The sunshine state of Goa has seen a wave of fine-dining restaurants in the last couple of years. Traditional beach shacks continue to entice visitors, but one of the better reasons to visit this sunshine state is Maai. The first thing that draws you towards it is the attractive bungalow that houses Maai while the food is inspired by the spices from the motherland. Maai in Goa is a perfect example of creating a dream decor in a comfortable cozy old bungalow with its historic heritage and Portuguese inspired design.
“Maai is our humble tribute to all the mothers of Goa who have carried this cultural uniqueness of the home-made masala blend stemming from the time the Portuguese were in Goa. Our chefs have done a very in-depth study of these Flavors and tried our best to blend it into the current customer palette and expectations for modern dinners,” says Ranbir Nagpal, Director and Co-founder.
The food and beverage are inspired from the travels and conquests of the Portuguese and the ingredients discovered and carried along with them like the tomatoes, pineapple, cashew nuts & guavas are brought from Brazil to Goa and are subsequently spread around India, chillies and pepper being one of the most important ingredients which became immensely popular for wider Indian cuisine. Maai meaning motherland is inspired from the artisanal flavours of the motherland and its menu – a delectable mix of the Goan and Portuguese flavours on a plate reflect the same.
“The concept behind Maai was created specially by the team because of the location we found. The team restored the old villa, from the walls to the antique furniture, and from it reignited the taste of the Portuguese heritage. With the goal of complementing the old Goan Portuguese house, we worked on a cuisine based on Portuguese expeditions around the world. We wish to give visitors a taste of home by stimulating all of their senses with cuisine, drinks, and ambiance,” says Columbus Marquis-Director and Founder.
The food menu at Maai is a delicious mix of small plates and curries each of which celebrate the delicate flavours of Goa and every dish is well thought-out and curated, keeping the heritage in mind, and thereby forming a masterpiece on your plate.
“Perfection always stems from passion, that's personally what I believe in. Everything at Maai is a reflection of our convergence on that point - love for good food and cocktails. My focus at Maai has been on bringing alive Goan recipes by delicately balancing tradition & modernity. The menu at Maai goa may be extensive, but attention to detail is visible in all dishes right from presentation to optimal use of quality ingredients,” says Atul Chopra, Director and Co-Founder.
The Chefs at Maai swear by the Signature Raw Banana Cutlets and use this powerhouse of vitamins and expertly transform the boring looking produce into an interesting cutlet. The Vegan Beetroot Gallettees is packed with essential nutrients, fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. The chefs at Maai create a small plate to start the meal on a healthy note. The Chef's Signature Chorizo Hummus is a creamy edamame hummus married with a chorizo mix cured at the villages in South Goa. While the Pepper Spiced Mutton is the Mutton Slow Cooked with an Amalgamation of fresh and dried Peppers which were brought into India in 1498 by the explorer Vasco-da-Gama. Another best seller addition to the list is the Braised Piri Piri Clams.
“Peri-Peri is an important part of Mozambique's history after which it was brought to India by the Portuguese. The recipe is inspired by tossing the spice mix along with locally sourced clams from the waters of Goa. Like this dish, all our dishes show that less is more so our creative inventions on a plate consist of inspirations from the colonies that the Portuguese built during their conquests,” says Chef Balaji Srinivasan, who’s background hails from Oberoi, Le Meridien, Hyatt, Taj group etc.
Once you enter Maai, the food and ambience is not the only enticing thing. You cannot miss the cocktails. Starting with the “Whole lotta soul” which is an inspiration from Goan cuisine and with the use of kokum through this cocktail, Maai brings the soul of Goa into a glass of Gin. The “Casa de Maai” is a futuristic approach with advanced techniques with the use of cashew feni as a base spirit bringing in a fresh and clean fragrance. Coffee is enjoyed by all, thus another fantastic addition to the menu is the Robustly Roasted, a Vanilla with coffee which is definitely a match made in heaven and Goan culture is also deeply engraved by having a coffee Vodka. The “Feels like home” is a symbol of the marriage between Goan and Portuguese culture and this cocktail is inspired to be a better and homely version of old fashioned with a smokey and intense flavor whiskey. The “Maai Sage” will bring in the nostalgic moments of our childhood of eating a guava sprinkled with red pepper and salt - Maai’s take on a Sage infused Tequila Based Cocktail with a homemade guava, & Home-grown pepper Liqueur.
“Maai will leave you with a true taste of Goa and we guarantee a gastronomical experience as well as a fun time for those who visit and we have worked hard to create an ambience that will make you feel at home,” said Gurmeet Singh Arora, Director and Co-Founder.
Standing tall in the bylanes of Assagao, MAAI promises to wow you with its Portuguese minimalism yet enigmatic and enticing décor, the food and beverage and overall ambience which will leave you wanting more.
From awe-inspiring interiors that transport guests to spectacular international locales, Maai is the ideal place to be while in Goa.