How Floyd Cardoz and Ayaz Basrai created Mumbai’s most authentic Goan fine-dining restaurant

OCT 30, 2017 | By Rochelle Pinto
L-R:The restaurant is inspired by Goa but stays true to Mumbai's restaurant culture;Expect to find a melange of Goan dishes at O Pedro
Photography by Sanjay Ramchandran.

“Goa has more to offer than prawn curry and Goan sausages,” declares Floyd Cardoz. Consider this the battle cry behind the star chef’s newest venture, O Pedro, where lesser-known treats from the Sunshine State challenge you to a new sensory experience.Ask him why Goa’s uncontestable appeal as a tourist destination hasn’t translated into its cuisine making inroads nation-wide, and he says, “Most travellers consider Goan cuisine to be one enjoyed on the beaches or shacks with a local beer, but it is so much more than that. As we did with The Bombay Canteen, we went into the details of not just the cuisine but the culture as well. We looked at every aspect of why people loved Goa and tried to bring that to life”To research their project, the team split their lives between Goa and Mumbai. Not a bad gig, if you can get it. “Rahul, our manager, spent time going to people’s homes to understand the culture around alcohol in Goa. We learned about everything from the traditions of drinking feni and urak, to how fruit macerations were carried out to take away the harshness of the local liquor,” explains co-owner Sameer Seth.Cardoz adds, “Our most important research was with a Poee baker in Goa. Our team learning to make Poee, for me, is the icing on the cake because bread is very important to everyone in Goa.”To make sure the physical space supported this endeavor towards authenticity, the team roped in Ayaz Basrai of Busride Design Studio, who is also responsible for the Art Deco realness of The Bombay Canteen.Having recently transplanted himself from Mumbai to the Goan village of Sucorro, Basrai is especially equipped to infuse the space with nostalgia without falling for clichés. “We work best when we’re aligned with a mood as opposed to a strict theme,” Basrai explains. “In this case, it was the sultry, brightly lit, languid nature of Goa. We wanted the space to be sedate, because when the food is this good, you don’t need to hide behind theatrics.”So instead of bright turmeric walls and Mario Miranda murals, you’ll see vaulted ceilings, a muted palette and terracotta-hued tiles, inspiration that he picked up on a field trip to the 350-year-old Menezes Braganza house in Chandor. What Basrai is most excited about is the scope for evolution. As the menu becomes more personal and nuanced, so too, he hopes, will the space. It’s why he’s still collecting artifacts that might find their way into O Pedro. “We didn’t want to just fill it with knick-knacks from the beginning itself, that would feel superficial and gimmicky,” he explains. “Like the food, I wanted everything you see in the space to have a story behind it.”

Where: C-WING, Bharat Nagar Road, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai 51
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