It was a Friday that day. And whenever I get to be in
Goa on a Friday, I never miss the Friday Market at Mapusa. Walking past and through the makeshift stalls that sell everything from furniture to fruits to clothes is a thrill not to be missed.
One of the jewels I found while on one of my previous visits to the Mapusa market is this place called Café F Xavier. For those familiar with
Goa, this name is sure familiar. But for those who are not, I’d suggest you add this to the list of places to eat while at Goa.
Café Xavier is one among the many stores in the crowded Mapusa Market (that’s if you are there on a Friday). Given the numerous stalls lined in front of it, you stand a good chance of missing it too. The best way to find your way here is to ask around.
This café is a humble eatery and serves as a good stop for a quick snack or lunch while shopping. The blue and yellow mosaic décor on the walls adds a creative touch to the place. The same colour scheme is followed for the tables and chair, partitions as well as the waiters’ dressing.
The menu has a mix of Goan as well as other Indian delicacies. The place also has a bar counter and serves simple liquor and does not have fancy cocktails. Nothing like having a chilled port wine in the sweltering Goan heat. That’s what we ordered. At 20 bucks per glass, it well worth it. The best part about
Goa is that you can sip on a glass of port wine at any time of the day. Vinod had a second and a third helping that day.
|Port ine chilled to perfection|
Café Xavier has an interesting practice. As soon as you take your seat, they place before you plates full of samosas, cutlets, patties, croissants and other spicy snacks. You pay for what you eat. Not only are these super scorers on taste, they are also light on the pocket. We emptied a plate of beef cutlets that best appealed to us from the spread. Minced beef with onions, chillies and spices rolled into cutlets melt in your mouth. Keep eating these snacks and you don’t even have to look at the menu. Sorry, we have no pictures to share because we were busy eating.
We were not too hungry when it was actually time to have lunch and hence chose to stick to a simple order.
I am a fan of the Chicken Cafreal at Café Xavier’s. It’s the one thing I order every time I come here. No change this time around either. You taste it and you’ll know why. The Cafreal is one of the very famous Goan dishes. Chicken cooked till tender in a thick paste made of onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, chilli and coriander leaves. The paste is tangy and spicy and leaves both the eyes and mouth watering. But the dash of sweetness in it, balances it out completely. The Portuguese must be thanked for leaving this recipe behind.
The colour is a dark brown almost a shade of black and screams out every ingredient that has gone into its making. The cafreal was served with some buttered veggies, potato wedges, tomato cooked in the sauce and a small helping of salad.
The mood called for a traditional Goan Prawn Curry with steamed rice. It felt like home. A not-so-thick coconut based gravy ground with red chillies and other spices was light and not very spicy. Interestingly, the gravy had ladies fingers (okra) with the prawns. Not a great combination to try at home. I’m still wondering if that’s an original recipe or a variant. This meal came with a dry prawn balchao, pickle and some vegetable curry. It’s a complete meal and works well if you are in a hurry.
|Prawn Curry and Rice|
Apart from the distinct flavours we got to taste at Café Xavier, a meal for two cost us just over 300 rupees. Not bad at all!
Pay by : Cash, not sure about cards
Restroom : Basic, not too clean
Average meal for two : Rs 400 (with wine)
Mel’s overall rating : 3 out of 5
Location: No 141,
Mapusa Municipality Market, Mapusa, North Goa