Hog Worth (Goa, Jan 2020)

After a shaky start at our first lunch on the beach (more on this later), we had our fourth very good lunch in a row at Hog Worth. I’ve already posted write-ups of the three previous: at Martin’s Corner, Palácio Do Deão, and Fernando’s Nostalgia. Unlike those three places, Hog Worth is not located in South Goa. It is located in Panjim, the capital of the state. This was another restaurant recommended by Vikram D. (who’d also recommended Fenando’s Nostalgia) and after the previous day’s experience we were looking forward to a meal there after a spot of tourism at various cathedrals. It did not disappoint.

The restaurant is located in the neighbourhood of Miramar, in what seems to be a largely residential area. Indeed, it would appear that there is a residence right above the restaurant. It’s a small restaurant, more charming on the outside than the inside—though I don’t mean to imply that the inside is ratty for it is not. On this particular Sunday, when we had spent a couple of very hot hours walking in and around the Basilica do Bom Jesus and the Se Cathedral, the fact that they had air-conditioning alone would have been almost enough to make us happy. But the food was very good too.

The menu is compact and as at most Goan places seemingly (Fernando’s Nostalgia again an exception) Goan food is not the only cuisine on offer. The menu includes a North Indian selection as large as the Goan and a few Chinese and Continental dishes. We restricted ourselves to just the Goan dishes (plus a lachha paratha for the dratted boys who were once again thwarted in their desire to eat butter naans). What did we eat? We started with an order each of prawns butter garlic and beef tongue. The former was very good indeed with the sauteed veg on the plate a delicious bonus. The latter was also very good and the boys liked it so much that we ordered a second plate almost immediately. To follow, shark xacuti and solantulem, a dish of pork cooked in its own juices with kokum. Both were very good indeed. We mopped both up with pao and undo (another type of Goan bread).

When recommending the restaurant Vikram had particularly recommended their traditional Goan desserts, in particular their bolo sans rival and their serradura. We got one order of each. The bolo sans rival is a layer cake made with cashew paste and it was just excellent. The serradura—a pudding made with whipped cream and crumbled Marie biscuits (!)—was gobbled up by the younger boy before I could have more than one spoon of it but I can confirm that it was indeed very good. Looking it up, I learned that it is a dish of Portuguese origin, very popular in ex-Portuguese colonies such as Macau and Goa.

Launch the slideshow for a look at the restaurant and the food. Scroll down for my thoughts on service, value and the meal as a whole.

There is nothing particularly new-fangled about the cooking here—I’m no Goan food expert but I’d guess these preps would all track as traditional enough. However, I’d say that everything here was made with a lighter touch than at either Martin’s Corner or Fernando’s Nostalgia. And as the portion sizes are not massive it was possible for us to order the second entree. Indeed, we only ordered the shark after receiving the solantulem. I don’t say this to complain about portion size. Quite the contrary: we appreciated being able to try two mains without drastically over-eating.

We also appreciated the meal as a whole. This was yet another meal that we left ruing not having been able to try more of what they do. We also enjoyed the brief chat we had with the head chef. Among other things, he told us that they can make bebinca on special order if asked ahead of time. He also said they do Goan cooking lessons for groups. Indeed, as we were leaving he was filming a marketing spot outside for one of those programs.

The restaurant was not very busy at lunch—only two other table occupied the entire time we were there. I assume they’re much busier in the evenings. Service was very good—present, friendly, informative, not overbearing. And the price was very good too. With soft drinks, a coffee, tax and tip the total came to Rs. 2100 or just about $30. As you have seen, if you’ve read my other Goa reviews, it’s certainly easy to pay more in Goa.

Okay, only another couple of reviews to come from Goa. On Sunday I’ll have a combo review of our dinner on our first night plus the meals we ate at the beach shacks. Next week, the last of our restaurant meals before leaving for Calcutta. I’m also hoping to have another Twin Cities review next week but with the pandemic intensifying it’s getting harder to be confident about going out. We’ll see how it goes before the weekend!

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