The taste of down under along the cliff-top

March 31, 2016

This post is a part of the What’s On My Plate series

Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva

A bowl of the Spiced Chicken with Chipotle Marinade, takes in the view at Antares



Sometimes, I procrastinate...for no reason at all; regrettably, is the case in question. Having heard mixed reviews from various people, I headed out to Ozran last Sunday, to finally visit Antares, and my experience was…well, something to read about. If I let too much out of the bag right at the start, then there isn’t much worth reading left, is there?


Let’s get straight into it then. Ozran, or ‘Little’ Vagator, is a place I love making a trip to, as it is a place full of mystery and wonder, where somehow, I always wind up having a great time. In fact, I loved Thalassa when it first flung its doors open; 10-15 tables (maybe), set up across a sprawling deck, with its white bits and bobs of fabric and walls soaking in every last ray of the setting sun, before the man-made lighting, just as soft, took over. But then came the inevitable expansion, the cramming in of about 30 tables in a space that elegantly seated 10; the loud segment of clientele that is brand ‘domestic tourism’ decided that they should have ‘emotional equity’ in the place that now represents the wish-list of every local traveller to Goa. While I absolutely adore the matron of the house, Mariketty Grana, going back to Thalassa until they start having a quote of reservation for the locals is an absolute no for me.


This is where, for me, Antares has, so far, nailed the brief. With the exact same view as the aforementioned restaurant, there is no crowding. There is plenty of space to move. Granted, they are in their first season and as things change, they may succumb to the lure of commercialisation too. But for now, it’s a great place to lounge about, one where you can stretch your legs and stroll about their many decks, and while-away an entire day in the process, least realising how much time has been lost.



Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva

The uber-luscious Mango Kulfi, served with Coconut, Salted Oat, Ginger Crumb,Coconut and Dried Mango



Coming down to the service, my experience tells me that it is prompt and attentive. They can, at times, get a tad mixed up on what goes into the order, but with hasty clarification, nothing too remiss.


Which brings us to the most important bit: the food, which is fantastic. The brunch menu (served on Sundays between 12-5 pm, is an absolute steal, given that it's all you can eat, with the libations thrown in, to boot. I started of by picking up a paper cup that plays host to two golf-ball-sized Cheese Croquettes (which may well have been my ‘snacky’ pick of the day), and waltzing about the decks (or so it seemed in my head). These little morsels are light and pack every bit of crunch that you would expect from a croquette (given its French meaning), and yet retain a melt-in your mouth cheesiness that is divine.


My next selection on the list brings me to my firm belief that locally, there is an inherent need to work with slightly more prominent flavours. The Spiced Chicken with Chipotle Marinade, Anchovy Cream and Carrot is a perfect example of this, and I believe that it will be a firm favourite, as it lends itself a hint of the piquant from the marinade while retaining a mild lingering sweetness from the pomegranate that it is garnished with.



Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva

The cracking Captain Espresso; a cocktail made with freshly-ground coffee, Kahlua and rum



Now I’ve always been a hard-core ‘meatarian’, so for me, not much else can substitute meat; it just does not happen. However, mushroom is something that I adore, and will allow to have a place of significance on my gastronomic spectrum. That being the case, please allow me to wax lyrical about Mushroom Rillettes served with Papadum. The rillettes are a tad tangy, and to be honest, I wonder whether they wouldn’t tie in better with pita, given that they have a slightly Mediterranean aspect about them.


From the dessert pickings, I went with one that isn’t on the brunch menu, but is a MUST order, the Mango Kulfi, served with Coconut, Salted Oat and Ginger Crumb, and Coconut and Dried Mango... It is to die for. Can you even begin to conceivably picture that array of textures, flavours and contrasting concepts all vying for a spot on your palate, all at once? It is unbelievable.


As an afterthought, I’d like to add that I always wondered what the fuss was, about Sarah Todd. There seemed to be no end to the banter surrounding her, which made me wonder whether the hype surrounding the restaurant was about her, or the restaurant itself. Through first-hand experience I can say this much, she is absolutely lovely, and as far as the buzz goes, let’s lay things to rest at this point. Antares is Sarah Todd, just as much as Sarah Todd is Antares. They are synonymous with each other, and the Aussie girl from Queensland is not afraid to get down in the dirt and learn how the local cuisine works and how to weave it into her own scheme of things.


There is much more to speak of, of the food at Antares, but these things are best experienced first-hand. Hence, my eager recommendation is to try it for yourself. Go preferably on a Sunday, when you can laze the day away, and lounge about eating cheese croquettes and taking in a cocktail or two.



Fernando's Findings

Antares may have had mixed reviews, but none from me. It has a stunning view of the Vagator coastline, and great food to boot.

The Sunday Brunch Menu is to die for, and an absolute steal.

The average cost per head, for the Sunday Brunch is ₹1,500 (at the time of publishing this review).



How to get there

The address

Small Vagator, Ozran Beach, Vagator, Goa 403509

The directions




Food is a huge part of any culture and for me, chancing upon a good meal is synonymous with having a great day. The What’s On My Plate series of posts is where I discuss food, great places to eat, and anything gastronomically moving. This could be anything from a great place to eat, to an obscure kind of food, to an origin story. After all, there is no love like the love of eating.


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© 2015 by Fernando Monte da Silva