If you’re passing by St. Michael’s Church in Anjuna, you’ll come across a hotel with a giant bird cage outside – can’t miss it! That’s the Tamarind Hotel and inside is Café Cotinga.
No review of this pretty cafe can begin without mentioning the origin of their unique name. Cotinga is a blue bird native to South America that was spotted by the café’s bird-loving owners in the place where the café now stands. Having being seen so far away from its natural habitat, it has inspired not just the name, but also the colour scheme and décor of the place.
A serene restaurant away from the shore, one of the things they’re best known for is their desserts – and you can’t help but stop and marvel at the glass counter loaded with cake as you walk up the stairs to the balcony. Makes you almost want to gobble up the food just to get to the dessert part.
While I visited the hotel for dinner, I’d suggest going for lunch so you can admire the attention to bird-themed details all over the place. Maybe even sit in one of the bird cages to dine in!
The courtyard has an abundance of hanging, white paper lamps and fairy lights with lounge-style, white couches under a canopy of trees. There’s also the blue and white seating and a mini bird cage candle stand on every table. Try and make it for a meal here on Wednesday. There’s live music! If there’s anything that makes a dinner out in Goa lively, a band would be it. Even otherwise, the recorded music was fun, current and upbeat. Thumbs up to that.
The balcony also has a breezy, beachy vibe with white curtains billowing in the breeze. The best room though, was a bright yellow and black one that wasn’t decorated around the bird theme. It was based out of my favourite book of wisdom, Alice In Wonderland.
A pool table, a giant TV screen, white cushioned stools and striped couches gave this room a wonderfully whimsical feel. Quotes from the book are painted onto the wall. If you’re following me on Instagram, I have a picture of myself posing under a line that says “We’re all mad here,” while smiling like the Cheshire Cat. How apt!
I don’t have anything extra special to say about the service. There wasn’t much that jumped out in a good or not so good way. Pretty ordinary, if you ask me.
The menu is a mix of tandoori items, pizzas, salads, burgers, curries, biryanis and a couple of thalis thrown in for good measure. I read reviews online that said the lasagna and risotto served at Cotinga is out of this world, but the waiter highly recommended that I opt for the ‘Tamarind Specials.’ Was it better? We shall see 🙂
The ‘drinks’ page of the menu listed juices and aerated drinks under cold beverages. I ordered a lime soda and only later realized that there was a Tamarind Sherbet listed somewhere at the end of the menu mixed in with the food selection.’ I’d have much rather preferred the Sherbet if it was placed with the others. Oh well.
Coming to the food:
Chicken Malai Kebab – I’d always select malai kebabs over the usual chicken tikka variety. However, these needed to be a lot more tender and creamier. It didn’t have the soft, melt in your mouth texture that’s typical of a malai kebab, but I could taste the smokiness coming through, which was a good thing.
Stuffed Chicken Legs – Listed under ‘Tamarind Specials’ this dish comprised of chicken stuffed with spiced and crushed paneer with cashew nuts. I’ve never come across such a dish before. The paneer made the chicken chewier than usual, though. Since it was coated in the tamarind gravy, it had an interesting flavour.
Tamarind Coated Chicken – The waiter warned me it would be spicy. He did. But I can handle quite a lot of spice and ordered it anyway. Mamma Mia! The eyes watered, the ears turned red and the tongue was on fire. I couldn’t finish more than a couple of bites – more so because I could scrape off spoonfuls of masala from the surface of the chicken slices. Order it if you dare!
Butter Chicken and Naan – I wouldn’t think highly of a restaurant if it couldn’t deliver the quintessential butter chicken. Not surprisingly, they did. The butter chicken was as wonderful as ever with soft chunks of meat and a rich tomato-cashew gravy. The naan was great as well – not too doughy and not too flaky either!
Oreo Mousse Cheesecake – If you like your desserts sinfully rich, order the oreo mousse cheesecake. Light in texture, the mousse is dark and loaded with chocolate. The layer of cheese on the top helped in adding some balance and freshness
Banofee Pie – Best dish of the night! This irresistible pie stood on a base of crumbled biscuits and had a generous dose of condensed milk and cream on top, garnished with chocolate. It was perfectly sweet with a grainy-smooth texture.
The Verdict – While the ambiance is lovely, the food has definite scope for improvement in terms of taste and presentation. Definitely try their desserts and browse through the marvelous pictures of their hotel rooms online.
So there’s been an OD of food posts lately – I hope you enjoy reading them and are visiting some of these places!
Also, subscribers, you’re in for a treat in my next post!! Stay tuned!