Slow Tide is wrapped in nostalgia about the good ol’ days of Anjuna commune

Anjuna’s new upmarket beach shack is more than a space to eat in and hang out by the beach. It is also where you explore the heritage of the flower power days and relieve the sexy 60s. It serves delish food too!

Where Slow Tide stands today was another beach shack, simply called San Francisco to honour the first of the hippies, or the flower children. Image: Deepali Nandwani

Where Slow Tide stands today was another beach shack, simply called San Francisco to honour the first of the hippies, or the flower children, who travelled from the American city. Many of the commune members who once lived in Anjuna had also travelled from Europe to Istanbul, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, eventually reaching the sunny beaches of Goa. 

A cyclone that wiped out the coastline a couple of years ago forced the shack to close. Fortuitously, Neil D’souza (who move from Bombay to Goa during the last years of the Anjuna commune) decided to lease the space and open a modern-day shack as an ode to the people who came looking for peace and love.

They put Anjuna, and Goa, on the global map in the 60s and 70s. To keep the spirit of the 60s alive, Neil has not just conceived and named the drinks on the menu in honour of the beautiful men and women who once made up the Anjuna commune but also ensured that Slow Tide was a shack in form and spirit, rather than a restaurant or a trashy beach bar of which there are way too many along the beach stretch.

Designed by Sri Lankan architect, Palinda Kannangara, Neil’s friend and Anjuna regular during its free-spirited days, Slow Tide lazily stretches over different levels, is open to the beach and the sand, and protected from natural elements by treated bamboo slats which let sunlight in.

Slow Tide’ celebrates the legacy of the Anjuna commune with its architecture, interior design, and menu. It is also designed to be a community space and will host a gallery where local artists can show their art, host a performance, or play some music. The gallery will narrate the Anjuna story through photographs and memorabilia. 

The enclosed area holds the community table and has a seperate bar. Image: Deepali Nandwani

On the lower level, a sheltered enclosure holds a long community table for those who want to sit and dine with people they may know. It holds photographs of the former commune members in their lungis and their sundresses on the walls, a dedicated bar, and a view of the sea and the sand through a square in the wall.

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The community table at Slow Tide, where guests are encourged to interact with each other, even if they are solo diners. Image: Courtesy Slow Tide.

There is a sandbox in which gambol the many stray dogs that the restaurant nurture, keeping alive another Goan tradition: Sand, sea, dogs/cats, and shacks. 

Stories that define Anjuna’s golden era 

Neil is a passionate recounter and his stories about Slow Tide’s legacy, as captured in its architecture, design, food, drink, and spirit will keep you enthralled if you are lucky to have him as a meal companion. 

While the flower children came to be known as ‘hippies’, Neil insists they were just people rebelling against what the West had begun symbolising, particularly in the years after bloody world wars. 

The hippies then (for, what else can we call them?) lived peacefully in communes and spent their days celebrating life’s simple pleasures and their rustic lifestyle. 

Neil, who is now among the last few surviving members of the commune and runs a high-end travel business, says, “We were a gathering from all over the world who assembled at this tiny village. Most of the old timers are either no more or have migrated back to their homes.

A few continue to live here. There is Fred after whom we have named one of our cocktails, Sailor Fred. In his younger days, he would sail on a catamaran all alone, right up to Africa. Now, he has Parkinson’s but refuses to go back to England.”

He believes the Anjuna commune members were the first vegans. “We did not hurt the environment. Our day would end at 6 in the evening as there was no electricity. Anjuna was the last village to get electricity or good roads. We were happy in our little commune, congregating at some of the shacks or homes, celebrating, and living together. We used coconut shells as candles in the evenings; they were our torches. We had a restaurant called Xaviers here and people from as far out (then) as Fort Aguada would come for a meal. Many of the commune members were homegrown chefs and ran organic kitchensand small restaurants.”

Some of the commune members, particularly from Italy, had converted to Islam to rebel against the tyranny of the Italian church and were known as the Green People. Some of their children born right here in Anjuna now run organic farms in the south.

This idyllic life was captured in a soulful documentary, The Last Hippie, a couple of years ago, as the last hurrah of the peaceful bunch who left their homes, and eschewed material growth and wants for a more connected-with-nature and community life. Slow Tide sheaths the memories and stories of some of these people, like Amsterdam Dave or American Carl who came from Europe or the United States but eventually became Goan in spirit, and stories of Vidal Angel’s art and dreadlocks, all part of Anjuna’s folklore today. 

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Vintage photographs of some of the former members of Anjuna commune are on the walls across Slow Tide. Image: Deepali Nandwani

Anjuna slowly transformed after tourists and some of the younger new commune members took to hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine, instead of LSD. Curlies, a beach shack run by a former waiter, was said to be the fount of these modern dangerous drugs. “Then there was also this whole rush of Indians wanting to see nude women or bikini-clad women. What essentially changed Anjuna, and a lot of Goa, was the internet. The moment the Internet came to Goa, things went south. Now, to preserve some semblance of our more pristine days, there are parts of Anjuna village not covered by GPS.”

