Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Seafood indulgence at this hidden gem, Edward's Yard, Goa Velha

Panaji has restaurants a plenty, but Edward’s Yard located a few kilometres away from Panaji, off the Panaji-Margao highway in Goa Velha is a hidden gem worth visiting. Situated on acres of ancestral agricultural property, this place gives an illusion of a farm and a restaurant located amidst nature. Swaying palm trees, chirping birds, hens and turkeys running around, rabbits lazying around and the fish doing a merry dance in their aquarium is what brings the place alive. They have a twenty seven year old poultry behind the restaurant.
As you enter you notice the artistic decor with a Goan touch at the entrance. A wooden canoe and bullock cart carrier is placed on one side of the entrance while a set of swings are placed on the other. There is ample parking space for way more vehicles than the number of people the restaurant can accommodate. The entrance again is done up to give an ancestral Goan house feel – thatched roof and tiny windows gives this makeshift wooden structure the edge.
When you enter the mini farm, you get the first view of the restaurant. It’s an open air restaurant with three seating areas and can accommodate up to 100 people. What started as a fifty seater in 2014 is now extended to a hundred seater to accommodate the increasing clientele. The main restaurant area, which is also the largest is right across the little bar counter and open kitchen, the second one is right in the farm constructed on a raised platform which they call the stage area and the third is a set of cottages which can accommodate 6-10 people – a place ideal for family get-togethers and small parties with friends.
“We realised that if you have a good restaurant in the vicinity, you never end up going there. The travel part of it is a little important now days. People want to drive for about ten-fifteen minutes before reaching their destination, because that also is a part of the dining experience,” says Mayur Dhond, founder and owner. Edwards Yard is a place for someone seeking solace away from the hustle bustle of the city. “We don’t have live music performances or events because people suggested we don’t have any. When asked why, they said if we want noise, we have other restaurants to go to. They come here because it’s so calm and quiet,” he adds.
Mayur, an alumnus of Manipal University, who has also had a stint working as a chef in the US has designed the menu himself keeping the local palate in mind. “The menu is kept very simple. We have about eighty dishes in total, out of which about fifty will be regular classic, about thirty will be something different, which we keep trying and adding,” says Mayur. Some of their specialities are Prawn Dynamo (inspired from Prawn Dynamite served at a chain of Middle-Eastern restaurants, but created in a way to suit the local palate), sizzling jalebi (an adaptation of sizzling brownie) and crumbfried chicken).

We were served the specials from the Edward Yard’s open kitchen. The kitchen is of special mention here. “The kitchen doors are always open. Anyone can come and check out what’s cooking,” says Mayur. By the time our food was served, we sipped on our cocktail – beer cocktail. It’s a new addition to their menu. The cocktail is mojito with a twist of the overturned King’s Beer. The food is of prime importance at Edward’s Yard, while the bar just stocks regulars and a few cocktails and mocktails.
Beer Cocktail
The highlight of Edward’s Yard is that all the seafood is fresh. They source just a little each day and “If someone asks for say twenty portions of Kingfish, we won’t have it, because we just get fifteen so that we can serve fresh food every day. We believe that’s its better than serving people stale food,” says Mayur. Secondly, most of their things are done in house, which means everything is fresh and healthy with no preservative or additional flavouring. And finally, they don’t use ajinamoto in their food. The food is customised according to the guests’ preferences as well.

The food when arrived made for a satisfying sight. The Prawn Dynamo which I was eager to try was an Indo-Chinese inspired food made by sautéing pan fried prawns in butter, mayo, ketchup, chilly flakes and garlic. Very colourful and flavoursome, I loved it. Next was Masala Rava Fried Mussels which were fresh and crispy and spiced to the right proportion. The thin fillets of Crumb Fried Chicken were well marinated with Indian spices and fried with make a crispy crust and juicy fillet. The overall taste and presentation of the food were excellent.
Prawn Dynamo
Crumb Fried Chicken
Masala Rawa Fried Mussels
Chicken Burnt Garlic Fried Rice
We had a Chicken Burnt Garlic Fried Rice before we moved to our dessert. I was super excited to try the Sizzling Jalebi since I love the Sizzling Brownie otherwise. So what we got was similar to the Sizzling Brownie, where the freshly made jalebis replaced the brownie. Served on a sizzler plate, the jalebi topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was placed before us. Moments later, a jar of piping hot chocolate sauce (freshly made by melting cooking chocolate) was poured over it to complete the wonderful dessert which we devoured within minutes.
Sizzling Jalebi
Overall, the food at Edward’s Yard is as par excellence, even though it’s a relatively new place run by a 27-year-old with his team. The motto of this place is simplicity – the furniture includes plastic chairs and tables, nothing fancy. But the food and the ambiance is what would draw you to Edward’s Yard time and again. The menu, though varied, has a mix of both – regulars and specials, so if you wish to not try anything new, you can still opt for something off the Tandoori or Sea food menu. What I loved was the ambiance – a restaurant situated right in the middle of the farm, with a wonderful view on all four sides! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Zomato for more food stories!

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Edward's Yard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 
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