Pentagon (Goa, January 2023)

Now that my Delhi reports are almost done—the last one will probably be posted tomorrow—it’s time to make some headway on my food reports from our side trip to Goa from Delhi. I’ve already documented our first stop on the way from the airport to the house we were staying in in South Goa. That was at the large fish market in Margao. I picked up enough fish and shellfish there to keep us stocked for dinner for almost our entire stay. Lunches, however, were eaten out, as we took breaks from basking on beaches. A few of those lunches were eaten at shacks at Cavelossim Beach—our headquarters by the water—but for a few we drove further out. The first such was this lunch at Pentagon in Majorda. It was a special outing for the older boy’s birthday. Here’s how it went.

On our first family visit to Goa, the boys became very enamoured of the butter-garlic preparation that is applied in Goa to most things that emerge from the sea. At home and in restaurants, we ate butter-garlic preparations of squid, crab, prawns and even pomfret. The one thing we didn’t eat a butter-garlic preparatio of was lobster. And, in fact, we didn’t eat lobster at all on that trip. I’d wanted to save the lobster experience for a good Goan restaurant, but as luck would have it, neither Fernando’s Nostalgia in Raia, nor Hog Worth in Panjim had any lobster when we visited. And then nor did any of the other smaller restaurants we went too—lobster, it turns out, is more likely to be found in restaurants frequented by tourists than locals, as they spend more money (the tourists being mostly Indian tourists from other parts of the country). So this was a bit of a sore spot for the boys. And so we’d promised them that we’d lobster as close to arrival on this trip as possible.

I’d initially thought we’d do it via a return to Martin’s Corner in Betalbatim. But friends who visit Goa often suggested that we’d be better off at Pentagon in Majorda (not too far away from Martin’s Corner) and so that’s where we went. I was expecting a small’ish restaurant—I’d read that they’d originated as a beach shack (which are generally smaller affairs)—but it turned out to be a large restaurant. And like many such in Goa, not enclosed by walls. We were there for an early lunch and so it was not very full when we arrived—but it had begun to fill up by the time we left. I assume that at dinner—when there is live music—it is even busier.

What did we eat? Well, the first step was to view the live seafood selection and reserve a lobster to be prepared as butter-garlic. Having gotten that out of the way we took the measure of the menu. Like so many restaurants on the tourist trail (which is a lot of Goa), it’s fairly light on Goan dishes. It’s a pretty standard “multi-cuisine” restaurant which serves up North Indian fare, Indian Chinese fare, and various kinds of “Continental”/European dishes—a lot of pasta for one. This kind of thing appeals both to foreign and Indian tourists. Sad to say, not much Goan food makes it onto menus at restaurants like these, and only a very limited part of the larger Goan repertoire is represented in what does.

What else did we get? We started with a special appetizer of calamari tentacle chilli fry. This was rather good. We also ordered naans stuffed with spicy Goan sausage. We first ate this in 2020 on the recommendation of my friend Vikram D. as being one of the few things that beach shacks prepare well and liked it so much we ate it on more than one occasion. Pentagon’s version was very good but so over-stuffed with sausage that it threatened to kill our appetites. Somehow we soldiered on. The lobster arrived not too long after and was very good indeed (though I have to admit I prefer the crab and squid versions of butter-garlic). Then from the tiny “Goan Classics” section of the menu, pork vindaloo (with very fatty pork as is the norm in Goa) and mutton xacuti. Another symptom of the problem described in the previous para is that tourist restaurants like Pentagon don’t offer any Goan breads. And so we used naans to mop things up.

To finish we tried their coconut pudding and their caramel pudding. Both were very good. A few juices and mocktails rounded out our order. For a look at the restaurant, the menu, and the food, click on a pic below to launch a larger slideshow. Scroll down for cost and service and so forth.

Service was friendly and present when needed. Cost? Before tip the total came to just below Rs. 8000 or a little less than $100. Most of that was the lobster. The boy was very happy with this as his birthday meal—he truly relished the lobster—but if you don’t have that need to fill, I would suggest that the lobster is not exactly essential. And, on the whole, while this was a very nice lunch, I’m not sure that there was very much there to recommend it over Martin’s Corner. Our friends’ other recommendation, however, we appreciated far more. That report is coming soon.

Alright, what’s next? I should have my last Delhi report up tomorrow (it’ll be of a Korean dinner in Gurgaon). On Tuesday, I’ll report on our recent dinner at Tenant in Minneapolis. And towards the end of the week I’ll have two more Goa reports and one more Seoul report. Not sure yet what next week’s whisky reviews will comprise.



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