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242-244 Upper Richmond Road
Serving Putney since 1993, this longstanding exponent of Goan and “amazing South Indian food” is still a family affair, with the owner’s mother taking her turn in the kitchen as well as visiting Tooting market for supplies. It’s not modern or trendy, but the “lack of pretension”, charming staff and reasonable prices more than make amends for any absence of modish cool. Traditional prints line the walls and the carefully annotated menus offer a fascinating selection of regional dishes far removed from the usual tikka masalas. Instead, there are “judiciously spiced” home-style recipes full of inventive textures and original flavours: try a little earthenware pot of hot-and-sour shrimps balchao with organic ‘whole-wheat’ bread, traditional pork vindaloo infused with palm vinegar or “mouth-tingling” Konkan-style chicken with Goan red masala. The spice-friendly wine list comes courtesy of the restaurant’s own merchant (Glug) next door.
Best restaurants in Putney
242-244 Upper Richmond Road
Putney Station 350m
East Putney Tube Station 578m
Goodrich Theatre 55m
Odeon Cinema Putney 575m
Mon-Fri 6-10.30pm Sat 11am-11pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Our annual Christmas gathering of university chums and partners saw us in Putney on the Saturday before Christmas with Ma Goa as the venue. Modern and trendy it may not be, but in terms of food quality, this restaurant definitely deserves to be up there, ranking among some of the tastiest Indian food recently sampled in London. Furthermore, all plaudits to the place for being able to accommodate a group of 15 of us, and with good attitude throughout proceedings. Ma Goa has been established for over 30 years and remains a family-run business. This is clearly evident based on the lack of pretention, the charming nature of the staff and – most importantly – the food, all of which is also priced reasonably. Starters are priced at around £5 and many mains can be found for £10. The food is a long way from the traditional and mundane. There are no bhajis or tikka masalas here; instead, more original and inventive cooking, primarily from the region of Goa (as one might expect) and based on homemade recipes. The overwhelming impression would be one of an explosion of flavours in each mouthful, a combination of inventive texture and a judicious use of spices from across the spectrum. I commenced with the ‘Balchao,’ a small earthenware pot of shrimps cooked in a wonderfully rich tomato sauce enhanced by a range of spices, both hot and sweet. For the mains, I selected the ‘Konkan-style’ Gallina chicken, small diced pieces of meat in a mouth-tingling piquant sauce. I also sampled my neighbour’s ‘Anardhana Raan’, an amazing dish of pot-roasted lamb shank, slow-cooked with tomato, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, pomegranate and red chilli. Vegetable sides also pleased, particularly the spinach and the aubergine, the latter cooked in a deliciously rich tamarind and coconut sauce. We all ended the evening well-pleased and certainly were I a Putney resident, then Ma Goa would make a strong case to be my local.
Food + drink: 3
A solid neighbourhood Indian that blows the trousers off your average high-street curry house. The atmosphere is low key and pleasant (in spite of the incongruously upbeat soundtrack) and the service consistently gracious and efficient. The food is just as reliable. The tandoori salmon starter is a particular favourite but both starters and mains are well spiced and good value, particularly if you go for the £10 for two courses, which offers plenty of choice and runs all evening (except Friday/Saturday). Takeaway comes in funky little bags made out of newspaper.
Quite simply one of the best Indians in town. Way above a 'curry house' yet without the pretentions of a posh Indian. Whilst I adhore a posh Indian like Amaya there are times when you just want an exceptional authentic Indian curry with a pint of larger. That is not to say that the cooking is simple and indeed there are regularly changing specials but it hits the spot well. Bright light decor makes it a top place to unwind after work. Certainly a hit with the Putney crowd.
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