This post is a part of the What’s On My Plate series
Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva
The entrance to the 'magical' establishment
A couple of weeks ago, a picture of the board of the venue in question was posted on Twitter, by a friend who was just as intrigued by the name as I was. The tagline of the place is even better, ‘Hog Worth: where you hog worth your money’. Now, a place called ‘Hog Worth’ is enticing enough to get anyone’s attention, but when the logo adds to the place with the official Hogwarts logo from Harry Potter being edited to incorporate food elements, things get even more interesting.
At first thought, one would think that after going to such lengths of imaginative brainstorming, one key factor that could have been accounted for would be to ensure that the menu and décor would be Harry Potter-themed, which it isn’t. However, that is one of the very few lows about the place for me, and has immense scope and potential for improvement. Another is their turnaround time, which can take a while, but let’s put that down to kinks in a teething phase. If it persists, then there is a more serious concern to address.
Now when it comes to the positives, there are many, in my opinion. First off (and this is something that is given serious consideration in India, when grading a restaurant), the price point, which is immensely satisfactory. ‘Hog Worth’ lives up to its professed status of ‘where you hog worth your money’. Mains are rather well-priced, and the portions certainly are generous. The place is highly reminiscent of the little ‘joints’ about town. The old ‘Elite Flavours’ in São Tomé, which has now changed avatars, or more popularly, George Bar along the church square. That is the kind of vibe it oozes, or for that matter, the food it serves: simplistic, wholesome, local. It is the food that we must now turn our attention to.
There is a ‘Chinese’ dish that has become a staple on the menus of little ‘Goan’ establishments, just as Gobi Manchurian (which has its roots in UP and not China) has made its way on to a vegetarian menu at weddings and events; the dish in question is the infamous ‘Crispy Chicken’. Every place that makes it has its own version, and ‘Hog Worth’ is no exception to this rule. Made with a sweet, sticky sauce, this dish is great as bar food, and is designed for male (or female) bonding over a couple of beers and banter on a warm afternoon. I couldn’t resist trying the beef chops either, given that all beef dishes are printed on a little card that will pop out of your server’s breast-pocket, like it is near-contraband material. Also, when the worlds of local restaurant and beef chops collide, how can you NOT order it?
Picture: Fernando Monte da Silva
The absolutely outstanding Bolo Sans Rival
There is one place that Hog Worth’s Potterhead links are displayed in all their glory; their signature dish, simply titled ‘Gryffindor Red’. The dish is primarily tomato based and as red as the name suggests. I prefer to think of it as a vindalho lacking spice, and while it may not be appealing to those that aren’t fond of bland food, I quite enjoyed it. But then came the moment to turn all my attention to the dish I really wanted to get my hands on, the beef stew. It was absolutely spot on, with tender bits of beef and potato, once more the epitome of local tavern food.
The dessert at ‘Hog Worth’ is certainly worth writing back home about. In fact, I’d make the trip to my local post office and buy envelopes and postage stamps just so that I could do so. The Serradura here is one of the few in the state that hasn’t been morphed (it takes all my resolve to refrain from using a stronger term) with the addition of gelatine. Long story short, they get the texture right, though it does miss the flavour of condensed milk that is vital to a Serradura‘s flavour. However, the Bolo Sans Rival is a work of genius. It almost entirely lacks a rival (A Ferradura on Rua de Ourem being an exception), from which the cake gets its name. This is why I wax lyrical about it. Most places (normally caterers that have it on a wedding buffet line-up) overcompensate with the cashew component in the dish, making the texture dry and brittle. The exterior is then coated with icing or castor sugar, instead of a light, thin layer of buttercream. However, ‘Hog Worth’ nails the brief on all fronts.
Is ‘Hog Worth’ worth a visit? Without a doubt. It will leave your wallets girth rivalling only that of your rapidly expanding waistline.
The name Hog Worth has clearly been inspired by Harry Potter. However, what the restaurant works with doesn't quite go with the concept.
The restaurant does some very nice simplistic Goan food, designed at being budget friendly and homely.
The average cost of a meal for two, minus the libations is ₹700 (at the time of publishing this review).
How to get there
La Campala Road, Lane 3, Miramar, Panjim, Goa 403001
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.