Klaa in Indiranagar

Klaa in Indiranagar | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Goa has long been the go-to place for a holiday when you are young and the world is new and your wallet is on a permanent diet. And when it comes to memories of food, you will always remember the first time you tried their famous sorpotel, xacuti, recheado masala and of course, the feni.

Well, Bengaluru now has an address where you can enjoy the best of Goan cuisine, minus the booze, thanks to chef Rhea Aaron. With her brother Varun and partner Bikash Parik, Rhea opened Klaa where one can relish the hearty simplicity of authentic Goan food.

Klaa is done up in a simple, minimalistic style redolent of Goan homes. A shelf of retro model radios welcomes you at the entrance, while a wall of blue-and-white pictorial tile beckons you to take a seat, kick off your shoes and relax.

It’s a sultry afternoon and we cool down with their mocktails before deciding on a bite to eat. Goa in Glass is a kokum-based drink with a Limca base, while Goa Mary is their guava take on a Bloody Mary. Both are refreshing and to be honest, perhaps the only time I have enjoyed Limca. Apart from these, one can also try the Avara, their non-alcoholic ginger beer, kombuchas or check out the specials board for the mocktail of the day.

From Klaa's menu

From Klaa’s menu | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The lunch menu is limited with a range of thalis — fish, prawn, chicken and veg — and a handful of starters and staples, more than enough to make for a satisfying meal. Each thali comes with six or seven dishes served with steamed rice and is only available in the afternoon.

We start with the garlic phew or Goan bread accompanied by the pork chorizo ​​chilli fry. Spicy and smoky, the tang of vinegar added punch to the dish that was bursting with flavour. Poe is traditionally made from a mix of local wheat and naturally fermented with toddy, but at Klaa, “we use an adapted version as Bangalore weather is not conducive for the making of toddy,” says Rhea. “We use equal portions of whole wheat and refined flour with fresh and dry yeast for the fermentation process.”

From Klaa's menu

From Klaa’s menu | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

She adds that rolling the phew on wheat bran gives it a lovely crust on the outside. Whatever its making process was, it certainly complemented the pork.

Alongside the pork, we tried Mary’s beef fry — a family recipe shared by Rhea’s mother. Soft and succulent slices of meat and onions flavoured with pepper go well with our drinks.

A closer look at the menu has dishes listed under Aaron’s and Rhea’s clearly denoting which are traditional Goan recipes and which have been crafted by Rhea over the years.

Coconut rice with Goan prawn curry was our choice for the main meal. Golden brown onions top the simple yet flavourful coconut rice and the prawn curry was an excellent accompaniment. The addition of kokum in the curry brought out that coastal element that had us indulging in second servings.

While one might feel the lunch menu is limited, Rhea says, “Lunch is not aways a leisurely affair and the flavour profiles on the thali reflect all the traditional tastes of Goa.

From Klaa's menu

From Klaa’s menu | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Sadly, there isn’t much of a choice for vegetarians at Klaa except for the tried and tested offerings of mushroom, potatoes and breadcrumbs.

We wanted to skip dessert but the serradura was suggested, a typical Goan set milk custard with a hint of vanilla essence and layered with biscuits. The fact that it was good old Marie biscuit and not some fancy cookie made it all the more a throwback to simpler times. “This is a Portuguese dessert adapted by the Goans,” says Rhea.

The dinner menu served from is slightly more extensive as it comes to small plates and one can enjoy the afternoon starters, staples and mains as well with the exception of the thalis.