I’d heard my fellow traveller recommendations and read in my Lonely Planet guide about this venue between Ashwem and Morjim beaches, which is known as one of Goa’s best restaurants. I had to check it out.
I popped in for a cup of tea one morning and there were only a handful of people there. However, when I returned for a spot of late Sunday lunch, the place was packed, many tables were reserved and there was a queue for the next to be available. It seems this is the place to be for a Sunday gathering. The ambiance was informal and the restaurant is open air, yet thankfully shaded from the heat of the Goa sun.
The waiting staff were stretched looking after the many customers, and often had to be flagged down as they passed. Though to be fair, it wasn’t a straightforward affair with diners, including me, joining our large table and ordering at different times – an example of how relaxed this restaurant really is.
The menu looked tempting – appetisers that clearly had a lot of thought put into their creation; an array of burgers, steaks, fish and seafood mains; and desserts including a chocolate thali of 8 cocoa-themed sweets. For non-meat eaters, vegetarian options are clearly marked on the menu.
To start, I opted for the chilled green pea and spring onion cappuccino with mint. In accordance with the description, it arrived in a mug on a saucer and certainly looked appealing – a foamy concoction topped with a sprinkling of paprika. It didn’t disappoint: tasting creamy, cool and fresh, with a surprising chilli kick to the back of the throat.
As a main course, I chose the fillet of fish with home-made mustard and sweet wine, and roasted Provençal vegetables. The fish, which I found out was white snapper, had a delicate flavour, complemented by the creamy yellow sweet mustard sauce.
I was expecting more of a mustard bite, but as it was, it allowed room for the flavour of the fish to shine. The vegetables were succulent: comprising aubergines, courgettes, shallots, garlic, red peppers and tomato, their deep, caramelised taste was vibrant, yet didn’t overpower the lightness of the snapper. A well-sized portion, this was definitely a winner.
In the name of research I felt obliged to sample one of La Plage’s famed desserts. I opted for pannacotta with fresh vanilla and mango coulis. It arrived without the mango (shame, as I love this fruit), but instead with a sparky strawberry coulis on the side. And it was very tasty.
With a lovely smooth texture, the warm vanilla flavour bedded in beautifully when joined by the slight sharpness of the strawberry – a delightful pairing. I learned that this dessert was created to accommodate vegetarians by replacing the animal gelatine, often used when making pannacotta, with a type of seaweed. Everyone else’s desserts also looked delicious; I sampled a taste of the caramel ice cream which was rich and buttery – yum.
Overall this was a very enjoyable experience; the shortcomings of the service at this very busy time compensated by the sheer quality and consideration of the food.
Priced at the equivalent of around £13 for the three course meal, it is several times the usual cost of a meal in this part of India, but I would definitely recommend La Plage to anyone visiting this part of Goa. While the food in North Goa is generally very good, this is a rare opportunity to sample high quality European cuisine in a relaxed beachfront environment.
Next up, check out my review of the wonderful nearby town of Arambol.