What is it about Pan-Asian cuisine that people in Goa love so much? Granted, we don’t have that many decent restaurants for these but from the looks of it, we need more. The Oak Barrel is one place I definitely recommend visiting.
To be honest, I hadn’t heard much about the place except for a few mentions here and there. So there was a bit of apprehension at eating there. What if the food wasn’t good? I hate being disappointed when it comes to oriental cuisine. Fortunately, was extremely pleased with the stuff we ordered when we visited on Saturday night.
Ambiance at The Oak Barrel Goa
Upon entering the restaurant, the first thing that catches your eye is the fancy bar. Its backdrop is a light panel in the shape of flames shooting out from a grill laid with skewers. These are used to hold bottles of liquor.
The lower seating area consists of high chairs, pulled up to the bar and perfect for just hanging out and having a drink. There are more of these high chairs coupled with high tables for that informal vibe placed all around this level.
The upstairs has low tables in 3 sided booths with maybe 1 or 2 low chairs(these are really low, just for your information) at the end of the tables. The ambiance is very low key and soothing.
There is a pretty lantern and paper fan installation hanging from the centre of the ceiling. Otherwise, the decor isn’t anything over the top. It’s just very cozy although the low tables and chairs can be a challenge for some people.
Oak Barrel Goa also has live music on some nights. It’s best to stay up to date with these via their Facebook page so that you don’t miss out on some great music.
The Oak Barrel Goa’s Food
The restaurant serves a variety of Oriental, Thai and Japanese cuisines. To be honest, once we heard about the Japanese (sushi) we didn’t give much thought to the other stuff. Japanese cuisine is a very recent addition to the menu. The restaurant has an exclusive sushi menu, crafted by their team and their head chef who has the experience of the Taj hotels behind him.
The Oak Barrel Goa serves three kinds of sushi; Maki sushi (which is the one that most people are familiar with), Uramaki sushi (similar to Maki sushi but with the nori on the inside) and Nigiri (hand pressed sushi).
We tried the Chicken Tori Kachi Uramaki roll, the Philadelphia roll, and the California Crab Uramaki roll. My god! It was so good that there was absolutely no conversation every time we each ate one. The previous time we were there, my friends and I opted for the non-veg sushi platter that comes with four pieces of four different kinds of sushi. Again, also an absolute winner.
Don’t forget the wasabi and the soy-vinegar sauce for dipping to get that extra flavor which makes the sushi even yummier!
The Dimsums are pretty great also. We tried one in chicken, one in veg and one with lamb. That Dimsum dough just melted in the mouth and the fillings were really flavorful and mouthwatering. My recommendation would still be the sushi, though. 😛
Drinks and Dessert
So this isn’t a recommended combination. Drinks, especially the cocktails at Oak Barrel are really good. We tried the Sangria and something called Lady in Red. These are part of the Oak Barrel Specials. There are a few more with interesting names and ingredients like the Go Green, The Third Wheel and the Chocolate Barrel. Guess I need to make more trips to Oak Barrel for these.
Oak Barrel also serves up some truly great desserts. A repeated recommendation from other friends who have eaten at the restaurant was the Dark Chocolate Spring rolls. Oh. My. God. I think I died and went to chocolate heaven. All that ooey-gooey chocolate oozing out of the roll (*drool*). I have also heard that the Chocolate Brownie ice-cream is out of this world too. Next time, I guess!
So if you’re a complete sushi lover, go on and visit Oak Barrel Goa. I promise you, it’s sushi heaven (or as close to it that you can get!). The restaurant is located on the main road to Miramar beach, just before the Fortune hotel. You can’t miss it.
For those who would like to try making sushi, here is a video on how to make Maki or Uramaki sushi rolls. Click on the link for more.
Making Nigiri sushi is a different process. Watch the video to learn how to make some.