Cozinha de Goa Prabhu’s Kitchen, Kothrud
Some restaurants don’t feel like a business, but feel like being at someone’s home, where the food is lovingly prepared, by the whole family, each member having a special input or a preference in every dish. Old family recipes passed down from generations, cherished, held close to the heart and prepared with fervent passion. Like every family, there is banter, bickering and bunch of hand waving. But there’s always love and a sense of warmth. Cozinha de Goa feels exactly like that. Its’ a classic family run establishment, the cooking as well as the serving done by the family. The kitchen is always open to walk in and watch your food being made, or even tell them your preferences. You might get told you’re wrong or aunty will chat away with you to glory, but isn’t that what happens in every home. And then there’s the food.
Food. Just magnificent taste and full of soul, simple and homely. Their fresh fish is fried in a masala with a century old recipe, in almost an equally old pan in oil which is allowed to drain off to the side in the last stages so it retains minimal greasiness. Sol kadhi, made from age old techniques and implements from dried kokum just how granny did it in a small town in Goa.
We had Surmai fry and Bombil fry, both super delicious and crispy while retaining the soft juicy meat. The Silver Fish Fry was just like eating chips, but made out of fish. Just amazing, sort of similar to Mandeli but unlike many places, the fish wasn’t hard and overcooked. The crust was crispy with soft flesh inside. The Prawn Fry was out of this world. Plump and juicy prawns, just perfect. Only thing I noticed was they put Chaat masala on all their fried fish. It was tasty but a bit different.
The curries are rich, warm and soul hugging. Flavour pouring out of every bite, without the heartburn of most restaurant stuff. Their Goan Prawn curry is just heaven. If you haven’t had it yet, what are you doing with your life? The Chicken Xacuti, a masterpiece. Very warm, earthy and spicy curry with such depth of flavour.
The Amboli too is a very different recipe. Instead of just rice, they add equal amount of coconut to the batter to make it fluffy and light but not sticky or chewy in texture. It’s just superb. The Amboli with the prawn curry is just one of the best things I’ve probably ever had.
Their Biryanis are very different. It’s flavourful rice topped with a thick dry curry of whatever meat you choose. We had Prawn and Chicken. Both really amazing, spicy but not eye wateringly hot. Just fresh masala, juicy chicken / prawn and amazing with their raita.
To end it all off, they served us Rice Kheer. My God, so creamy, so rich, perfectly sweet with roasted cashews, raisins and dates. Just a wholesome dessert. Perfect to end this ensemble of dishes.
Cozinha de Goa is an experience. It’s a slice of Goa in Pune with a very unique and special taste and feel. You couldn’t find it in any restaurant in Pune. The prices too are very reasonable and will definitely not break the bank for a full satisfying meal. They completely refused to let us pay as we were there with our friend, Shyam bhai, who is like family to them by now. We were able to convince them, I think, that we’ll only be back if they let us pay next time. Probably.