goa dec13-jan14 : day 2 – moonstar , om made , sher a punjab , arambol sunset , la tomatina , chapora

had breakfast at moonstar in anjuna north beach cliffs , always good here whenever we visit , simple food and decent prices with a stunning view . another using last years menus

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then went to anjuna beach for a while followed by “Om made” anjuna for some wraps, lovely little white place on beach, amazingly clean with good service and lots of homemade cakes . nom nom . they have certainly made a lot out of a tiny space , it puts others to shame . most of anjuna vagator is a sea of red dust and filth , and this palce really stands out in brilliant white .

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headed out of anjuna , past the new fruit seller

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Discovered a great Indian where locals eat and is always busy , was always busy last year too but never got round to eating here . Called ‘sher-a-Punjab’ in vagator , but dont expect it to be a clean place lol . part of it is set on gravel and dust , the tables look like they used to fix cars on them , absolutely rotten black grime . had chicken xacuti , Mrs had veg biryani . Really cheap too. Mrs is the curry lover and rated superb . the garlic naan is particularly good , roasted garlic that nobosy else seems to get right on a thin base . if you wherent tipped about this palce you probs wouldnt choose it , but the locals are right, this food is lovely !

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decided we would go to arambol beach for sunset . but first we would go via little vagator beach for a nose before we left to see what was going on this year . things have got quite busy there , loads more beds this year all along . Doesn’t feel as spacious or chilled , a bit cluttered maybe . probably our most visited places last year day and night , ‘Our shack’ still isn’t open there yet which is weird . Big new place we saw getting foundations laid last year has opened on cliff top called “waves” – very trendy looking well lit with glass balcony and a pool . prices aint cheep at 200r a beer but it ensures the tea bag sharing types wont visit , thank god . and “chronicle” is further along which promises even higher prices too so will check both out in coming days .

passed “mango tree” which had the usual daytime crowd getting pissed 24-7 lol .

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Sunburn site fenced off and closed off starting to build stages . Some temp ‘restricted access’ signs are up .

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so off we went to arambol beach thru chapora , love the vibe here . we affectionately call it “skid row” , its a tiny street of tiny dive bars and big characters . most of the people are russian , anything goes . its centered round a small temple in the middle of the main street , but there are other notable things nearby too .

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arrived at arambol and hung out on beach with the Sunset drummers being the highlight of every evening , nearby Russian men in matching thongs playing frisbee was without doubt the lowlight ! bohemian the overall summary . i guess it might be goa’s *#1 must do* for me arambol beach , full of people with the right attitude , far removed from wine wings and bingo .

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then the sun sets , always a great show on indias west coast ….

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and the Drummers start … went for about 1.5 hours starting about half hr before sunset. Fantastic atmosphere as usual . Was pretty busy on beach for the show . About a dozen drummers in total. batteries went so will put more pics up next time [see in a few days entries or last years if you want more pics or videos] . there is often a mini impromtu flea market on towels next to the drumemrs but they didnt set up today for some reason ?

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Epic fail for dinner tonite , what a laugh ! Let’s call it the 6 restaurant challenge lol . seriously I kid you not . it looked so promising too !!!

#1 Went to Spanish new place ‘La tomatilo’ for dinner , we where the only people in there 9pm . we came to spend good money and stay for a while drinking cocktails etc , and started with beers and excellent cinnamon spiced sangrias . things looked good but that is where the night kind of started and ended lol . Got served 2 uncooked starters and told waiters 3 times but they took no action and just got off each time back to bar to chat and did nothing at all ?? Wtf . Eventually after 15 minutes or so Mrs robster had enough of this messing about and returned the food in person to the kitchen to the chef who listened to her and took the plates . she returned back to the table hopefull , we waited some more , and more, and that was it . After sitting back at our table for an uneventful while we cut our losses realising we where fighting a losing battle here , and paid for 2 sangrias/beers we had , and left. we had come to spend a few thousand on food and cocktails , and if they can’t cook or take no interest in cooking starters or providing service , then staying for undercooked dinner wasnt an option . we where the only people in there , youd think between 4 of them one of them would take charge ?? clearly not . Its a new place for 2013/14 in the failed ‘a&p restaurant’ that opened last year , and at this rate I expect to see a new name over the door again next year ! such wasted potential , the cinnamon spiced fruit sangria was amazing too and comp nibbles a decent perk . Shame cos we really wanted it to work would have happily eaten here regularly in our month stay and tipped others to go too , so they have really lost out big time here . how do you say bye in spanish … oh yeh “ADIOS” .

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#2 Went several doors down to burger factory , cracking reliable quality burger joint . Had no vege burgers for Mrs so had to leave as theyd sold out . really good this joint too , eaten here a few times previously .

