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No to Lobo

Goa’s well-known shack Souza Lobo comes to Delhi… regrettably

By Anoothi Vishal

No one really mentions Souza Lobo in Goa when you ask them for the best restaurants/shack in this beach heaven. And yet, your trip to Calangute would be incomplete without the ritual of visiting this place —one of the oldest around in Goa. With time, the shack has metamorphosed into not just a restaurant but even a small banqueting space at the back. And last time I visited it—two years ago, during the dull monsoon season when the beach was populated unfortunately with sweaty, pot-bellied middle aged men in kachchas taking a dip in the ocean as if it was the Ganga, up north—I still loved it despite the plastic waste and dogs outside. So I was quite happy really to discover that this Goan landmark had now come to Delhi—in the GK I market, otherwise overflowing with cloth merchant establishments and other sundries. It confirmed my theory that the market for regional Indian cuisines has never been more ripe in the metros and that Delhi, in particular, is ready to accept everything from Goan to Malvani seafood.

First impressions were not too bad. Sensibly, the restaurant had stuck to basics-only while doing up the place. And while, of course, any one would be excused for missing the seaside in this chaotic puppy market, we eagerly looked forward to the food. I ordered some Goan masala papads—that I quite enjoy in all their oily glory—but the ones that turned up were somewhat different from how I remembered them. Yet, quite edible.

On the other hand, the prawns in Goan masala we ordered were decidedly sub par as were the squids— totally chewy and slightly smelly! I love seafood and the menu at Souza Lobo looked attractive because seafood here has been priced so well. Mud Crabs for just a little over Rs 300 per portion—you may as well have been in Goa. Alas, the Delhi restaurant fails to deliver on its promise. The sourcing is to blame perhaps as the seafood I tried even for the main course didn’t seem too fresh. Definitely avoidable.

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