BY PALOMA LACY
Veganism has taken the country by storm. Once thought of as a fringe movement, many are toying with the idea and meat-free days are more popular than ever.
Old Goa in Norbury recently introduced Vegan Tuesdays and diners are already flocking to try the Thali set menu.
In business for some years, Old Goa combines the charm and cooking skill of hospitality dream team Savio and his mother-in-law, no name needed, everyone just calls her mum.
I understand why when she offers to rock my baby daughter to sleep while I eat. This lady is the essence of motherhood. “Watch and learn”, I tell myself.
It’s precisely this warmth that’s helped build Old Goa’s reputation locally and further afield.
Savio had a table coming from Guildford on the night of my visit. This place has real ambience, with trinkets from the old country, creating that holiday glow.
There is no official menu on a Tuesday, and Savio and mum seem to be the only ones in the know about what they’ll be serving.
The ‘menu’ changes weekly, depending on the seasonal vegetables available, some of which are grown locally, so there seems little point telling you about the food I enjoyed as it may or may not be served up when you visit.
My best advice would be for you to go and try it for yourself.
Whatever’s cooking, it’ll be good.
Thali – a smorgasbord of little dishes placed on one tray – lends itself perfectly to the vegan treatment.
There was certainly a lot of food, with each dish delicately spiced and balanced to make up a rather excellent whole meal at a cost of £12.
I recognised much of the contents of the little dishes, and chef Savio was more than happy to talk me through them.
There was a rich chickpea curry, mung dahl laced with coconut, peri peri aubergine, curried green beans, with purple carrots, another kind of dahl, this time enriched with plenty of cumin, and finally courgette curry, heavy on the garlic and big on flavour.
Vegan Tuesday is on weekly from 6pm until 10.30pm.
For those needing a meat fix, the restaurant won’t disappoint Wednesday to Sunday (excluding Tuesday when no meat is served), with dishes such as beef chilli fry, fish and crab cutlets, and famous Goan dish, Xacutti bringing a little bit of the sub-continent to South London.