Located between two party towns, Siolim and Vagator, is a convenient hangout. Soro, meaning alcohol in Konkani is fast becoming a popular live music spot for locals and tourists.
From the outside, it looks like an abandoned, rundown house – with barely any paint, bricks showing and cracked walls that would otherwise make you drive past without a second glance. What sneakily give it away are the vines of fairy lights and lamps that emit a warm glow, inviting patrons like moths to a flame.
Soro is like a throwback to an old village tavern in the years gone by – and everything from the exteriors to the galvanized iron roofing retains the old world charm of its original structure. The walls are left untouched, which gives the entire place a rustic feel, but the theme is also subtly enhanced by the cleverly conceptualized industrial-looking interiors.
The restaurant was formerly a soda factory and that look has been maintained flawlessly. Large, exposed A/C vents, heritage tiles, bald filament bulbs, vintage graffiti and shaky looking furniture adds to its quaint ambiance. The modern touch can be seen when you look at the bar – a fine mix of dull bottles and bright popping coloured ones on a shiny rack.
On the night I went, the music was nothing short of brilliant. A DJ played a mix of songs from the 90’s and each one was better than the last – giving us all the nostalgia feels! On certain nights, Soro has live music, but I’m not sure how comfortable that would be for diners. Considering that the place is small, I have a good feeling that the music would be a little too loud to allow conversation.
There are two choices of seating – either prop yourself up on old-world bar stools around a table indoors or sit on long benches and communal-looking tables outside under a canopy of trees. I chose the former.
I’ve read zomato reviews where a majority of people said that the service was lacking. I didn’t find it slow at all, but then, the restaurant was at 40% capacity the day I visited.
Batter Fried Calamari – The first dish I ordered, and it wasn’t that impressive, to be honest. Calamari is a great dish to satisfy that restaurant-appetizer itch and tastes best when the batter is light and crispy. This came with a thicker, slightly soggy batter that I wasn’t a fan of.
Southern Fried Chicken- Got to love chicken with that extra craggy crust and tender meat inside! This was one of the better dishes of the evening. The seasoning was just the right kind of ‘spicy’ and it was low on grease! Potentially winning dish, right here – I only wish it came with coleslaw instead of cabbage.
Chicken Cafreal with Poi – While the restaurant has a multi-cuisine menu, there are plenty of Goan food options and I had to try one! We picked Chicken Cafreal with Poi (Goan bread) – a popular Sunday lunch dish and one that’s equated to Goan cuisine! This one was average and not the best I’ve ever had. It possessed the wonderful blend of aromatic spices but I personally love it when the flavour goes all the way into the meat – which wasn’t really the case here.
Masala Mutton – Soft, tender chunks of mutton in Indian-styled spiced tomato gravy really hit the spot. It had a wonderful smoky flavour and aroma, and went well with simple rice. One of my pet peeves is seeing wonderful dishes being garnished with thick slices of onion. If it’s not an Indian restaurant or a dhaba on the highway, why consider garnishing this way?
Pork Ribs – We have this thing in my family – whatever my brother orders for himself turns out to be the best dish of the night, and we eye his food throughout the meal until he’s forced to share. Case in point – these pork chops! Served with sautéed vegetables and Soro’s special sauce, they were lip-smacking good! It was flavourful, delicate and tasted like a delicious mix of soy sauce, ketchup, honey and garlic.
Mix Fruit Chocolate Rolls – When I ordered this, I pictured a roll stuffed with fruits and chocolate sauce on the side. However, the roll was stuffed with chocolate and came with ice cream served on a slice of pineapple. I’m not complaining, it was an absolutely delicious dessert – hot and crispy on the outside, with warm, molten chocolate paired with ice cream – yum! Got to love flaky pastry!
Banana Fritters with Ice Cream – Sweet, batter-fried bananas with a drizzle of honey sauce and scoop of ice cream – one can’t go wrong with an easy combination like that, and Soro didn’t. However, it could have been presented in far more appetizing way!
WHAT I LIKED
Ambiance – Definitely going back to chill out in here just for the ambiance! And if that epic DJ is playing again, so much the better!
The “sportsy” feel – Whether you want to shoot some pool on the table outside or watch the football game on one of their TVs, Soro seems like the perfect place to do it! Maybe it’s just the masculine-like vibe it has going on.
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
Presentation – While I love eating on the streets and at cheap places, I don’t like “dhaba style” garnishing and presentation at upscale restaurants.
Overall, Soro is a far cry away from glitzy clubs that dot the tourist belt. It’s uniquely Goan and appeals to the global crowd as well. Definitely worth a visit!
Meal for 2- Rs. 1200 + alcohol
Getting there – Assagaon, Siolim Road, Vagator, Goa
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