LOOK GT Weekender ..September 24, 2006 ..A LA CARTE | 6
written by Reema Kamat
1. When was the restaurant established and why the recent hiatus?
The Restaurant was established in 1981 and grew to be hugely popular in its time. It was shut down two years ago because we decided it was time for a renovation, keeping in mind the tastes and preferences of today’s clientele.
2. Is there much difference between the Branco’s of yesteryears and today?
Only in its appearance we have increased the space of the seating area, and have also done up the interiors to give it a whole new look But, the food remains the same as the one of the earlier years; our head cook has been with us for 19 years now.
3. What are the specialities of the restaurant?
Goan cuisine is our speciality, so besides our fried prawns, our prawn curry rice and chicken cafreal are our specialities. Also popular is our pork vindaloo, pork roast, sausage chilli fry and fish balchao.
Reema Kamat ...Discovers that even after decades, Branco’s delicious cuisine leaves you wanting to go for more.
Branco’s Restuarant & Bar reopened last week after a hiatus of almost two years, during the course of which, it has undergone a simple, but stunning makeover. Established in 1981, it was one of the most popular restaurants in Panjim, going by the ardent reminiscence of many regulars of the place I’ve come across. I just couldn’t wait to try out its offerings and hopefully come to the same conclusion.
My friend and I walked in and were soon met by the owner himself, an enterprising guy, who throughout the duration of our meal made sure that we didn’t  suffer from want of anything.
We ordered starters-Prawn Rissoes (Rs. 40), those classic crumb-fried crescent parcels stuffed with shrimp filling. Plump and puffy, the rissoes oozed with their cheesy prawn filling and were delicately appetising. While the Chicken Stuffed Papads (Rs 55) were satisfactory, the Grilled Kingfish (Rs 85) was a tad bland and could have done with some more of the piquant flavouring it was marinated in. But, the clear winners here were their Prawns Rava-Fry(Rs 80), which my foodie friends inform me, has been one of their trademark specialities ever since its inception. The prawns had been neatly deveined and fattened (Chepni style) before being fried and were as tender as they were crisp and crusty. This, we ordered two plates of!
When it came to the main course, there were no doubts; we ordered their two very popular favourites – Prawn Curry & Rice (Rs. 95) and Chicken Cafreal (Rs. 80). The curry was aromatic with a distinct tang to it and the quirky addition of capsicum slivers made it a delightful variation. The chicken, though slightly more pungent than we had bargained for, was a tongue tickling liquor-spiced version.
We appreciated the fact that the owner was around to explain its composititon upon making enquiries. The best of the spread however was the Sausage Chilli Fry (Rs. 50.) Of course how wrong can you really go with this dish? Branco’s served us an enjoyable rendition, chunks of chourico (with the skin disposed of) simply stir-fried with onions and tomatoes, we think adding some capsicum would only add flavour and appeal to it.
The small but unusual assortment of desserts sounded very interesting and we ordered a couple of them; both were served in individual portions which was rather nice. The Lemon Crumble (Rs. 30) was a creamy quick-fix version comprising semi-sweet biscuits layered with cream cheese, draped with lemon curd and crowned with a crumb topping. But, the chocolate chip Surprise (Rs.30 ) was the one that truly lived up to its name. It is a sinfully devilish, melt-in-the-mouth creation; and that is all we would like to say about it. After all we don’t want to ruin the surprise for you!
• Name of restaurant: Branco’s Restuarant & Bar
• Address: Panjim
• Timings: Lunch &Dinner
• Cuisine: Goan & Chinese
• Quality of food : Good
• Portions : Decent
• Service : Attentive
• Decor : Spartan
• Cost : Average cover price Rs 500 for 2 (for a 3 course meal)
• Overall experience :8 on 10.