Viva O’ Viva is located in the premises of Goa Niwas. Goa Niwas is the official state guest room in the capital city of New Delhi. The state guest houses have a canteen which serves cuisine local to the state at affordable rates. For foodies, it provides a unique opportunity to enjoy the state food culture at its best. State Bhavans like Andhra Bhavan and Gujarat Bhavan has swept us off its feet by their food magic. While state bhavans like Rajasthan Bhavan do have some catching up to do. So what does Goa Niwas offer us as far as the elusive Goan food is concerned.
Location of Viva O’ Viva
This restaurant is located within the premises of Goa Niwas. There are two state guest rooms located next to each other. Bihar Niwas and Goa Niwas. Both at a wonderful and peaceful location. Follow the Google Maps very closely and you will reach the destination without any problems.
The restaurant is located on the ground floor right next to the reception counter which is to the right as you enter the huge glass doors. There is ample parking inside the premises of Goa Niwas. They generously allow parking of outside vehicles who come to visit the restaurant.
Ratings for the canteen
Zomato has an average of 3.8 out of 5 for this place. This rating places this restaurant at a mediocre position. I would be stepping on some toes when I rate this at 5 out of 5. Delhites mostly know about Goan food due to the numerous holiday trips they would have made to Goa. Out of these scores of people a few must have had the fortune to stay and eat in some local homes as part of the homestay schemes which are gaining lots of attention these days. So I wont blame Delhites if they rate this restaurant a 3.8. Yes food is bad, tableware is not upto the mark, lots of items left around everywhere, service may be slow, ambiance not that great, and so on. But the place which serves Bombil or Bombay Duck fish fried in rava or suji. Or the place which serves Goan Pork Sausages which is not on the menu but still available is 5 out of 5 in my books.
About the restaurant
At first glance, it is easy to dismiss the interiors as too messed up and crowded. But to a photographers eye, this place is a paradise. Each item has a story to tell. More about that later. I will visit this place once again to click a lot of photos.
Seating is basic. So are the tables. Remember this is a state run canteen. The aim is always affordable but yet local state food. Service is nice. It might take some time due to the intricacies involved in cooking fish. With a nice music playing the background, you are ready for a good meal.
Why the food is rated so high
Delhites are familiar with a certain range of fish like pomfrets, prawns, rohu and so on. The rare and exotic variety of fish are either prohibitively expensive or just not available. Plus the cooking procedure might be a bit of complexity. If everything goes well, it might hit a speed breaker at the point of how to break a crab fish shell or the fangs.
All those rare variety of fish are not only available here, but they are prepared well. Some fish is brought in all the way from Goa. This is a feat in itself. Most of the items on the menu were available. They surprisingly tasted good and fresh. We ordered the bombil fry or Bombay Duck fish. This variety of fish is very popular in the coastal belt between Mumbai and Goa. The fish has soft and almost translucent flesh with an equally soft bone at the center. It can be fried or curried fresh. It is also dried off which tastes equally good. The dehydrated version can be grilled off a flame. While this fish is easily cooked at home, the case is not so with restaurants. In a restaurant setting this fish preparation goes for a toss. Which is why we were pretty surprised to see this on the menu here in Delhi and were zapped by its preparation. Full marks there.
The next feat on the menu or off it is the pork sausages. Again brought in all the way from Goa, this food item is prepared in two parts. First comes the preparation of the sausage which is a delicate and intricate process. The meat is packed in bags with the fat in the core. It is then half cooked or prepared in an elaborate process and sold as sausages. Once in a home kitchen or a restaurant, these sausages are cooked or grilled in a thick gravy. No or very little oil is used in its preparation as the fat melts and its juices soak the gravy with some delicious goodness. It is just happen chance that we asked if sausages were there and the management was generous enough to cook for us. WOW what an experience.
Finally after having a good seafood meal, you can finish off your meal with dessert. This part also have a few Goan surprises. The best seafood meal you can have in Delhi. We will be making a number of trips in times to come. And oh yes, I almost forgot. This restaurant does not accept any card payments.