Cantare has been around for more than a decade. This charming Bistro situated bang smack on the road in cruzwaddo, Saligao, is a must visit.
Several years ago, Maurice Britto returned from the USA where he had settled, to find that encroachers had taken over his beautiful one storied ancestral home. After a long legal battle the property was rightly restored to Maurice who decided to turn this ancestral house into a local watering hole.
This wooden floored restaurant has quaint interiors and large doors that allow the main dance floor area to float right out into the balcony. Food and song are in the air; you smell it, you hear it.
Cantare simply translates as ‘song’ in Konkani, that’s what you can expect every day. From jazz to rock, funk to blues an evening at cantare keeps your feet tapping and the rhythm flowing. You can even grab a microphone on karaoke nights. We were told that Mondays is especially the wild night with couples burning a hole in the dance floor. ( you should call in for reservations )
But while cantare celebrates the love that Goans have for music it also celebrates the love that Goans have for food and here may I say they outdid themselves.
While the menu caters to those who still want the Goan fare of prawn curry and sorportel, it also dishes out a decent Thai, Mexican and continental cuisine. Some ( who tend to look for the regulars on the menu ) may consider this a limited menu but I beg to differ. The menu also has a nice range of finger foods and a list of vegetarian dishes.
We settled down to some
buttery garlic calamari and spicy beef nachos. The freshness of the pepper tossed in butter and garlic left us licking the plate. The calamari was extremely well cooked and accompanied for good measure by a generous portion of sautéed garlic in butter; for those who can’t get enough of it! The calamari was also served with proper English pub style fries instead of the frozen stuff dishes out across Goa.
The nachos (which seemed to be out of a packet )topped with ground beef, fresh tomato salsa and chopped peppers & olives, had a generous load of cheese & a blob of sour cream.
‘Somtam’, the spicy citrus raw papaya salad tossed with long beans and carrots and flavoured with jaggery, fish sauce, chilli and peanuts was a superb balance of hot and sour. Perhaps the portion could have been a wee bit more generous considering that it was priced at Rs 400.
We then tucked into a Thai style ginger beef served with a portion of rice and sautéed peppers. The flavours were subtle and each morsel craved for another spoonful. The Tom Yum fried rice was a happy break from the fried rice offered in most establishments. The combination of meats and sea food flavoured with chilli paste, lemon grass, kafir lime leaves all tossed together can transport you to Thailand.
Just when we thought the evening could not get better we treated ourselves to four excellent deserts. Richard who works there, and is most approachable, even shared the telephone number of Lily Braganza who supplies Cantare with some
lip-smacking deserts. I loved the fact that they offered information so generously. It exuded some kind of confidence that they had the music the ambience and the food all right and really could take care of the competition.
We began with the Key Lime Pie and then tucked into the mango (seasonal)panna cotta. This was followed by chocolate mousse and the dark chocolate ganache. The deserts priced at ₹340 each, are well worth the money spent.
Perhaps the only drawback is that the tables at Cantare were fitted to maximise many covers and also to fit a rather narrow but charming balcony. A table for five could barely handle the quarter plates and two main courses all at once. The drinks awkwardly occupied space on the table making service rather difficult.