-By Odette Mascarenhas
In an old heritage house in the by-lanes of Fontainhas is the home of Linda and Michael de Sousa. Here one will find a heritage treasure. Heritage? Well, we are all aware that the Portuguese, being traders, left behind a rich legacy of fruit and vegetables as well as recipes. These, when fused with the local ingredients, created a repertoire which few countries could really compete with. Linda, a school teacher who is passionate about food, has delved into the past and created a menu that lists unique preparations. Besides the Prawn Curry, Balchao, Cafreal and Caldin, which are all old-time favourites and not to be missed, she has preparations like Piexe Portuguese, Torradine, Pork Cabidel, which perhaps could be lost forever as most restaurants only serve known preparations. Enter the narrow lane full of tables and lively chatter, people exchanging jokes, words drifting in Konkani and Portuguese, definitely the essence of 'Goa in the past'. You will see tables groaning under the spread of a big stuffed Tomaso (red snapper), its red masala oozing out from its side, Batter-Fried Squid, Prawn Caldin, Goa Prawn Curry, Fish Balchao, Chicken Cafreal, Goa Rice… Luckily, the furniture, like the rest of the house, is made of good antique wood. Linda flits around, talking to people, explaining the preparations to those who perhaps seek knowledge. In a place like that, one meets so many known faces when people stop to thank Linda for the lovely meal. Awarded by the Government of Goa the Life Achievement award at the International Cuisine Conference, she remains unfazed in her quest. In their quest to sample the local authentic fare, tourists step into her modest parlour, which serves as the dining hall. Viva Panjim believes in safeguarding Goa's heritage culinary treasure.
Review posted more than a year ago
The british of the olden times were stupid to put up such a sign.... The folks at Viva Panjim achieve much the same by just looking through you as if you are not there.... The waiter looks through you, the owner looks through you and even the lizard on the wall looks through you as if you are not there :)
The first time we went, we actually expected the waiter to ask us whether we wanted water. After 5 minutes we asked for it. 15 minutes later, after many implorations, they finally took the order. 30 minutes later, they finally delivered it.
The prawns and the kingfish steak was divine, and all was forgiven.... So much so that we returned the next day. After 30 minutes of no one even looking our way, we had no other option but to get up and go to niyaaz, where they treated us to great food, and spoilt us silly.... :)
I will never be able to taste the wonderful concoctions of Viva Panjim in this lifetime, because I dont want to be humiliated again.... Perhaps, in the next generation, if I am born in a fairer avatar west of the ural mountains, I may be lucky enough to enjoy the food :)
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