When Floyd Cardoz launched Bombay Canteen in 2015, the Art Deco-inspired space serving up inventive Indian cuisine set a new bar for Mumbai’s nightlife. At O Pedro, his new Goan fine-dine where lesser-known treats from the Sunshine State challenge you to a new sensory experience, that bar has arguably been raised.
The mission Cardoz set himself was to teach the world that Goan cuisine has more to offer than prawn curry and sausages. “Most travellers consider Goan cuisine to be one enjoyed on the beaches or shacks with a local beer, but it is so much more than that. As we did with The Bombay Canteen, we went into the details of not just the cuisine but the culture as well. We looked at every aspect of why people loved Goa and tried to bring that to life”
To think and cook like Goans, the team decided to live like Goans. They spent time eating in haunts frequented by discerning locals, visited homes to understand their culture around alcohol, even learning to make the classic ‘poee’ bread because as Cardoz puts it, “bread is very important to everyone in Goa.”
Such an endeavour towards authenticity would need to be supported by the physical space itself. And who better than Ayaz Basrai of Busride Design Studio, whose efforts would be ably aided by him having recently left the chaos of Mumbai for the Goan village of Sucorro.
“We work best when we’re aligned with a mood as opposed to a strict theme,” Basrai explains, insisting that he wanted to infuse the space with nostalgia without falling for cliches… “In this case, it was the sultry, brightly lit, languid nature of Goa. We wanted the space to be sedate, because when the food is this good, you don’t need to hide behind theatrics.”
So instead of bright turmeric walls and Mario Miranda murals, you’ll see vaulted ceilings, a muted palette and terracotta-hued tiles, inspiration that he picked up on a field trip to the 350-year-old Menezes Braganza house in Chandor.
What Basrai is most excited about is the scope for evolution. As the menu becomes more personal and nuanced, so too, he hopes, will the space. It’s why he’s still collecting artifacts that might find their way into O Pedro. “We didn’t want to just fill it with knick-knacks from the beginning itself, that would feel superficial and gimmicky,” he explains. “Like the food, I wanted everything you see in the space to have a story behind it.”