There are indeed many hidden gems bustling across the bustling Calangute road. Less than a month old, Tio Tilly's, owned by Adit and Tylden (yes, Tilly) is the place you must check out if you’re around that side. Though we dread the area around Candolim-Calangute-Baga, its restaurants like these that make the bumpy drive worth it.
So on a sunny Sunday afternoon (Thank God, monsoons are almost over), I headed to Tio Tillys along with a friend to check out what this restaurant has in store for me. I loved the little yellow and blue restaurant with arty décor and crafted wooden furniture that adds such a rustic vibe to it. You enter into a vibrant little cottage that is adorned by bird cages. As you enter, the bar on your right is done in wooden panels and incandescent lighting.
The furnishing is so well done – large unevenly cut wooden panels converted into tables of different sizes, cushioned caned chairs and handcrafted chandeliers. The paintings, the Game of Thrones corner and brick wall adds to the arty vibe to Tio Tilly's. Though it’s less than ten meters away from the main road, it has its own quaint setting, since it’s located inside Resort Tio which again features lush greenery, a swimming pool and spacious rooms.
The restaurant is new, and they are really doing well. Though the service needs to be worked upon, which I am told they are working on, if you just decide to focus on the food, you will be impressed at the quality and quantity of the food they offer you for the price you pay. The fish is sourced fresh (I happened to meet the seafood supplier btw. It was fun) and the other ingredients are procured locally. All the dips and sauces are made in house as well.
The menu is crafted by the owners themselves, who chose to become restaurateurs after spending several years in investment banking in the metro cities and are sure living their dream. As a result of which, they are passionate about what they do. A lot of thought has gone into curating the menu and creating the place. They have worked on the place from scratch, having spent several months on it.
The food menu is crafted so as to cater to both – locals and tourists. Since it’s a location dominated by the tourist crowd seeking seafood, they have a lot of seafood items on the menu. The menu doesn’t really focus on any particular cuisine, but includes a bit of much loved dishes from different cuisines, some of which has the owners twist to it as well. For instance, they make lovely momo platters and also massive cheesy burgers.
They are still working on their drinks and dessert menu. Unfortunately, the mixologist was on leave on the day I visited and I missed out on trying any of their cocktails. However, they had Bira in stock, so well, that kinda made up for it. I wish they had desserts though!
We started our late lunch with a drool worthy momo platter – which I must say is a must try @ Rs 229. I however, tried both – chicken and prawn (though there were veg too) and loved every bit of the juicy momos. They have three variants – steamed, fried and steamed momos smeared with hot garlic sauce. The sauce was yumm! You have an option of taking the sauce separately as well, but the sauce adds amazing flavour to the momos.
|Chicken steamed momos|
They have the butter basic prawns @ Rs 249, which is a delight for those who love their prawns. These are fresh prawns deveined and sautéed in butter. They are as raw as they can get – flavourful, just tossed in a little bit of butter at the right temperature and served with some salad.
|Butter basic prawns|
You can also opt for the vermicelli crusted prawn in chilli mayo @ Rs 299. It’s a crunchy addition to the menu – prawns crusted with vermicelli and served with a chilli mayo dip. It’s a slight variation of the golden fried prawns by giving dragon prawns a vermicelli coat that adds to the look and crunch. One can pick from among the several dips like chilli mayo, mustard mayo, mint mayo, thousand island and peri peri to go with your starters.
|Vermicelli crusted prawns|
|BBQ chicken twist pizza|
Then we moved on to the pizza. They have a bunch of thin crust pizzas with different toppings on offer. You can pick from the BBQ chicken pizza or the meaty affair that includes chicken salami, chicken sausages and chicken ham). For the ones who want something simpler, a thin crust margherita pizza or a veggie pizza. We opted for the BBQ chicken twist pizza @ Rs 379 (12 inch), which is made fresh by the experts in the kitchen.
They have a variety of burgers in fish and chicken as well. They have some basic patties – grilled and fried, with a choice of sauce. The burgers are served with a choice of two sauces and fries. We had a fillet-o-fish burger @ Rs 249 and a crispy chicken burger @ Rs 249 each, both of which were served with fries, salads and sauces. However, they toast their buns and present it well on a wooden platter.
|Crispy chicken burger|
The prawn shumai by far was my favourite part of the meal. @ Rs 189, they are the most delicious steamed dish I’ve eaten. If you’re a momo lover, you’ll love the subtle flavours in this steamed open dumpling of Japanese origin. You can ask for it in the chicken variant as well, but I’d really recommend the prawn. I am told their grilled fish and aromatic, flavourful chicken basil pot rice is also worth a shot, however, I was too full to try either.
I absolutely loved the place in its simplicity and great food served at affordable prices. Please note that the servings in the photos you see are smaller compared to the ones originally served, because I wanted to try many items and we were just two of us. Though the place is new, I am impressed by their food and décor. Hope you like the place as much as I do. Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below or by writing to me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
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