As the sun makes its way down in the best, and the waves on the beach start to rise up in tide, the evening starts to get younger in Colva, South Goa. With the gentle coastal breeze, the streets start bustling up with travelers, who have come from across the globe, for an invigorating beach retreat. At a distance, though, our senses distract with the aroma of soothing barbecue in the air, that draws our feet involuntarily to the ‘Shawarma Hut’, a small shack on the street near Colva Beach.
The chef pumps the burners to ignite the red and yellow flames which gently heat the marinated meat on the aluminium steak at the centre. A thin crust of lemon on top adds the tangy flavor to the slices of meat below, as they heat up in the crimson flames behind.
The foodies wait impatiently as the chef savors the meat with his exquisite Arabian spices and flavors. When I ask him, ‘How much time will it take?’, he replies with a smile on his face- ‘Another 15 minutes, please’. The crowd is pouring in now and he is not able to handle it alone. In fact, he has viciously diverted the customers going to the other restaurants with his flamboyant kitchen and exotic aroma.
He then rapidly spreads the rolls on his aluminium platter, layers them with rich white yogurt, lots of salads and spices, and of course, his Shawarma Meat sandwiched in between. By now, my hunger is at its zenith, and I feel I would not be able to hold back any further.
About The ‘Shawarma Hut’
Everyday, this small shack serves somewhere between 100-150 customers, within a span of just 3-4 hours. The peak time here is in the evenings. Why? Is it the taste? Or is it that the shop is less crowded this time? No- in fact it is the other way round. In fact, it is because the customers enjoy the preparation more than the food itself. How the flame glows up the steak at the centre is an interesting thing to view, and how the chef’s hand runs rapidly, making several rolls one after the other, seems a record in itself.
Review of Shawarma Hut
Here’s a quick review of the shack.
- Taste: 9/10: Awesome. Period!!
- Price: 9/10: A typical roll will cost you Rs.70/- and is a heavy filler for one.
- Service: 8/10: Give the guy a break. He works single handed, yet he maintains his cool as he serves his customers. And trust me on this, after all that waiting, the taste is worth it!
- Accessibility: 9/10: Exactly at the place where it is supposed to draw maximum attention. Across the street on the way to the Colva Beach. Kudos for that.
- Delivery: 7/10: Sorry folks. You will have to walk up to the spot.No home deliveries here.
- Hygiene: 8/10: The chef cooks with his gloves on, the spices and add-ons are well organized, and the place is clean while he serves. The yogurt is fresh and so are the salads and meat.
- Addressing the Customers: 9/10: Despite being crowded with people from all sides and everyone asking for his bite, the guy remained super-cool and continued without being perturbed. Great hospitality.