If there's one place in Panjim where you will never be disappointed with the food, I can safely say it is Mum's Kitchen. Because it is one place you can go to once, twice, thrice and then just make a habit of it because no matter what you order, you will not be let down. Chef Suzette Martin's labour of love, the philosophy of Mum's Kitchen a simple one: to revive and preserve authentic Goan cuisine, and it is a philosophy they take very seriously.
In a time where the Goan food scene is undergoing tremendous transformation and you can never really be sure what is an authentic Goan preparation, this is one place where you will not find your fish curry diluted, or your Xacuti is under-spiced. Located in a bungalow converted into a restaurant, Mum's Kitchen feels as homely as the name sounds. Warmly lit with a cosy setting for about 10 tables, it is an intimate way to experience Goan cuisine. One look at the menu, replete with traditional names like Hooman (coconut curry), Kodi (fish curry), and specific preparations synonymous with Goa like the Caldeen, Peri Peri and Xacuti, will convince you that this a carefully picked collection of the very best a Goan kitchen can offer. Also available is a good range of alcoholic beverages and Indian and Foreign wines.
Although, I'm a regular and have my version of 'the usual' pretty much nailed, this time around, I decided to be a little adventurous and steer away from the usual fish-curry-and-rice routine. It was the interesting starters in the menu that caught my eye, and I decided to go with an order of Fish Fofos and Prawn Rissois each. While the Fish Fofos were finely minced fish meat, delicately spiced, crumb fried to a crisp, and just what I had expected, the Rissois completely blew my mind. Tiny half-moon shaped, these bite-lets were like creamy, prawn-filled pastry packets that would simply melt in the mouth, and I had to resist ordering a second plate to have all by myself. Perfectly complemented with some chilled beer, these starters were a refreshing change from the run of the mill seafood that is doled out around Goa.
In my quest to expand my taste for Goan cuisine I picked the traditional Egg Curry along with a portion of boiled rice – just the way it is had in a Goan home. Plump kernels of unpolished rice; somehow just feel right when had with rich coconut curry. I was pleasantly surprised, because while I was expecting the customary hardboiled egg dunked in gravy, I was served a roughly scrambled egg in the most flavourful coconut gravy, rich with Goan spices. Some, like me may find it a little too spicy. As if I hadn’t satiated myself enough, I didn’t stop there. Next up was the Caramel Pudding, a light fluffy serving of caramel custard that was overpoweringly sweet for me. If you have a sweet tooth, by all means go for it. Those who prefer their desserts moderately sweet, like I do, I would say don’t ruin the lingering Goan flavours with this sweet assault.
Yet again, Mum’s Kitchen had surprised and delighted me, living up to its name. Its homely ambience and family feel has once again scored a full 10 on my scorecard. When it comes to authentic food, served with mother’s love, it really doesn't get more Goan than this! Mum’s the word, for sure.
Must-have: Goan Fish Curry and Boiled Rice
Average meal for two: Rs 1,200