Hey hey! Welcome back!
It’s a brand new week and I have a great new find to tell you about – a Cajun restaurant right here in Candolim!
Think Cajun cooking and some of the things that pop into your head are New Orleans, Louisiana, some delicious southern fried chicken or the phrase, “let the good times roll!” But for me, that image now includes a jolly, burly chef who has bought Cajun cooking to Goa.
Bistro Bourbon Street is a two-year old restaurant, owned and run by Chef Sohan Ahluwalia, who used to have a bistro by the same name in Tokyo for 18 years. It’s here that you will find honest-to-goodness Cajun and Creole classics that lay emphasis on authenticity and quality.
Sitting pretty in a by-lane of Candolim, Bistro Bourbon Street is one of those places that you may not find unless you’re looking for it. And yes, people do look for it! The restaurant has a string of regulars and though it has merely 2-3 tables inside, it is often booked by a large group.
A quiet restaurant, a portion of it is occupied by an open kitchen, from where delicious aromas waft your way as Chef Sohan whips up your dish of choice. On the opposite side is the entrance – wall to wall windows and a door that spills out to a couple of tables where you can sit and order yourself a drink. Head upstairs and find yourself at a cute little bar that overlooks the restaurant below. Dining at Bourbon Street Bistro makes you feel like you’re sitting right in the kitchen with the chef, and that’s something special! You know what they say… some of the best food comes out of tiny, unassuming restaurants!
The restaurant is under the keen eye of Chef Sohan who runs the entire show almost single-handedly, save for a helper who takes care of smaller jobs. He likes keeping the restaurant small, and the crowd, intimate, as it allows him to mingle with everyone while keeping standards high. This also ensures that he can handle different orders from different people and allows the food to come out quickly.
If you’ve been to the North Goa beach stretch, you’d know how jam packed the restaurant scene is, with every establishment bending over backwards to draw customers in. Finding a restaurant that sticks to 1-2 types of cuisines is rare and everyone tries to cater to a myriad of palates – serving Italian, Continental, Goan, South Indian, Mughlai, Hakka Chinese – and what have you – under one roof.
“How is a kitchen supposed to function this way,” says Chef Sohan in bewilderment. “How can anything be authentic?”
That’s the precise reason why you won’t find Chef Sohan entertaining requests for French Fries and butter naan here. As he’s mastered the art of Cajun Cooking over the years, he intends to keep serving real, hearty Cajun and Creole food for what it is. It is refreshing to find a place like this – one that isn’t solely motivated by what gets the cash register ringing, but instead, gives food the respect it deserves and relies on patrons with fine tastes to understand and appreciate it.
Find Cajun classics like Jumabalya, Southern Fried Chicken and Gumbo Soup on the menu alongside hits like the Blackened Fish and Prawn Etoufee plus a small selection of desserts. They also have an impressive selection of alcohol to pair with the meal. Here’s what I tried.
Barbequed Cajun Prawns – In Cajun cooking, having the shells on prawns is standard, and that’s exactly how these came out. What gave these fresh, buttery shrimp a nice kick was the sauce, flavoured with lots of spice, garlic, lemon juice and herbs. Light and irresistible, it is to-the-very-last-drop addictive.
Lose the Blues Chicken – Indeed, it is a great antidote if you’ve got the blues! A breast of chicken, marinated in white wine, grilled to perfection and topped with garlic, lemon and olives, served with a side of grilled veggies made it one summery dish! I loved the mix of tangy flavours that come together, complimenting the juicy meat, and making it a mouth watering meal.
Chocolate Mousse – Silky smooth and so decadent, it was served over a bed of ice cream in a cocktail glass. Chocolate lovers won’t be disappointed – this really hits the spot!
Bistro Bourbon Street is only open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, and the last seating is at 9:30 PM. Don’t forget to make reservations before you go to avoid disappointment!
Address – Devashree Sun n Sand, Boman Vaddo, Candolim, Goa
Cost for 2 – Rs. 2000/-
Bye for now!