What’s on the menu at Goa Indian Farm Kitchen, Hemant Bhagwani’s new restaurant at Bayview Village
Name: Goa Indian Farm Kitchen
Contact: Bayview Village Shopping Centre, 2901 Bayview Ave., 647-352-1661, goatoronto.ca, @goafarmkitchen
Neighbourhood: Bayview Village
Previously: Kabuki Japanese Restaurant
Owner: Hemant Bhagwani (Indian Street Food Co., Amaya)
Chef: Kamleshwar Singh (Indian Street Food Co., Amaya)
Two years ago, restaurateur Hemant Bhagwani was feeling burnt out, so he sold both Amaya and Indian Street Food Co. and went travelling. First he went to Lisbon, then he went back to his hometown, Delhi. From there, he decided to explore Goa, a southwestern state in India with a unique coastal cuisine influenced by its Portuguese colonial history and Christian population. “A Hindu family living across the street from a Christian family will do the same prawn curry differently,” explains Bhagwani, who spent six months living in Goa, cooking in people’s homes and learning about the region’s classic dishes, as well as what locals like to eat today.
Throughout his stay, Bhagwani worked on a Goan cookbook (which comes out this fall), and when he was offered a space in the mall, he figured that maybe Bayview Village was ready for upscale Indian, specifically contemporary Goan. Bhagwani has made sure the majority of the menu is gluten-free, and there are many vegan options (including a tasting menu), too.
As many diners will be driving to get to Goa, the alcohol-free options are on point. Mocktails like a guava-mint-coriander concoction are nice and complex, while on-trend thirst quenchers, such as ginger-lemon kombucha, cater to the uptown crowd. The 16-bottle wine list is dominated by Ontario and European wines, and over half the offerings are available by the glass. The tight cocktail card features classic recipes with Goan twists.
To make this 1,700-square-foot, 40-seat restaurant feel more like fine dining and less like mall dining, Bhagwani installed spotlights above every table. That way, the food is illuminated while the room itself stays broody and dark. Bhagwani fell in love with a church in Goa that had a curved ceiling, so he recreated the vaulted effect here.