The Second House in Goa is a shape-shifting restaurant featuring moody AI art and shareable dishes
In a world full of food allergies and intolerances, just making a simple dinner can be very daunting. There is that friend who won’t touch meat on a certain day of the week or the person who can no longer digest wheat. Add to that the picky vegans, lactose intolerant, and unwavering vegetarians, and you have a sample collection of modern Indian dinners.
You might think that launching a restaurant built around group orders and an entirely shareable menu is nothing short of a disaster. But at the 8,500-square-foot The Second House in Goa, he has created a new way to eat and socialize in a post-Covid world.
Second House Dining is a mix of familiar small and large sharing dishes, is simple, casual and intimidating, offering an entertaining concept that encourages sharing. “Growing up in a small town in Jharkhand, my favorite food memories were sitting around the table and sharing food with my family. I also think that eating with two hands — the touch — brings up its sensory side,” says Chef Jyoti of the famous O Pedro Company, who developed the menu. The Second House International that goes from bibimbap to burrata in just two pages.
In fact, there are several aspects that set The Second House apart from the usual new restaurants in Goa today. Firstly, it is well off the restaurant belt in Assagau, where a very expensive new bar opened with great fanfare last month, attracting wealthy residents and tourists who have changed the DNA of this once sleepy village.
The Second House is located in Saligao, an isolated village that remains unspoilt in a way that seems unaffected by the real estate change that has turned most villages in North Goa into high-rise compounds and villas with plunge pools. “I knew we didn’t want to open a restaurant in an over-commercialized area,” says restaurateur Deshant Pritamani, founder of Luna Hospitality, who was drawn to this quiet neighborhood of shimmering rice paddies and narrow lanes with India. Porto homes.
Brittamani is a cute face you’re likely to meet at The Second House any day. Known for his establishments like The Daily and Tsuki in Mumbai and Pune respectively, he possesses this mystical cosmic energy that only hospitality suppliers seem to have. Few are wrong with his eyes, whether it’s a customer’s hand indicating the air conditioner is too cold, or a look back when the music drifts or a napkin is folded the wrong way. “Second Home is a place born out of my OCD,” he jokes, noting his attention to detail in the food, service and design of the place.
And he found an equal partner in architect Ayaz Basrai of Busride Design Studio, with whom he had previously worked on his first project, The Daily All Day in Mumbai, a decade earlier. Signs of this subtle collaboration are evident in the design of The Second House, which is an ode to old village charm in a thoroughly modern setting.
Saligao, whose center of attraction is a neo-gothic church (mae de dios) and culinary hero, Chicken Caféreal (a Florentine bar and restaurant), has long been home to an illustrious list of creatives (artist FN Souza, stage musician C Alvares, Konkani singer). Lorna Cordero was a famous resident). In this sense, The Second House in Goa – primarily a contemporary restaurant, which transforms throughout the day into a digital art gallery, a conservatory with a reading corner, a green café, and an after-hours concert venue – is a great place to be. Honoring the village’s heritage of musicians and artists. “We designed it in such a way as to make it variable,” says Basrai. “With Dechant, it wasn’t just a design brief, but rather a series of conversations about what makes a progressive restaurant today,” Basrai adds.
The answers reveal themselves in various corners of this carefully restored 108-year-old bungalow. Bosra worked with the old rules and reorganized them to create different areas and micro patterns so that the dining experience is far from homogeneous. The multi-faceted space includes a balcony overlooking a quiet lane, a temperature-controlled conservatory perfect for brunch, a sumptuous mezzanine dining area for private dinners, and a larger-than-life food and dance hall.
At the entrance, a wrap-around porch with sobu (built-in seating) and its bar is the smoking pool, which comes decorated with AI-generated imagery of village life and features an ubiquitous antique TV set as its mascot. “One of the things we wanted to do with The Second House was to keep it around Saligao, and less about Goa and its beaches,” adds Basrai, who has fidgeted with Midjourney, an AI tool for converting text to image, for six months. This photo gallery.
Inside, behind the central cocoon-shaped reed bar, is a 20-foot-high wall where three projectors are synchronized with immersive displays from the natural world (flowers and birds) and the architectural world (mosques, temples, and churches). On the mezzanine floor, a quintet of screens, enlivened with scenes of flora and fauna, serve as the opening shot to the Experimental Force’s tour of Basra – Mad MaxLight fixture designed from a collection of 20 old TV screens, radios, and boom boxes. “I call this the digital candlelight supper room,” adds Basrai, who sourced the inventory from junk shops via Barra and Panjim.
