Shack attack: Mumbai’s Lady Baga is familiar yet fun
The unpretentious homestyle food, ’80s pop music and colourful interiors make you feel like you really are in Goa. That, and the prices, work in its favour.mumbai Updated: Mar 30, 2018 22:05 IST
- RATING: 3.5 / 5
- WHERE: Oasis Complex, Kamala Mills, Gate 4, Lower Parel
- WHEN: Noon to midnight
- COST: Rs 2,500 for two with one drink each
- CALL: 4973-1012
Goa’s shacks are no gastronomic repositories. They are places to unwind and have fun; the food is incidental. A few dishes might be very good, most will be acceptable, and it’s rare to find something unpalatable.
AD Singh’s Lady Baga, is an ersatz beach shack with more than a touch of hyperbole. Recreating a beach-like atmosphere in a concrete jungle is ludicrous and the restaurant lays the clichés on thick. To get to the entrance you make your way through a faux sandy beach with surfboards and palms. Inside it’s a crazy mix of brightly coloured walls – one covered in psychedelic swirls, another featuring fairy lights and the lyrics from The Beatles’ ‘Yellow submarine’. A video projection of a handsome white couple gambolling on a beach plays on another wall. All the servers wear Hawaiian shirts.
In chef Aloo (Aloysius Dsilva, previously of Villa Vandre), Singh has found an able ally. The food is unpretentious and homestyle; almost exactly what you’d expect at a mom-and-pop restaurant in Panaji.
We begin with light, crisp Bombay duck bhajiyas served with fiercely pungent green chutney. They’re very tasty but I suspect we’re eating more air and batter than fish per bite. While the masala on the squid recheado is adequately pungent, the squid is a touch overcooked and hasn’t quite absorbed the masala.
Aloo has put his signature on the menu with modern Indian-style Goan dishes. The fish tacos topped with pico de gallo and spicy mayo are a bit messy, but the crispy, crunchy Mexican-Goan crossover works nicely.
The starters are all right, but the mains are where the good stuff lies. The pork vindaloo is tangy and spicy, but it’s not unpleasantly pungent like many places make it. The accompanying soft, fluffy poies do a good job mopping up the gravy.
Accompanied by kismur, fried mandli, tendli pickle and (thankfully) red rice, the prawn curry is a one-dish meal. The gravy is velvety smooth and though they use large prawns instead of the more flavourful small ones, it’s still very homely.
Rarely served at old-school Goan restaurants in Mumbai, serradura has become a staple on new-generation Goan restaurant menus. At Lady Baga it’s exceptionally light and fluffy, making it almost soufflé-like, while the biscuit powder adds a contrasting roughness.
Lady Baga works because it’s modestly priced, the food is tasty and familiar, and the interiors are fun. Plus the DJ plays mostly ’80s pop, which would make any Goan feel at home.
HT reviews anonymously and pays for all meals.