Pink Chillies, Goa, India
Pink Chilli is a classy new restaurant situated inside the grounds of Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, a few minutes inland from the popular beach resorts and opposite the site of the Anjuna Saturday night market.
It’s been set up by the team that runs the Karma Café on Baga Beach, so you’ll find the same chilled atmosphere and super friendly welcome, just without the sand. It is one of the few places in Goa that is able to attract everyone – locals, holidaying Indians, Brits and Russians.
The Tandoori Lamb (Rps 400 a head) has to be ordered 48 hours in advance so it can be marinated. And, wow, how it is marinated. A thick tasty coating certainly penetrates the meat deeply after so many hours. Lamb (or sometimes mutton on menus) in Goa usually means goat, although the lamb here is imported from Maharashtra and once went ‘baa’ not ‘nanny’. Most of us curry lovers have seen this ‘order in advance’ dish on menus (it’s sometimes called Lamb Raan, which refers to the actual cut of lamb used) but few of us get round to ordering it. It’s worth it. Never have I seen a group of diners anticipating a meal such as this. From the cooking in the tandoor (cameras at the ready everyone) to the carving of the meat onto the trays, this really was an eating event.
To keep the anticipation to bearable levels, starters such as Chicken Chilli Fry (Rps 120), Prawn Chill Fry (Rps 140) and Masala Papads (popadoms loaded up with chopped onion, tomato, and chillies) provided a good selection to share around.
The couple who own this open-air restaurant – he from near Delhi, she from Liverpool – have created a beautifully styled venue. Pink is used on the walls, the place settings, the napkins and the menus (handmade with crushed paper), although the dark wood of the tables means the colour is not overpowering. Classic Indian posters have been framed and cover the walls, and the smart wooden carved chairs go well with the tables that have been converted from old Singer sewing machine frames. Coming soon, I’m told, will be a Tuk Tuk at the top of the stairs, where people can chill and enjoy a drink (and sure to be a hit among children and photographers). It will, of course, be painted in the restaurant’s trademark bright pink. Beep beep.
* At the time of the visit £1 = Rs 85, $1 = Rs 54.
Pink Chilli, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Arpora 403518, Goa, India. Open: daily.
Pink Chilli snapshot
Service and friendliness 8⃣