- February 20, 2023
- Posted by: Planet Goa Team
- Category: Cafe, Food And Drinks
Date: 18th February 2023 | IMAGES: SHOBHIKA JAJU & BY THE RESTAURANTReimagine the way you engage with Indian cuisine at Juju, a restaurant attempting to serve traditional Indian cuisine in the most imaginative avatars.
Juju, South Goa’s latest fine dining restaurant and bar, is “the” place to head over to, when you are craving for familiar Indian flavours with an innovative twist. An ode to the regional cuisines and ingredients of India, the essence of the food & drinks at Juju is, at its heart, modern, in preparation & presentation, alike.
Juju has come up at the popular South Goa beach belt of Colva-Benaulim, and is a much-needed respite, for times when you want to fine dine, but not want to go to a five-star resort or when you want to sip on a cocktail slowly, but not be on the beach. In short, Juju fills up that gap in dining options, which South Goa lacked in, while the north part of the state basked in.
Launched by brother-sister duo, Raghav Bahl & Bhavna Bahl Talwar, the owners of the popular Beleza by The Beach resort in Colva, the menu of this vibrant new place has been designed by celebrated Goan Chef Avinash Martins. If you have ever been to any of Avinash’s other restaurants or dinner/lunch soirees; you would know that with Chef Martins, food can never be ordinary. And the same imagination has been brought to the menu at Juju.
A menu which is regularly updated based on the chef’s culinary imaginations, and customer feedback / preferences, is always a delight. But what stands out for the menu at Juju, is the ode that the restaurant pays to each and every region of India, with unique preparations from across the different states. Be it the tofu samosa, or the achari bhutta spring roll, for the vegetarians; or the Betul mussles, and the Kerala spiced rawas, for the non-vegetarians, there is no denying the fact that this is a menu curated with a lot of background research about the regional produce native to the many parts of India. And these are just a few of the delicacies on the menu. The food menu presents a wide variety of options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
At Juju, feel free to request for your favourite ingredients or staples you prefer, even if you don’t see them on the menu. If it is practically possible on that particular day, the proactive restaurant manager, Brandon & the Executive Chef of the restaurant, Chef Abhijeet, will ensure that you get whatever it is you were looking for. Chef Abhijeet, brings to the table more than a decade of culinary experience with him, and this reflects in the way the produce is highlighted in every dish.
The drinks menu at Juju’s bar has been deliciously crafted by Russian mixologist Evgenya Prazdnik, who brings along with her several years of bar consulting experience. Each drink on the menu, derives inspiration from a different state of Goa & highlights at least one core ingredient which reminds the connoisseur of that state. For example, the ‘Jasmine’ drink, Sandras Spiritz, takes you to Tamil Nadu, with just a look at the drink & a whiff of it; the ‘Jamun’ based Dilli 6 drink, takes you to those summer afternoons of Delhi (North India), chewing on juicy jamuns soaked in tangy spices. The non-alcoholic drinks at the restaurant are also flavourful and made with as much passion, as their alcoholic counterparts. The guava (peru) smash, is a must try (also available in its alcoholic avatar). And each drink is a sheer delight to look at; so keep your cameras ( & smiles) ready.
No Indian meal ends without a good dessert & Juju also offers innovative desserts to satiate that Indian sweet tooth. We had the tender coconut rasmalai, which was a delight for our taste buds and visual – aromatic senses. The melt in your mouth bite sized rasmalai accompanied by coconut biscuits was just what was needed to end the perfect Saturday night dinner.
Also, much like its name, the overall architecture of the place, oozes out good vibes from the moment you park your car at the entrance. Designed by Architect, Interior Designer and Founder of Wheaton’s design, Samiir Wheaton, the overall aesthetic of the place, interiors and exteriors combined, is rooted in the Goan theme of openness, earthy colours, and also stands apart for its wide windows, modern lighting, and that comforting vibe which directs its patrons to just abandon all worries and chill. The bar itself is so inviting, that you will just want to hang out with friends there, especially during the lazy afternoons & Sunday evening hours. The ambience is further highlighted by live music on most days of the week. During my visit, I had the pleasure of some soulful live singing, by singer-guitarist Sudhir.
Some other quick points to note include the child friendliness of the place, ample of seating space, both indoors and outdoors and the overall airy open vibe to the place, which in spite of most tables being occupied, was not all closed up. Also, the service was quick, and with enough people waiting around the tables, dining at Juju, was a breeze on a busy Saturday night.
So, the next time you are in South Goa, do check out its latest gem, and don’t forget to call out your friends for that “good juju”.