If you’re wondering where Caravela Café is, you’d be surprised to know that you’ve most definitely driven past it as you enter Panjim. I have too! We’ve passed it countless times, and a split second glance into one of the lanes would have led you to this gem of a place that’s hidden from plain sight and known for serving all-day English breakfasts. A few surrounding landmarks include Marc Brown Café and the small, unavoidable petrol pump besides the Mandovi, from where you go straight towards Kala Academy or turn left to get into the main city.
The Caravela Café began to provide the guests residing at Caravela Home Stay, a few seconds away, a place to dine. Even today, guests come to the café to avail of their complimentary buffet breakfast but the tiny café also caters to walk-ins.
Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast spot on a harried Monday morning or prepping to enjoy a Sunday brunch feast, Caravela Café has something for every mood and occasion, without compromising on quality.
This small, cosy all-day café is quite charming in its shades of yellow and brown with innumerable knick-knacks, curios and teacups on shelves that look just like those your grandmother used to have. Various posters quip their love for coffee in witty one-liners, providing for some amusing reading material as you sip your brew. The building itself has one of those old Portuguese style exteriors but the distinct vintage charm is maintained inside in small details like the striped tablecloth and furniture.
4 tables compactly fit in the outer room whereas the inner room is a little larger and spaced out. The juxtaposition of old and new is present here, the new being the sleek coffee machines brewing fresh coffee.
The owner of the restaurant, Carlos, and his father were around when I visited and offered suggestions on what to order. While I was there, another two tables filled up, and I noticed that as each new customer arrived, they found the food on a nearby diner’s table interesting, thus ordering the same. There seem to be a few crowd favourites at Café Caravela and dishes come to the table quickly.
The café has a wide selection of brekkie items, the most popular being the all-day breakfasts. You can also choose from among cornflakes, soups served with pao, Snacks (Goan sausage bread, croquettes, potato chops), Sandwiches (BLT, tuna and cheese, ham, etc), salads, pasta, pizza, Goan specials such as Pork Balchao, Chicken Cafreal, Xacuti and Fejoida. Juices and teas were available. Coffee lovers are in for a treat as Caravela Café has a separate menu for coffees, featuring various kinds of beans and blends so you can personalize the depth and flavour of your drink.
While desserts were on the menu, they didn’t have the Serra Durra I asked for, hence continuing my streak of bad luck with desserts in Goa this time around.
The All-Day Breakfast
English Breakfasts have stood the test of time, and for me, is synonymous with a holiday. We can’t indulge in them every day, because, they aren’t the healthiest thing in the world – so when you do have one, make sure it’s amazing! The English breakfast features bacon, sausage, a hash brown, baked beans, tomato, sliced bread and eggs, your way. Wash it all down with a glass of juice and a hot beverage which is included. It all comes together to make a breakfast that’s better than the sum of its delicious parts!
Prawn Rissois – Have you even lived if you haven’t tried Prawn Ressois? They are YUM… no, really, they’re YUM!! Addictive, actually! After nice, crispy beef patties, this is my favourite Goan snack (and sometimes the only reason I go to Café Xavier in Mapusa *confession*). So thrilled that I found them in Panjim, too, and they were just as great. This delicate breaded pastry are bite-sized, slightly crunchy on the outside and filled with a delicious melt-in-your-mouth prawn filling inside.
P.S. Anyone know where I can get these in Mumbai?
Nutella and Banana Pancakes
While pancakes aren’t written on Café Caravela’s menu, there are signboards indicating that they are served with a couple of topping options. I was tempted to try the Banana and Nutella pancake and was quite liked them – warm, fluffy, tasted homemade and had those nice crispy edges I like.
I got a small bowl full of nutella on the side – always a good thing, however I wished that it would have been slightly warm so that it would have been easier to drizzle it on top. I’d order it again at brunch, tea-time, or whenever those sugar cravings hit.
WHAT I LIKED
Value for money – Compared to a lot of breakfast places, these prices were super reasonable! 4 croquettes/rissois at Rs. 50, Soups and omletes below Rs. 100, cold coffee at Rs. 50 (what!), the All Day Caravela breakfast at Rs. 325 – steals, right? Fingers crossed it stays that way!
The range of coffees – Parama, Sattva and Aromatique are three choices of single-estate artisan, freshly ground coffees available and they are quite good!
The idyllic vibe!
WHAT COULD BE BETTER
Desserts – C’mon people, are you conspiring to get me off desserts? Third restaurant in a row to not have them!
Some healthier options – such as oats, porridge and salad bowls. Since they have Goan items on the menu, some omlete ros would be great too! … and waffles!
Address: 27, 31st January Road, Panaji, Goa
Cost for two: Rs 500 approx
Until next time!