We all have come across people who believe in being a master of one trade rather than being a jack of all. Ashok Bar & Restaurant also falls in the same category. Nestled in the by-lanes of Fontainhas, the Latin Quarter of Panjim, there is nothing striking about this place if you see it from the outside. Those just travelling by is most likely to miss it unless accompanied by a local who can enlighten them about this hidden gem.
Given the current times, it’s surprising that Ashok bar has no online presence or marketing strategy put in place and yet you are likely to find it packed with people during lunch and evening hours. It’s a typical no-frill place that is known for its authentic Goan food and cheap alcohol.
As you enter the place, you see simply laid down tables and benches which gives you a feel of entering a little school or college canteen rather than a restaurant and bar. On one side, the walls are lined with pictures of famous actors and political personalities who have visited Ashok bar in the past and that further authenticates how well known this place is. On the other side, you can see some alcohol bottles showcasing what they keep.
Coming to their speciality, Ashok is known for its Chicken Xacuti and keeping it very basic and simple, they haven’t tried to go overboard with their menu and focused on what they are good at and continue serving that.
People hoard in numbers to eat the Xacuti day in and day out. And it’s one of those places where you would find single men retiring after a long day at work, getting their drink fixed and eating a simple meal to return home happy. They would end up chatting with complete strangers or sometimes just enjoy a quiet drink on their own without a single word. It’s also a place where big political agendas are discussed amongst a group of colleagues or where gossip mongers sit and pass their time talking about anything under the sun. It’s a place where you would find random chatter and abrupt peals of laughter, a place that is another name of comfort to many in its own unique way.
Some come to relax and some for a fun time, whatever may be the reason, Ashok Bar welcomes one and all with equal warmth.
I remember when I went there for the first time, it just felt like coming to a known place, a place you have grown up with, a place that has a somewhat home-like feel where there are no pretensions, nothing artificial, just humbleness and purity. It has that kind of charm that makes you feel comfortable right from the word go.
The chicken xacuti indeed was very good, served with a Pao and a chilled beer on the side, it is one of the best examples of comfort food.
If you haven’t been to Ashok Restaurant & Bar yet, a visit is highly recommended.