Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bomra's - Goa's little secret

The sign is easy to miss so look out.

I can't tell you how much I've been waiting to tell you about my little discovery in Goa - a restaurant called Bomra's. It was a serendipitous find and you can only imagine my delight when it turned out to be one of the best meals Sean and I have experienced so far. If you've noticed the blog being over active the past few days, it's only because I am trying to race through Goa-related topics chronologically so I can share the excellent dinner we had there. The place is owned and run by Burmese chef Bawmra Jap who does a fine job in using the local produce to highlight the flavours of his home country.

Basically Sean and I were wandering along the Fort Aguada road in Candolim looking for a place to have lunch when I noticed a menu posted outside an old house. Intrigued, I stepped up to it and beckoned to Sean to do the same. An opening quote explained that Bomra's served '...highly inventive Burmese cuisine...'. Several items caught our eye on the menu and with all the Goan food we had been feasting on we decided it would be a good place to try something different.

There were a few staff members on the premises but the place served only dinner so we returned that evening. The exterior with plain wicker chairs (like many restaurants along the strip) was now transformed into a romantic yet lounge-like atmosphere lit by paper lanterns. It was already packed with people sipping cocktails while plates of food were being hurriedly ferried from the kitchen to patrons. Although spoilt for choice with the menu we still managed to make some pretty good decisions. The whole account of what we ate is included below.

It was only later after we headily walked away completely blown away by the meal that we discovered the quote on the menu was actually published in the India edition of Vogue magazine. Few days later, a Google search revealed that Bomra's was quickly gaining a fan following and already had mentions in GQ India and the online Frommer's Guide. Now Sean and I were even more thrilled that the restaurant was getting the recognition it deserved. Best of all, we managed to get a first-hand experience ourselves. 

Bomra's Special cocktail.
Heady with ginger, lemon grass and lime, the drink came with a good glug of vodka, which was potent enough to carry me through the whole meal. There were also a whole range of wines and premium spirits on offer.

Spicy raw mango salad with groundnuts, fish sauce and dried shrimp.
My starter - A take on the famous Thai papaya salad, the mango was perfectly semi-ripe and its tart juice cut through the saltiness of the fish sauce. Crunchy peanuts and salty-sweet dried prawns were easily identifiable amidst the gold-green mango shards.
Crackling pork, pomelo and pomegranate salad.
Sean's starter - These flavours quite literally burst on the tongue and it was a real visual spectacle with the tumble of forest green mint leaves and ruby pomegranate seeds. I'd never eaten pork with mint before and could not believe how well the combination worked. Crisp pork, fresh mint, tart pomelo - this was a definite trumps over my starter.

And then the mains arrived.
The service is rolled out pretty quickly and is extremely efficient. You'll also get a glimpse of Bawmra from time to time as he steps out of the kitchen and takes a peek at patrons from the bar area.

Slow cooked belly pork cashew nut crust, lentils, spinach apple chutney.
Of course Sean chose pork for his main course again and was definitely not disappointed. The cashew nut crust was lightly broiled and the lentils provided an excellent textural balance to the succulence of the pork. Sean is a carb lover and ordered steamed rice on the side but it was completely sidelined since the dish worked so well on its own.

Snapper with lemon grass, chili, fish sauce steamed to perfection.
Perfection is an understatement here. I wanted something light and this hit all the right notes. It was moist, the silken leeks seemed to evaporate on the tongue and when you tasted the broth you could immediately taste all the infusing flavours. This went really well with the steamed rice.

Steamed rice.

Stir-fried seasonal vegetables.
Again, amazing. The vegetables were lightly sautéed and provided a hint of garlic and ginger. The broth it was sitting in also tasted great with the steamed rice. I honestly could not stop munching away on the tender vegetables even though I was almost full.

Tender coconut pannacotta with candied orange and passion fruit.
I'm a dessert freak and this was definitely the star of the meal. The pannacotta was sublime on its own but was taken to a whole new level with the silken pieces of candied orange and a spoonful of the tart passionfruit flesh. Sean was even lucky to get a whole piece of tender coconut in the spoonful he stole from me. I couldn't help getting territorial and I didn't want to share.

Lemon grass and ginger crème brûlée.
Sean's dessert (we were on vacation and obviously not counting sugar content). It was speckled with vanilla seeds but we unfortunately went through half of it before realising that there was a layer of coconut and ginger on the bottom. Once discovered, we were able to get the whole range of flavours and would highly recommend this treat as well.

4 comments:

  1. Hi...
    When I ate here, the BBQ skewer was dismally bland, the lady fingers were tough, the bamboo chicken simply did not blend with steamed french beans... but the desert frozen yogurt with poached, spiced fig was divine

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  2. Hey Maya. I'm going to keep in mind what you've mentioned and maybe give it a try to see whether they were just having an off day when you visited. Their desserts are truly amazing. One of the best pannacottas I've ever had.

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