Restaurant Review: Go Panda, Andheri Lokhandwala, Mumbai – 3.5/5 Stars

When Yash Chandiramani who is one of the founders of Go Panda called me for the food review endeavor, I was expecting to meet someone in his mid-thirties; however, on reaching the venue, the sight of a young, exuberant, and jubilant entrepreneur surprised me. Twenty three year old and an engineering dropout – left it after the first two years – he understood that engineering is something he would not like to pursue, and, as a result, he switched to business management. In a nice bit of serendipity, my encounter with someone who is so clear regarding his venture, ambitions, goals, future plans and investments, funding etc. was very productive, and I enjoyed every part of our winsome conversation where he briefed me about all the aforementioned aspects and his other business venture known as White Knight which specializes in promoting and marketing nightclubs, concerts, events, and brands. His comprehensive style with which he explained his Go Panda – his third business venture – was truly captivating, and his passion about the same was very alluring. The feeling of “Youngistan” was prevalent at this not so fine dining restaurant where the entire team except the chef is below 25 years of age, surprisingly.

Go Panda specializes in Pan Asian cuisine which, to some extent, is fused with other cuisines, and the concept of Sandwiches in the menu got my immediate attention. Sandwiches that too in a Pan Asian style sounded very interesting. As already mentioned, it is not a fine dining restaurant because their focus is to home deliver gourmet food; however, they do have a casual seating space both inside and outside the restaurant. The sight of live kitchen gives a feeling of cleanliness. As Yash mentioned to me, they perform regular quality control checks and make sure that their kitchen is clean. Their service is also quite efficient. Overall, I had a nice experience. Let’s have a review in detail.

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Food: 3.5/5

Phathimlai Potatoes

Sauteed in Pan Asian style along with some curry leaves, these fried potatoes were tangy as well as a tad sweet. The spice level was fine and was going well with the other flavors. Generally, people complain about the sogginess in this dish; however, I beg to differ because crispy potatoes will become soggy once they are sauteed in any kind of sauce. Flavors were good, and I liked the dish; however, I would have preferred some more flavors.

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Asian Barbecue Paneer

Again, a mild sweetness and a twist of kung pao, this dish consisted of Paneer cubes sauteed in barbecue sauce.  It had curry leaves, and I really liked the overall flavors. I liked the preparation, and the dish tasted good on my palate. Flavorful, perfect spiciness, mildly sweet – this is how I would like to describe this dish. The flavors were much better as compared to the Phathimlai potatoes. A good quality Paneer for sure as it was not chewy and was fine as per my preferences. However, some people prefer a tad chewiness in this kind of dish, and they might present this as a concern. Yash told me that they went to 15 vendors and then finalized one for the supply of the Paneer.

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Khow Suey

This is my favorite  and is one of the signature meals at Go Panda. I was eagerly waiting for it, but this – not so perfect – dish had some concerns. It had a smidgen of the following vegetables: beans, broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, caramelised onions etc., and it looked very appetising. Served in a pot, the dish was visually very appealing, but the taste was not great due to missing flavours. The overpowering taste of coconut milk along with sweetness were the only two things I could taste in this dish. That’s all. Spiciness was missing big time, and I was expecting some more flavours as well. I gave this feedback to Yash, and he mentioned that the team will work on this. Also, it had more of noodles and vegetables than the curry, and the entire dish became very thick. The balance between the vegetables and the coconut curry was missing; however, Yash mentioned to me that in the case of a home delivery, they pack all the items – vegetables and noodles – in a Khow Suey separately; hence, the customer can add them as per his preference. The ingredients were good, the preparation was fine, but due to the missing flavors, the dish did not come together as a whole.

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Asian sloppy joe with Paneer

The category of Pan Asian sandwiches was something new for me. As the name says, the sandwich did look sloppy, and it had a stuffing of Paneer cubes which were prepared or sauteed in Teriyaki along with a very minor flavor of Wasabi. It was little bit grilled and had the layers of cheese. In all honesty, I found the sandwich to be okay, and the flavors were average.

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Oreo brownie

At last, the dessert. The idea of outsourcing the dessert part sounded a very smart move to me, and, in all honesty, I was impressed. This shows that their focus is food, and they would like to concentrate on this aspect for the time being. The brownie with a face of Panda on the top was appropriate as per my preferences, and I liked it. Nice chocolate flavor and less sugar content forced me to enjoy this dessert.

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Value for money: 3.5/5

The food is fine and affordable. The portion sizes are also big; hence, I would like to give 3.5 out of 5 in the value for money aspect.

With some improvements in the food, I would definitely like to experience it again. Also, I would like to wish Yash Chandiramani all the best for this Go Panda endeavor and thank you for inviting me for this food review session.

Overall rating: 3.5/5 – Good experience. With some improvements, would like to visit again.

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