Some like it hot and some like it mild – but Goa managed to cater for all our differing Indian food preferences.
This new kid on the block replaces Priti Raj, which had proved a popular spot to eat along the seafront’s Queen’s Parade.
It would have been easy for the new owners to pick up where Priti Raj left off, but, instead, they’ve totally changed the place.
A plush purple carpet leads you upstairs to a more modern version of an Indian restaurant.
The colour scheme is simple, but effective – all crisp white table cloths, velvet-adorned pillars, splashes of purple and mood lighting. It makes it look bigger than its previous incarnation.
We managed to get a window seat overlooking the seafront, one of the benefits of eating outside of the city centre.
I’m often left scratching my head over what to choose in Indian eateries because there’s dozens upon dozens of dishes from which to choose.
Goa is more selective though. The classics are there – korma and vindaloo et al – for the curry faithful, but there’s also a refreshing choice of more left field Indian fare.
As the restaurant’s moniker would suggest, many of the choices featuring sea food or lamb are influenced by this coastal corner of globe.
To start, I chose the paneer tikka (£5.25). Unlike in other restaurants, this dish wasn’t served with meat. Instead I tucked into four big slabs of marinated Indian cheese with yoghurt, mint, coriander and chillies.
It tasted fresher and less greasy than I’ve had elsewhere and was beautifully presented.
My main meal – seabass and king prawns (£14.95) – was also like an edible piece of art. The filleted seabass was curled around a trio of giant prawns with a generous lashings of a rich red sauce of tamarind, tomatoes, coconut milk and curry leaves.
I’m not a fan of mouth-scorching dishes, but this packed a punch flavour-wise while still being delicate on the palate. It came served with a perfectly-sized mound of rice.
Friend Georga, meanwhile, has taste buds that have been put to the test, after years of living in South Shields, in the town’s Ocean Road. As such, she likes a dish that does battle with her mouth.
She usually has no problem handling a vindaloo so, upon our waiter’s recommendation, she chose the murg chettinadu (£10.95). It proved to be an eye-watering blend of chicken in a super hot South Indian spice with caramelised onions and tomato.
Despite having to blow her nose throughout the meal, thanks to its ferocity, she managed to polish it all off.
It’s definitely a dish for those who are a fan of heat and is on par with a vindaloo, but the rich flavours of the tomato and caramelised onions give it a sweeter flavour.
It was so good, she was still raving about it two days later.
Looks like Goa is going to become a regular haunt.
For those after a cheaper alternative, Goa has a happy hour every night from 5pm to 7pm, which features four courses for £9.95, and there’s a 20 per cent discount on dishes when ordered for takeaway and collection.