While Curlies has also been demolished by authorities following the death of a tourist who is said to have overdosed while at a party at this erstwhile shack, the cheap tourists looking for thrills are slowly moving on to other beach stretches. Neil hopes that several more places like Slow Tide will change Anjuna for the better and bring it some semblance of peace and a few discerning tourists. 

In a world being changed further by AI and Chat GPT, Slow Tide is where you come to escape technology. 

Food as an ode to the world’s coastlines

At Slow Tide, you dine to the sound of the waves and the smell of salt-laden air, the best way to dine in Goa.

First up were the Moringa fritters, made from moringa leaves and yam and served with pumpkin sauce and freshly grated coconut. It has an interesting grainy texture and a sweetness imparted by the pumpkin sauce and fresh coconut. 


Neil, who has just discovered he is gluten-sensitive and lactose intolerant, and has turned largely vegan (like me, he is contemplating the past when we could eat and drink anything!), says they have some great stuff on the menu to satisfy a largely vegetarian diner such as me. 

The delicate Kevaji Voir Pondha, a dish of Kevaji or red snapper steamed in banana leaf, is an ancestral Mangalorean recipe. The term ‘voir pondha’ is derived from the technique of cooking fish with coals on top and firewood below, which infuses in it a smoky flavour. It is served with Sukhem (dried shrimp, coconut, chilly, raw mango) and Goan Sanna, or a fermented spongy, steamed, and savoury unfilled dumpling made of red rice, black lentils, and coconut. 

The other red snapper dish, Red Snapper Crudo, has delicate, cured bite-sizes of the fish served with chilled sauce and topped with toasted poha for the crunch.


“The food is from the coast: East Indian from Mumbai, Sri Lankan from my travels, Goan, and Mangalorean as I am from the region. I took our chefs to Mangalore to learn from old aunts and cousins. These recipes have never come to a restaurant table,” says Neil. 

The Fish Cake, then, has hand-pounded Mangalorean masala. There is also some North American street food, again inspired by his travels. “No burgers and no pizzas, though. It is more gourmet. We wanted to keep the pricing high primarily to ensure we get the right crowd into the shack.” 

So, you won’t find any Kingfisher beer at Slow Tide. Instead, you can order customised cocktails and beer on tap. Former members of the Anjuna commune can dine here for free, as it is their history which informs the shack. And if local Goan, you can get a dish or two thrown in, for free, along with your order.

Back to the food. Next up is Prawn Balchao, a sweet, spicy, and tangy Goan prawn pickle splattered over some homemade Poee, and Grilled Broccoli topped with Catalonia sauce, which is a crunchy blend of broccoli and the smoothness of white bean, roasted garlic, and nutty Romesco sauce. 

The food menu is never-ending and experimental: Thaleepeeth Tacos, topped with pigeon or chickpeas wadiyon (spiced lentil dumpling) and soft ridge gourd or turai chatni, followed by Fish Cake and Therese’s Black Pork for my meat-eating friend. The pork belly has flavours of dry roasted spices, onions, and aromatic lemongrass, an ingredient that makes the curry pop! 

My favourite is Kagdi Stew or Sri Lankan raw jackfruit curry with flavours of curry powder and coriander, and tangy and spicy Pineapple Curry made in coconut milk. 

The drinks inspired by Anjuna commune members

The bartender does his own infusions and experiments with flavours. Kokum Tequila is infused with house-made kokum bitters, while Sailor Fred is a banana rum, caramelised banana orgeat and dill shrub blend. 

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The bar menu has drinks named in honour of the former members of Anjuna commune. Image: Deepali Nandwani

Acid Erick, tagged as “our original Santa Claus” on the bar menu, has tequila, watermelon, Yuzu, basil, almond milk, and acid milk in a heady potion, while Berlin Peter is dedicated to one Peter from Berlin who loved his Ganga Jamuna juice. Its ingredients include a dash of Ganga Jamuna juice, kokum-infused tequila, and kokum bitters.

Starco Junction is enigmatically tagged as “As wild as it gets” and includes Chorizo vodka (or vodka infused with a hint of the famous chorizo), tangy pickle, and fizz. 

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Besides delish food, you take home memories of the serenity that surrounds you in this uncluttered part of Anjuna. Image: Deepali Nandwani

Like the free spirits who once inherited the heritage of the Anjuna village, you bring a sense of complete freedom and a bit of sand into Slow Tide and take back fascinating stories about the village’s best days and memories of a great meal. This is where you can come for a hint of nostalgia, an unsullied spot by the sea, beautiful sunlight and sunsets, and salty air feels. 

Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (Max: 5 stars)

 Food: 5/5 | Drinks: 4/5 | Service: 4/5 | Interiors: 5/5 | Vibe: 5/5 | One dish we loved: Spiced Pineapple Curry.

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