them for taking the off-beat path back when no one was doing it and when every restaurant hankered after keeping red-sauce pasta on their menu.
Maria Suzette takes pride in calling herself the harbinger of the ethnic cuisine movement in Goa. She’s also the owner of this establishment. The Menu has been painstakingly put together by collecting and compiling recipes from Goan homes. The objective here is to preserve the charm of a mother’s home cooking served in a lively, upbeat setting. The most interesting aspect of their menu is not that they’ve used classic names for their dishes, but also where you might find them. Specialities from Goan-Hindu homes are highlighted, dishes served in classic Goan weddings are specified. Christian specialities, festival dishes and everything makes their own place in this menu and help you connect with the culture of the area and not just the gastronomy.
Another fantastic thing about this place is their ability to be consistent. A lot of regulars to Goa will deflect & say it wasn’t what it used to be, ‘It’s gone down now’. I highly disagree. I’ve never had a bad meal here. And if it had deteriorated, it could’ve meant a lot of bad meals for me. The only thing they can be guilty of is its bad service though.
The attitude is typically Goanese and when the restaurant is buzzing you may actually feel like they’re doing a favour on you by serving you food. We’ve also had some good days where once we reached at 7 pm on the clock and we were famished. Till the food was prepared, our server that day gave us complimentary munchies & had a pretty intellectually stimulating conversation with us. But I’ve also seen the girl handling the waiting list snicker at some typically North Indian tourists. You may also bump into the server who’ll have the same conversation about how he lived in Lajpat Nagar in 1994 when he finds out you’re from Delhi & recommends you the Chonak every single time you go there. We’ve now started reciting his story back to him & he’s quite sporting about it!
When it comes to the food, I can have bowls of their Chicken Xacuti mopped up with their homemade bread. The Prawns Piri-Piri, Rava Kingfish, Prawn cutlets, Crab Xec-Xec & Chourico are all fantastic.
This is THE place to go in Goa if you want some fresh & authentic seafood. Their traditional vegetarian Goan fare is also interesting and a step away from the usual ingredients. They do have a pretty fantastic Fried Cauliflower but I love their Dry Pineapple preparation, the Banana Blossom cutlets and the Hog Plum gravy. Top this eclectic meal with their Caramel Custard that has just the right wobble and a lovely bitter caramel flavour.