A global inspired Goan dining experience is how I’d define my visit to this new gastro pub in town. Embers, located in Tonca, seems like a no-frills-attached place from the outside, but it converts into a hip party spot for the night, with some of the coolest DJs and live gigs. They even have a ladies night on Wednesdays and a great party going on Fridays. Within just a couple of months of opening doors, they have created the buzz for all the right reasons. While their parties seem interesting, their food is equally enticing. That’s how I found my way to Embers on a warm summer afternoon. The interiors are dark, but trendy and the colour play attracts.
What stands out as you enter is the wooden interiors and the Kopak bar that churns out some unique cocktails. They do have a couple of interesting cocktails, some of them are fresh-fruit based ones! We specifically liked the Watermelon Cosmo @ Rs 350 and Frozen Mango Margarita @ Rs 450. I’m sure both of these will be every girls favourite – one, for its fruity flavour, two – because they’re extremely cute and colourful! The Watermelon Cosmo – a perfect blend of watermelon, orange liqueur, cranberry and vodka – is very refreshing and perfect for the summers. The mushy Mango Margarita with mango pulp is every mango lover’s delight! Their bar also serves some great craft beer. Oh, just to mention, they serve Simba and The White Owl too, yayyh!
Embers – a pub, lounge or bistro, whatever you may like to call it, is also open for lunch from 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm and serves a varied non-vegetarian menu. Well, the vegetarian food is limited, but the meaty treats are something you must look forward to. Having said that, the vegetarians can enjoy their veg cutlets, stuffed mushrooms or watermelon salad. If you prefer seafood, you could settle in for crab or fish cakes, golden shrimps or mussels caldeen for light nibbles. They even serve chicken cafreal and chicken liver – some of the local favourites.
I love how their menu is globally inspired and locally enhanced by ingredients that are sourced locally. We started with the Masala Squids Stuffed With Prawns @ Rs 400. It’s exactly what the name says – squids stuffed with prawns and cooked in true home style recheado masala – the right amount of spicy. The Clam chilly Fry With Garlic Bread Toast @ Rs 350 is every bit of perfection. The clams sautéed into a truly Goan chilly fry and served with some delicious toasted garlic bread. The portion sizes are not so large, and could serve two people.
For the mains, you could choose from basic comfort food like sausage pulao or Goan prawn curry, or opt for a steak if you prefer. Some of their mains have an infusion of wine or whisky and great for those looking for some adventurous options. We decided to try their Fillet Mignon in Red Wine Reduction @ Rs 600 – a beef steak served medium rare with red wine sauce, and a side of sautéed veggies. The meat is succulent and full of flavour. I couldn’t get enough of the baby potato too. The Bar B Que Pork Spare Ribs @ Rs 500 served with their home made BBQ sauce are too good to resist.
While you don’t expect good dessert at a gastro pub, we were definitely in for a surprise. They had a very local dessert menu which even had serradura, bebinca and caramel pudding! I ended my meal with their house made Caramel Pudding @ Rs 200 which was delightful! The place has a chilled out vibe to it and perfect for a night out with friends or even a work day meal. They have introduced a special menu for working people! The staff is warm and friendly and makes sure you have a great experience while at Embers. Definitely a place to visit in Panaji.
Text: Flexcia D'souza