This Putney veteran has been churning out Goan treats since 1993, long before regional Indian cuisine became fashionable. As the name, Ma Goa, suggests, the family matriarch is in charge of the kitchen with her son taking care of front-of-house. And like all good family restaurants, there is pride and passion in their food that is conveyed through genuinely warm and helpful service.
Joining me for dinner was Mr Wine, and to kick off we shared a couple of starters. Our favourite was sorpotel (£5.50), a traditional Goan dish of lambs' liver and kidney with pork belly in a roasted spice masala. Given the inclement weather, this dish really hit the spot with its comforting but not overpowering kick. It's also available as a main but given its richness, I think it's better suited as a starter.
I was torn between several options for my main, including an authentic pork vindaloo, but in the end I went for Goa chorizo amot-tik (£11), home-made pork chorizo with potato, palm vinegar, red chilli and garlic in a hot Goan sauce. This dish was proper spicy with a double-whammy of heat coming from the chorizo and the zesty piquant sauce. The home-made chorizo deserves a special mention, as it would give many an Iberian sausage, a run for its money.
|Chorizo amot-tik, chickpeas, coconut rice and sanna|
|'Ma Fish' Caldin|
We were full but we took one for the blog and squeezed in some dessert in the form of kulfi (£4.75) and bibique (£4.75). There's not much to say about kulfi but I really enjoyed the bibique, a layered coconut cake that was home-made by a family friend. I hope for his sake that he negotiated a good deal, as this traditional Goan pudding was a real winner.
If you're looking for the 'tikka masala' school of curry then you will be disappointed, as Ma Goa's relatively brief menu consists largely of Goan specialities. This is a good thing, not just because the food is authentic, but more importantly because it's tasty and freshly made. Some of the portions may appear to be slightly on the small side but I didn't find this a problem given the richness of the food.
The dining room is tastefully decorated and has a warm atmosphere. Sadly the low lighting combined with my reluctance to use flash meant that my photos didn't come out very well. With a bottle of Marlborough Pinot Noir and 12.5% service, the bill came to £90 or £45/head. Our mains and wine were amongst the most expensive and you could probably get away with spending £35/head with a more modest order.
Ma Goa serves top quality food in a warm setting combined with excellent service. In short, everything I look for when eating out. Highly recommended.
If you like the look of...
...Ma Goa then you might want to try Gourmet Garden or Imperial China. Whilst neither of these are Indian restaurants, they do have one thing in common with Ma Goa, they're both superior neighbourhood eateries.
Ma Goa, 242-244 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, London, SW15 6TG
(Tel 020-8780-1767) Nearest stations: East Putney (Tube), Putney (Rail)