In the last few years the food scene in Goa has changed exponentially. We are so happy about it. Though there are ones who love the suzegaad culture and are happy with authentic Goan food, people now don’t hesitate to experiment with the plethora of cuisines that are readily available in every nook and corner.
We love Goan food, but to expect great South-East Asian and Japanese cuisine in a fine dine set up was exciting. Tucked away in a secluded spot off the Aguada-Siolim road is Koi, a stunning fine dining restaurant that gave us a glimpse of the kind of exclusive dining experiences that are taking Goa by storm. A menu that opens a spectrum of flavours rooted along the ancient silk route, Koi is definitely a restaurant to dine at when you want to be transported to a zen place away from buzzing Goa.
The decor is beautifully designed to match the vibrant food and the theme of the restaurant, as the name suggests is Koi, the chinese fish. As per Chinese tradition, it’s supposed to bring prosperity and good luck.
The menu at Koi is well curated; it had dishes that are carefully selected to give guests an exclusive variety of flavours along the asian silk route. Shefali Gandhi, the co-owner of the restaurant, had a lovely evening planned for us. The dishes they handpicked were not only impressive, but were different from one another in both flavor and texture. They had me with the Sushi; the variety in flavours blew our minds. What got us interested was the manner in which the menu was designed so that it’s convenient for the guests to order instead of the usual Soup, Appetiser, Main Course and Dessert. At Koi, they had Soups & Bowls, Small Plates; so that one can order a variety of food, Wok & Stir Fry, Large Plates and Curry Bar; for ones who love a side of rice, the Seafood Market; perfect for all seafood lovers, and Rice & Noodles.
We started off with Tuna Sashimi, Rainbow Sushi and Mushroom Trio Dumplings. The Tuna was fresh and was served on a bed of julienned vegetables with wasabi, pickled ginger and light soy. The dumplings were pretty nice, the wrap was not as refined as expected, but what won our hearts was the Rainbow Sushi. The combo of Tuna, Red Snapper, Salmon, Shrimp and Avocado served with spicy mayo and wasabi was simply irresistible. The platter was wiped clean in no time!
The next dish was pretty unusual. When Aziz Lalani, the co-owner, strongly recommended the Smoked Chilli Chicken, we had already painted a picture of what the dish would look like. Our jaws dropped when this speciality was served to us. Crispy crunchy chunks of chicken served on smokey roasted red chillies were truly a treat to our eyes and boy it got us salivating. We expected the chicken chunks to be super spicy but it had a lovely aroma of the smoked chillies as though it had absorbed all the smokey goodness of the roasted chillies while being tossed in it. We absolutely loved this creation. Two thumbs up.
We also loved the assortment of condiments that were placed at every table, each unique in flavour and color, vibrant, and adding to the dining experience. We were then served Koi Khowsuey, their interpretation of the Burmese Khowsuey. They brought huge a tray with bowls of the flavourful coconut broth with condiments. It had rice noodles, fried garlic and onion slices, peanuts, crunchy noodles, coriander, chillies, spring onions and chilli flakes among other crisps. It was wholesome, rich and delicious.
The Crispy Duck Rolls are something you’d wanna gorge on when you’re craving Peking Duck. It reminded us of the deep fried Duck Rolls we’ve had at Hakkasan; infact, we like this better. We also had some spicy and juicy Pork Ribs that were cooked to perfection.
The dishes on our tasting menu seemed never ending. Next up was something that was off the menu; only the regulars at Koi know that this dish is served at the restaurant. Asian Style Seared Duck Foie Gras. What a delight! Shefali knew our palates were craving for a fusion like this and she saved the best for last before the mains arrived. It’s a must have if you enjoy a good quality Duck Foie Gras.
For mains, we chose a mix of Malaysian and Thai flavours. Our favourite Prawn Thai Green Curry with Steamed Rice and the spicy Redang Daging (yay for the beef). It was perfect. We were very impressed with our meal at Koi. We absolutely had no complaints.
We were expecting our dessert when suddenly Shefali came to our table with a live crepe station! It was time for something sweet. To our surprise we were informed that she would be making it for us, right in front of our eyes. She said she was serving us Boozy Crepe Suzette with in-house coconut ice-cream. It was a lovely personal touch added to the evening. So apt for a romantic dinner where the couple is served dessert made exclusively for them; and the whole theatre that a flambé adds to the equation is something that most certainly impresses. We couldn’t wait to dig in and when we did, we enjoyed every bit of it.
Spending time with the owners of Koi gave us a clear idea on how they want to transform the culinary experience in Goa in their own unique way. The seating area outside looks beautiful in the evening. They’ve also got a theatre style Teppanyaki station that looked absolutely stunning. We could only imagine a full table with the Chef tossing food around. The ambience and decor are vibrant and comfy. The bar looked inviting, ready for people who want to have a great time. We highly recommend Koi to all those who take food very seriously and to those who are looking for some amazing food near in the Calangute area.