While it’s not new for restaurant walls to become exhibition displays (Siolim’s Hosa restaurant has been linked with Chennai’s Apparao gallery for its shifting art), The Second House is Goa’s first restaurant designed with digital art in mind – a medium that can be tricky. Especially due to frequent power outages in the state.
Here, the surrounding expectations are diffused in a way that never seems overwhelming. If the idea is to design a visually immersive space, the team still has some work to do as the visuals seem secondary, and hardly annoying. “The visual arts program is kept as an addition to the restaurant,” says Pritamani. “The projections have influenced the designs, but the space design works without the visuals as well,” adds Basrai, who has built an environment that combines architectural thinking with artificial intelligence. “With The Second House, I wanted to create a place that highlights and fosters this emerging community of visual artists, who often work in the shadows of musicianship,” Basrai adds.
Perhaps it is this shifting appeal of The Second House, being something more than a restaurant, that draws groups to dine, meet and linger under the gorgeous sunlit glass house – undoubtedly a timeless piece of architecture and certainly the most Instagrammable spot.
A spirit of camaraderie illuminates the design and menu. The second house looks like a grand house that Pritamani’s family and friends put together — the mezzanine floor houses a cozy library, tastefully decorated with folders and art motifs by interior designer Manmeet Arora of Loc Design House. Throughout the indoor and outdoor areas, there’s music curated by business partner and musician Nikki Ramnani, and waiting staff in crisp white uniforms by fashion designer Rhea Pillai Rastogi (also Pritamani’s wife), who is soon to launch her own resort wear boutique, roam the space. Oshin is in the second house.
Echoing this spatial diversity is a list so large and vast that it is difficult to categorize. Perhaps what they have in common is Chef Jyoti’s blend of culinary practices gained from kitchen stints across India, Egypt and Indonesia. In his hands, powerful competing flavors seemed to cooperate. Take Not So Balchao, a dish that adds Thai and Indonesian undertones to one of Goan’s staple dishes. Accompanied by a very soft felt topping, it makes Goa’s favorite bread even more palatable. “In Egypt, I learned about the technique of breading baladi bread, which reminded me of poi. For this menu, I decided to slow ferment the hair like baladi for 36 hours.
In a large group, unless you’re ordering the entire small plates menu, I’d prioritize the salmon toast, a buttery brioche in which a piece of pink salmon is seductively gathered around creamy egg yolk jam and wasabi ponzu. There’s also the signature kimchi cutlet (also available in crispy pork form), where an array of accompaniments (jalapenos, shredded vegetables, and spicy tamarind sauce) come to the table for you to assemble yourself.
If you start with a chronology, the first dish, PT&G (peanuts, tomatoes, granola), is one of those hit snacks that proves so addictive that it makes you forget about group dining etiquette. You’ll end up scraping this dish which the chef admits took longer to crack. In the dessert department, a breakfast bowl might seem like the last thing you order, but at the end of the day it’s the dish you can fight over to the last.
It’s not all right, togarashi beef tart is good finger food, but it doesn’t leave you with an explosion of flavor in your mouth. Same with the underloaded Chorizo Fugias, which leaves a lot to be desired for Goan sausage lovers.
For drinks, start with the Paloma Meets Picante, a cocktail that features an intriguing chemistry of tequila, grapefruit, and jalapenos. Sour watermelon tequila topped with salt, that stays on the tongue and stays in your memory, and Clarified Bee’s Knees, a milk wash milk concoction with a honeycomb attached to the top like a crown, are other cocktails you won’t mind stealing sips from your friends.
A wise chef once said, “You learn a lot about a person when you share a meal together.” it’s the truth. Chef Jyoti’s offering of exquisite sharing platters – be it a delicious aubergine hummus or a whole fish indulgent enough for our group of seven – is fertile ground for simple acquaintances to turn into lifelong friends.
Second House, Modavadi, Saligao. Meal for two (including alcohol) INR 2,500; Open all days. 12 noon to 1 am. For reservations, call: +91 8530266603
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