A Gastronomic Gem
It’s been a long time since my last full-feature article, 3 months to be precise. However, I couldn’t think of a more deserving and better place to get back to business with. I’ve heard a lot about Go with the Flow and somehow, my schedule never seemed to concur with my desire to visit the place. I’ve received quite a few recommendations from my family members, who visited the restaurant numerous times in the last 3 years, so I finally decided to go ahead and do it. I’d also like to express my gratitude with a big thank you to The Goan Foodie for picking me as their contest winner and an even bigger thank you to Chef Stefan Marais, who took the time and effort to be an excellent host and for going the extra mile to make sure everything was perfect.
The road to the restuarant was a bit complicated as there’s a lot of road work, constructions and diversions going on all along the traditional route. But I managed to get there through the arpora-anjuna road which was a long cut but the only way to get there, for the moment . The restaurant is located beside the bank of the Baga River which opens out into the sea. Peaceful sunsets, the beautful glisten of the ocean and boats moving in the river are some of the stunning views that meet the eye if you decide to sit on the sky dining platform or the even higher, terrace. The restaurant is housed within the compound of an old Portuguese home with dining areas in the garden, verandah, sky-platform, sky terrace and sometimes even within the house. The theme is a very open and pretty. Greenery all around, the sound of the ocean and nature, shades of aquatic blue teamed with classic colors like white and brown stand out within the decor of the restaurant. These are just a few of the sights I can describe at the restaurant, you really got to visit the place to feel the vibes of the place. The restaurant was taken over last year by Chef Stefan Marais who moved from South Africa to Goa along with his flair for cooking different types of European cuisine with his strengths being French, Italian and of course his native South African cuisine.
Restaurant Picture Credits: Go with the Flow Facebook Page
The great thing about Go with the Flow is that all the profits of the restaurant go to The Samarpan Foundation, which is a charitable, non-profit organization that provides global support and assistance of any kind where there is humanitarian, ecological, environmental and animal welfare needs. You can find more details on their foundation at https://samarpanfoundation.org/ and be proud of yourself, knowing that whatever you spent on your meal at the restaurant would be donated towards a good cause.
Now, we move on to everybody’s favourite part, the food. I started out with a mint tea as the recent change in climate, got me down with quite a nasty cold and the steaming hot, refreshing mint tea sure did help put me at ease and open up my senses for what proved to be busy day for the same as the food was an absolute delight to the eyes, nose and mouth.
We started with a simple and light starter, Breadsticks with a hummus dip and a tzatziki dip which is made using yogurt, garlic, cucumber, salt and lemon. As most of you know, I’m picky when it comes to Hummus since I grew up eating it during my childhood in Abu Dhabi, UAE. But this was pretty great, almost identical.
Breadsticks with Hummus dip and Tzatziki dip
We began the course with a vegeterian dish. Tempura Broccoli served on a bed of pickled beetroot hummus garnished with sesame seeds. This looked great, the pickled beetroot hummus added a bright pink color to the dish that made it look almost as good as it tasted. The pickled beetroot also added a lot of depth to the hummus and went really well with the broccoli fried in tempura. A real east-asian and mid-eastern influence in this dish. Yes, it certainly tasted as good as it looked.
Broccoli in Tempura with Pickled Beetroot Hummus
Vibrant and Delicious
We then moved on to our second dish which was a ceviche. Ceviche sounded perfect, considering how hot the weather has been this summer in Goa and the fact that Ceviche is very light and refreshing. Ceviche is basically a dish made use using raw seafood like fish which is traditonally cured by marinating it in lime/lemon juice and along with a lot of seasoning like salt, pepper, chili, olive oil, celery, green onions, avocado, tomato, cilantro and a lot more, it actually depends on the style of the chef. The dish is popular in Latin American countries as well as coastal countries and islands like the Carribbean Islands. The acid in the citrus juices help cure the raw fish by breaking down the protein and making it firm, thus mimicking the traditional way of cooking (By heating the meat).
Red Snapper Ceviche in a Passion fruit and Pomegrante marinade with Cucumbers
The Ceviche I ate were slices of Red Snapper (known locally as Tamoshi) soaked in a passion fruit marinade and served with bits of pomegranate and cucumbers. Light, fresh and very smooth on the palette it left you feeling very easy. It tasted like the perfect dish to battle the Goan summer. Everyone knows we Goans love our fish and even more so, fried. However during these summer days its quite a task eating heavy food and people prefer eating light. So, here’s your solution to fish in the summer, Ceviche!
Fresh and Light Ceviche
The next dish was a vegan dish and I’m glad it was because I’ve received a lot of feedback to do some vegeterian dishes. I’m sorry I tend to get carried away sometimes as I love my meat, but don’t worry I also love my salads and all kinds of vegeterian dishes too, so I’ll make sure I get more vegeterian dishes in from now onwards. This dish was a whole, sage and nut crusted beetroot on a bed of zucchini, with bits of dehydrated beetroot, pickled cauliflower, capsicum puree and pickled beetroot puree.
Whole beetroot with a nut and sage crust on a bed of zucchini, pickled cauliflower and capsicum puree
The crust that coated the beetroot was made from crushed almonds, walnut, sage and a bit of coconut oil. This dish was not only a beauty to look at but also a beauty to eat with so many different tasting elements that came together to form a delicious dish. The beetroot with that crunchy and nutty coating, along with the tanginess of the purees, sourness of the pickled cauliflower and the slight saltiness of the grilled zucchini at the bottom ensured a delightful assortment of textures and flavours in a single plate.