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#3 Decided to bozz up to vagator to a Moroccan called “Marrakesh” we read about before leaving on lonley planet and more . sounded interesting and had good comments . Its near ‘Simply Thai’ on the vagator back streets. struggled to find it and had to ask where it was in the thai , but was told it had closed down … over 15 years ago in 1996 ha ha . why is this on the net as if it isnt open !? and the thai place [which we didnt really like the menu last year] that had an excellent catchy name “simpy thai” is now called “simply thai – french” for 2014 which just doesnt sound right any more . we had a few mins convo and laugh about Marrakesh to the thai manager and what was odd was when we clearly had cash to spend and where hungry/wanting to eat the manager just let us walk away without even saying ‘would you like to see our menu’ . no wonder his restaurant was empty too , he is so pro active its unreal haha . so we jumped n the bike and left .

#4 Went to ‘terrace vagator’ instead even tho we left twice last year without eating for crap service . nota good start – place was empty , dark , no music , and the 5 waiters and chef where asleep on bean bags when we walked in. got a table but it was pitch black couldn’t see menus. Waiters Didn’t know menu and couldn’t tell us what things where , and 2 of them started disagreeing about things like vege nuggets with cheese sauce …. if it came with rice , potatoes , or anything . One of them just kept saying “its comes as whole” while the other said “no” to everything and both disagreed over things they couldnt read cos there where no lights which led to an argument between them at our table . that was enough so we left for the third time without ordering anything and they continued to squabble between themselves while the others went back to sleep on the beanbags. Like the Spanish place this was a lovely expensive place with expensive prices but empty . Its easy to see why thalassa slays the competition next door 400 people 3 sitting a day sold out ….. and easy to see why both these competitors like terrace and fusion are empty. owners take note your staff are a joke , your investment is wasted .tried to make this pterrace work for us cos we actually like the feel of the place and the music is great deep house in terrace , so go for a sunset beer they might not fuck that up πŸ˜‰

#5 losing the will to live we sacrificed high end places and went for the next place we found … ended up at ‘moonlight Tibetan’ which had a few people in , its in vagator near 9 bar . at this point id have egg n chips in candolim i was that starving lol !!! Could be a rough diamond hidden away we thought so just went for it … Food came out absolutely awful. Mixed veg cashew nuts in dishwater gravy.. horrendous , and we sent it back . I got chicken noodles which was equally tasteless but ate half cos my belly thought my throat had been cut . to describe the meal , imagine being 18 at uni and your flatmate woks up some slop , you get the idea . Told the owner/waiter neither dish was good , he said “some like it some dont” , laughed , and walked off ! HUH ? hey how does that work ? Avoid this place , shocking food and attitude ! funny how all of a sudden he stopped laughing and took an interest when I didn’t pay for the dish that was sent back .

#6 enough was enough , we went back to the “sher -a – Punjab” indian place for a dal dish and extras which was awesome . the waiter was happy we came back for the second time today , and so the circle completes …. that was the 6 restaurant challenge . Tomorrow we will do a quick hit and run to ‘the dark side’ [lol] and eat in baga to restore some faith in goan tourist aimed kitchens . there arent many solid stand out nice evening restaurants in anjuna/vagator – sakana and thalassa being noteable exceptions , plus a few shacks and cafes which are good but hardly an evening experience . on the whole its pretty lame , but good in a way i guess as it stops others invading the area πŸ˜‰ theres others like cafe lambretta , chronicle and waters but they will feature in later episodes .

after our ordeal we decided to do chapora’s dive bars for drinks , doesn’t half get quiet early here , its packed in the day around “jai ganesh juice centre” and all along the bar street , but quietens later which is surprising considering younger clientele. There where still a hand full of places open but not very busy. Its mostly Russians- here all the signs/posters are in russian mainly . Dirt cheap , 30 for honeybee shots is lowest I’ve found – welcome to “skid row” haha . Stayed for a few and left happy salvaging something from our evening hahaha . the one sad thing about chapora this year is “the last hippie bar standing” has vanished and now runs with a more mundane name that i cant even remember its that forgettable . it still stinks of sweat and stale beer but lacks the stand out name . lets pay homage to this classic chapora dive bar “the last hippie bar standing” .

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a new holiday saying was born tonite that we kept repeating all holiday when things arrived different – “comes as whole” . you know …. coffee with no coffee , cereal with warm milk , beans on toast with cold beans and onions and peppers , porridge thats uncooked oats with warm milk , fresh juice with tons of sugar , ‘beef burger’ made of lentils [not beef waiter / is beef sir / no its veg waiter / yes same as beef sir wobble] , or the old classic comedy cocktail straws complete with holes that dont work … “comes as whole” !! but cant help loving the place too , theres always something funny just about to happen and you never know what .

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One Response to goa dec13-jan14 : day 2 – moonstar , om made , sher a punjab , arambol sunset , la tomatina , chapora

  1. Nick M says:

    Great stuff as ever Rob. I found your blog invaluable last year when we visited Vagator and Palolem. We’ve skipped Goa this year but will be heading over next.

    Gutted about Our Shack not opening, that seemed to do OK while I was there.

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