Designed by Sussanne Khan, Vedro plates eccentric cuisine, conspicuously Indian fare in not-so-Indian formats. Not surprisingly, the swish restaurant is now Goa’s hippest spot for sundowners and dinner. And a hint of music.
First, a confession. I heard the name Vedro and scrabbled my brain for the word meaning. I hypothesised, conjectured, guesstimated but hit no approximate. Until the dictionary taught me that Vedro is a Russian unit of liquid capacity equal to 3.25 gallons of the US standard measure or 2.71 imperial gallons. With 3.25 gallons in mind, I walked down the one-way street in Panjim’s Latin Quarter to walk into the smelling-fresh two-storied Vedro (there’s a twist to the name, but wait for that!).
Suddenly, I forgot the liquid measurement of 3.25 gallons and gaped at all the leaves. Leaves on the walls, real palms in planters, palms on the shirts of the staff, leaves painted on the menu, golden leaves as table legs, leafy framed posters… Quite like a tropical paradise. With the beige of jute offsetting the green of the leaves. Jute rugs, woven jute chandeliers, mirrors with woven frames, rattan chairs, sofas dressed in grey, wooden knick-knacks in neat alcoves and a tidy air-conditioning duct wrapped in a silver garb. The chairs did not follow a set style but there was harmony in the oddities.
Designed by famous interior/fashion designer Sussanne Khan, Vedro is subtly quirky. Mark my words, quirky. Here, Eccentricity is Encouraged. No, I am not promoting eccentricity, a fuchsia pink neon signage beckons with its push for eccentricity. Charlie Chaplin smiles out of a white poster frame and James Dean as a Rebel Without a Cause pouts more rebellion. Another neon sign at the bar counter blinks Fountain of Youth. The neatest addition to the heritage building that once served as a clothing boutique is a tiny smoking room leading to the prettily done washroom. Vedro serves comfort and chic in large ladlefuls.
Vedro’s food speaks another language. Conspicuously Indian fare in not-so-Indian formats. Nothing has been picked from the recipe books, every dish on the menu has been created and curated sedulously to serve nostalgia, comfort, delight on a plate.
“It took us nearly one year to curate the menu because we wanted to rustle up nostalgia, comfort, delight as well as child-like wonder in Vedro’s food and drinks. The idea was to challenge convention and to take the global traveller on a sensory journey of delight,” Chef Maia Laifungbam and Sanchit Behl, a couple-chef who run the Vedro’s kitchen, admit.
“We are reinventing local flavours, infusing them with modern techniques, to cater to a global palate with our own flavour of rebellion,” Chefs Laifungbam & Behl add.
When the Vedro chefs exhort you to ‘taste the eccentric’ and savour the ‘flavours of rebellion’, just close your eyes and eat out of their hands. Oh, yes, the dishes are really waggish — breaking the recipe clichés with dollops of artistry.
Sample these: In the Raw & Cold Bar, oysters come with kokum and green apple granita with smoked olive oil and kosho rava fried with balchao emulsion (Rs 800); cured prawns flirt outrageously with feni in a ceviche (Rs 400); chicharrons (tangy pork crackling) are dusted with a spice blend and served with smoked yoghurt (Rs 250). Hot Plates have beer-battered gruyere vada pav (Rs 350); 70-70 Short Rib/Pulled Jackfruit is a labour of time and heat — 70 hours at 70 degrees pork rib or pulled jackfruit that comes with plantain puree and fragrant ‘kariya’ (Rs 450/600); the beef steak is pepper crusted and the chicken leg is served with feni cafreal jus, pomme puree and charred onion (Rs 450/700); there’s crab in the uttapam (Rs 400) and shark croquettes are accompanied with balchao aioli (Rs 330).
Right now, there are only three options in the dessert list but there’s a heavy dose of love and marriage — light-as-air banana sponge marries chocolate custard (Rs 350) while caramelised pineapple makes love to coconut cream (Rs 350).
The Bar Menu runs up to 10 pages with a long list of classics and their re-mastered versions, mocktails, whiskies, single malts, liqueurs, shooters… When you are leafing through the menu, do not miss the footnotes about dietary options that include vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and even keto diets.
While you are deciding what to eat, do not miss the beauteous menu that borrows the palm fronds from the walls and has an orange heliconia peeping from the corner of page 2.
As for the name twist, Vedro borrows its first three letters from the name of Vedant Gupta, the restaurant’s owner. There’s always V or a Ved in Vedant Gupta’s entrepreneurial nomenclature.
Remember what Lewis Carroll had said in Alice in Wonderland?“You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” I am no Lewis Carroll but I’ll tell you a secret. A restaurant where eccentricity is encouraged and the food has a flavour of rebellion, get there hungry. And eat a plateful. For one day, the gourmand will realise that Vedro’s eccentricity is its charm.
P.S.: Because Google Maps had confused me, I had parked my car far away and had walked long to Vedro. When I stepped out, it was dark but Gunjan Bakshi, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Vedro was concerned and requested Sapan Tamang, a staff member, to walk me to the car. Sapan ensured I reversed the car safely in the busy traffic and then bade a gentle goodbye.
We always rate a restaurant by its food and décor. But when kindness is served, nothing else matters.
Suggested read: The iconic Sly Granny comes to the shores of Goa
Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Max: 5 stars)
Vibe: Aesthetically eccentric
One dish we loved: Bhutta Corn: golden, charred and popped with a sweet shiro miso and airy corn espuma
One thing that didn’t work for us: Parking is a huge hassle in the one-way street
Good to know:
Vedro, House no 1, 26, Rua 31 de Janeiro, Panjim, Goa (Google Maps might confuse you, look for the landmark: Next to Caravela Cafe)
Phone: + 91 9325363193
Timing: Dinner only, 5.30 pm to 11 pm (but planning to offer Sunday brunch soon). Tuesday closed.
Parking: Not available next to the restaurant. Valet parking will be available soon.