Who said Vegan dishes can’t be beautiful?
Now we move on to the main course, 3 dishes featuring Beef, Pork and Fish. Vegeterians look away now! Just kidding of course, Stefan’s dishes are works of art and should have you glued to your screen irrespective of what you eat. The weather wasn’t doing me any favours by continuing to leave me feeling dehydrated even though the sun started to set. So despite my cold, I decided to go ahead and indulge in the ultimate sin by having a Lemon Ice Tea, which was pretty great by the way!
Lemon Ice Tea
The first dish to come out was the Beef Steak on a bed of basil pesto infused mash potato, onion puree, bits of sundried as well as dehydrated tomatoes and Arancini. Not your usual steak dish, but a very different dish that was delicious as a whole with a lot of elements and quite a bit of Italian influence. Well worth the money!
beef steak on a bed of basil pesto mash , onion puree, sundried as well as dehydrated tomatoes and arancini
The steak was cooked to perfection. Of course, everyone’s defintion of perfect is different and mine is ‘Medium-Rare’. The basil infused mash at the bottom was perfect too and complemented the steak really well. Arancini, a native dish to Italy are rice balls stuffed with meat, vegtables or cheese that are coated in bread crumbs and then deep fried. Stefan made his version of Arancini using locally sourced Mozarella cheese and a tomato risotto. The Arancini was good and made just the way I like it, al dente. The onion puree had a lovely slightly caramelized taste to it and that tiny hint of sweetness went brilliantly with the whole dish. This dish will certainly leave you cleaning the plate to the last bit.
Tender and juicy, a meat lover’s heaven.
Next up was the fish. This was a herb crusted fillet of Red Snapper in veloute sauce served with a green pea puree which was topped with fresh green peas, sundried tomatoes, zucchini and dauphine potatoes (Choux pastry filled with mash potato). The herb crust was made using Parsley, Dill, Coriander and Panko breadcrumbs and really helped infuse a lot of flavour into the fish. The fish was cooked in a veloute sauce which is one of the 5 mother sauces. The Veloute was made primarily with lemon juice, white wine, butter and fish stock among other seasonings.
Herb crusted fish with pea puree and dauphine potatoes
This dish was again yet another work of art. Vibrant with stuninng shades of green, yellow and a bit of brown and red. The presentation was top notch and looked like a birds eye view of a garden. The fish was delicious, the pea puree along with the veggies and the dauphine potatoes were a delight to feast on too. The choux pastry was light and the potato on the inside, even lighter. The portions were really good and could comfortably satisfy two people at minimum.
The final main course dish for the day was Slow roasted Pork Belly in a Vietnamese style glaze with pickled cauliflower, capsicum and local long beans. The glaze was made from Soy Sauce, jaggrey(a by-product of sugarcane), lime and ginger. The pork as you can observe, was slow roasted gorgeously with a cripy top half and a soft, juicy bottom half.
Vietnamese style slow roast Pork Belly with long beans and roasted pumpkin
I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of pork, I don’t eat every single variant of pork. I do like my chorizo, breakfast sausages and chinese pork dishes.Besides that I’m a bit picky but man, once you cut into the crispy skin and then progress onto the juicy meat below, dip it into the sauce a bit and pop that in your mouth you’ll feel like you’re in seventh heaven. The soy reduction packs a real punch there’s a bit of salty, a bit of sweet, a bit of sour and the dish as a whole with its various textures and flavours will leave your mouth in an absolute frenzy.
Finally we come to the end of this delicious, vibrant, gastronomic journey with dessert. One would think that after a stunning visual showcase throughout all meals, the dessert would be a bit subtle. Well, think again. Dessert was A Goan coconut cake topped with coconut milk bubbles and served with a fresh mango ice cream along with mango puree and beetroot gel. The ice cream had a beautiful consistency and tasted fresh as ever, the coconut cake topped with coconut milk bubbles were great and even better when mixed with the tangy mango puree and the slightly sweet beetroot gel, team that up with the ice cream and you got an outright peach of a dish!
Goan coconut cake topped with coconut milk bubbles and served with a fresh mango ice cream along with mango puree and beetroot gel
So with that wonderful dessert we come to the end of my feature of Go with the Flow in Baga. I had a great experience and left the restaurant with a content heart and a full stomach. I’m sure the dishes were a real pleasure to look at for all you readers too. The attention to detailing and presentation at Go with the Flow is spectacular. They also use the highest quality of ingredients and put a great deal of love and passion into their food and after eating the same, you’ll definitely know why Stefan is an award winning chef and Go with the Flow is among the best European cuisine restaurants in Goa, if not ‘the best’. Great food with great ambience, a lovely setting and a whole lot of good vibes. Do drop by before the monsoons begin but remember Go with the Flow opens from 6 pm onwards due to the fact that its open air and the summer heat during the day can be unbearable. The restaurant is pretty popular thanks to the recent accolades and recognition they have recieved from the culinary industry, so if you’re visiting do give them a call and book in advance, just to be safe. Don’t forget quality this excellent, certainly does not come at a cheap price but also remember, as I mentioned earlier, all profits go to the NGO Samarpan. So, don’t think twice, just Go with the Flow.