Omidivan is an authentic Goan restaurant in Karama. Located in Building 2 of the Al Wasl Hub on 39th Street, the restaurant is easy to miss as its entrance is in one of the mini-courtyard recesses of the building (similar to The Meating Room). Step in and you’ll find a refreshingly cool environment, handsomely decorated in blacks and whites with framed pictures of Goa adding the only touch of colour. Nice.
Aside from the stereotypical prawn curry and vindaloo, there’s little else of Goan cuisine which I have tried, so I left it to my smiley waiter to order for me. He started me off with a Ros Omelette, which is basically an egg omelette in a fiery curry sauce. Add a dash of lime, a sprinkle of chopped onion and you’re good to go. I loved it and would go back for this famous Goan street food alone.
As I was dining alone, rather than order a number of dishes (which I would have to parcel and take away), he brought me an Omidivan Goan Special Thali. Called the Patrad, it consists of salad, a delicious dry prawn Kismur, fish curry, a spicy and tangy Ambotik, vegetable, a Shell Dry and a fillet of breaded and fried King Fish.
I didn’t particularly like the Shell Dry, which I think is the same as the traditional Tisrayanche Suke because delicious as it may be, it’s so awkward to eat; you either have to pick at each shell or put a spoonful of shells in your mouth (which reminded me of when I would fill my mouth with marbles as a boy). I didn’t like the fish curry either, not because it didn’t taste good, but because the piece of fish I got was the bony tail end which drove me nuts trying to clean. Why is it that I always get the same piece when I order a seafood thali? But the Kismur was excellent, the dry prawn flavour reminding me of the Burmese dry shrimp Balachaung my mum would make when we were kids. The fried Kingfish was perfectly fried.
I learnt there is more to Goan cuisine that what I’ve been having all these years. And I haven’t even scratched the surface. The service at Omidivan was super, the staff friendly and accommodating. My only criticism is that they were a little slow. Other than that, I wholeheartedly recommend this restaurant and look forward to returning to continue my culinary journey of Goa.
Waste NOT. Want NOT.