At the time, Thalassa had not uprooted from its original location, nor had the pandemic prompted exhausted townspeople to warm up to the sight of the village’s rolling fields.
The Siolim, which restaurateur Rohit Khattar, founder and president of EHV International and Old World Hospitality – he runs Indian Accent in Delhi and New York, Comorin in Gurgaon and more recently, Koloman in New York – inherited is not entirely does the same. It’s now a buzzing pincode, thriving with new residents, who find its proximity to Assagao’s multitude of restaurants as appealing as its accessibility to North Goa’s beaches.
In the narrow alley of Vady, Khattar’s Hosa, which means “new” in Kannada, is one of the first restaurants to welcome you with its powder blue facade. From the outside, Hosa looks like a manicured Goan Portuguese house, but step inside and a dazzling 14-foot bar (with over a hundred bottled grapes sure to attract status-conscious barflies) is just the starting point for an elegant and modern design. space that dissects room after room to accommodate 100 guests in the company of big names in art.
Inside Hosa, Goa
Khattar’s sister, Rohini Kapur, who is the design director of her hotel group, worked with architect Ashley Mascarenhas to restore the space – previously a boutique hotel – beyond its former glory. Handcrafted tiles with graphic patterns on the floor, warm wooden furniture and understated artwork on the walls (currently 35 stunning works of art by South Indian artists – from Laxma Goud to Ravinder Reddy – from famous galleries Apparao from Chennai) make the restaurant experience feel like being entertained in the home of a wealthy and tasteful host. Outside, a small open-air seating area overlooks the Chapora River, where locals happily cram each year to watch a boat parade during São João. “When I decided to open a restaurant in Goa, I knew it would not be a place for the Comorian or the Indian accent,” confirms the reluctant Khattar, whose reputation as a restaurant mogul is not as well known as its restaurants.
If Khattar means that Hosa isn’t the kind of place young people would only go if their parents paid, he’s right. But it’s also not the kind of South Indian restaurant where you would dig, all together, into a wholesome plate of sambar vada. For one thing, there is no sambar-vada. “With the setting, interiors, service and of course the quality and presentation of the cuisine, we hope to elevate the stereotypical South Indian restaurant experience,” says Khattar, who has been driven to explore the culinary diversity of the South beyond the familiar. Through his service, Hosa eschews the rigid straightness that most fine dining spaces have made their signature. Instead, a casualness exudes from the waiters – dressed in light coconut-patterned shirts – which allow for light moments of banter between meals.