I’ve mentioned at the start of the year that I’m on a mission to try out as many restaurants in Goa as humanly possible, given the amount of shuttling I do between Goa and other cities. And while I blogged about some new cuisines that have made it to Goa – Bohra, Peruvian and even North-East Indian, nothing satisfies my soul more than good ol’ Goan food. I was happy to have discovered Peep Kitchen early this month – and after lunching there one afternoon, I’ve made a mental note to take friends and family travelling to Goa and looking for Goan food, to Peep Kitchen. You’ll see why when you read on.
PEEP KITCHEN FOR GOAN FOOD IN CARANZALEM
Gaurish and Amey, two brothers who’d been relishing their mother’s delicious traditional recipes all their lives, decided to take the next step and share the good food with the world. After all, being a great cook runs in the family, and they are both chefs by profession, having worked culinary magic in luxury resorts in India. Soon, Peep Kitchen in Goa was born – and over the last decade, it has garnered a massive fan following. The brothers run the restaurant with immense passion, with Gaurish taking the lead in the kitchen and Amey managing operations. “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” says Amey, jokingly.
Peep Kitchen is a curious name for a seafood restaurant and I couldn’t help but ask about its origin. Apparently, PEEP is an acronym for ‘Place for Everything and Everything in its Place.’ I wonder if the name has been inspired by their mother, too! It does sound like something one’s mother would say when she has to clean up after a disorganized offspring, don’t you think?
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The A/c section of Peep Kitchen in Goa is spacious and very comfortable. Gentle music plays in the background, and it is just about audible above the sounds of chit-chatting guests and the cling-clanging of cutlery. Funnily enough, in spite of the number of people visiting, the restaurant maintains a calm atmosphere.
This informal restaurant sees people lining up on any given day of the week, be it for lunch or for dinner. And while the early-birds leisurely take another sip of their cocktails, Amey mingles among the waiting patrons and jots down their orders, efficiently having their meals ready once they grab a table. Because the last thing you want after waiting half an hour for a table is to wait another 20 excruciating minutes for your food to arrive.
The menu is extensive, offering every kind of fish needed to lure a Goan in. You’ll find local favourites – Kalvan (Oysters), Kurlyo (crabs, prepared in a variety of ways including recheado masala-fried and in butter garlic sauce), tisreo (shellfish) and shenaneo (mussels) as well as Mankeo (squids), Sungta (prawns), Chonak (great sea bass) Modso (lemon fish) and even Mori (shark), prepared the way you like.
Xacuti, tandoori chicken dishes, mutton preparations and Indian favourites like butter chicken and palak paneer feature on the menu alongside Indo-Chinese items and Continental fare much to my surprise. If you’re a vegetarian, you may find less relevant food options since the restaurant doesn’t particularly cater to vegetarians.
I noticed that a fish thali was present on almost every table at Peep Kitchen. Priced reasonably at Rs. 150 and rumoured to be one of Goa’s best fish thalis, it has a big helping of prawn hooman, teesrio (shells cooked with coconut), kismoor (dry prawns), sol kadi, vegetables, fish pickle, rice, curry and fried fish. I decided to try it another day and ordered three appetizers instead. Some irresistible rava fried mussels, prawn masala – with firm, juicy prawns simmered in a tantalizing red masala, and lastly, batter fried calamari – something that you can pop till you drop! The light, crispy batter made it a delight to eat and the portion was very generous for 2 people.
For mains, we went straight for Goan seafood. On Amey’s recommendation, we ordered the Chonak (great sea bass) Biryani – and were taken aback when we saw such a large dish placed on our table – again, way too much for the two of us. We were later told they are known for their large helpings! Slabs of chonak, deliciously crispy on the outside and tender within, were mixed in with fragrant, long grain rice. I’d have liked it to have been a tad less dry, perhaps with some wet-masala mixed in, but a spoonful of raita did the job.
I thought the dessert section was rather limited. The Sera Durra pudding I ordered was quite dense, unlike the lighter, creamier ones I’ve tried elsewhere.
Overall, Peep Kitchen near Panjim is a value for money restaurant that didn’t disappoint. It’s a great place to visit when you’re ravenous and are looking to relish tasty, affordable food in comfort. Or when you have guests in town and want to catch up over a meal in a slightly more upscale joint that has the local touch.
Price for 2 – Rs. 800-1000 without alcohol
If you’re travelling to Goa and looking to take back some souvenirs, I’ve written a post on where you can shop for gifts in Goa. And for a fabulous cultural experience, do check out Fado Nights at Cidade de Goa!