On the way from Vasco to Colva to Red Ginger’s new location, I noticed near-empty streets. It seemed like everyone had opted for a Sunday afternoon of telly or Netflix. It’s difficult to find consistently open restaurants these days and always a good idea to call beforehand. But Red Ginger was definitely open; the good folks there waiting to greet us with a thermal gun. Even that is somewhat comforting these days. It makes you feel mighty safe. Speaking of which, hospitality staff across the country must be exhausted trying to make this process cheerful.
I’ve been to Red Ginger earlier, but this new location is quite spiffy. There is a nice sit-out, a lovely interior and cozy looking first floor. We take a seat inside and find ourselves surrounded by a riot of grinning little Buddha statuettes that adorn the walls and interiors. I appreciate the well-stocked bar and the curious looking Oriental artefacts that are a fitting ode to the Asian continent.
The menu is accessed through QR code. Restaurants must now come up with creative ways to display their QR code and Red Ginger’s is placed most inventively on wooden blocks. The menu is impressive and traverses Asia like a backpacker on the run.
The cocktail menu at Red Ginger is interesting. There are feni cocktails and my ever so experimental companion chooses a Cazulo Granita, while regular me settles for a perky cosmopolitan. We walk up to the bar and watch the bartender mix the Cazulo Granita. A pain-staking process for those who are interested.
A concoction of cashew fenny, gently stirred with lime and sugar and garnished with frozen raspberries, this Cazulo Granita looks like a work of art and tastes like the work of an expert mixologist. We’re impressed.
For starters, we choose the Red Ginger sesame prawns and the Chicken Dumplings. The prawns served with a salad in vibrant hues of red and green, are a textural delight. The dish is intensely comforting and I love the way the silken pieces jolt my taste-buds each time I introduce a spoonful to my mouth.
The dumplings are served piping hot and fully flavoured. You lift the lid to reveal pearly cream skin that gives way to chunks of butter-soft chicken. The meat courts my tongue. Bliss surges through my veins. All of a sudden, I am ten years old again tucking into my very first dumpling.
For main course, we share a good-as-heck Thai red curry and a humble bowl of rice. A delicious blend of strong flavours, the spices were perfectly balanced to create one raver of a meal. The red curry is not just multi-layered, but so intense that you mop it up until its last stain. It’s definitely one of the areas where this restaurant earns its stripes.
Red Ginger feels like a pianist trying to find its rhythm again after its relocation. The tables were not full, the ambience was slightly somber, but we’re grateful that it’s open. Well, nothing is perfect anywhere these days, but at least the kitchen fires are burning and the doors are open. It’s a good start. As far as the prices are concerned, while I wouldn’t suggest that they are giving food away, I would definitely argue that there is value here.
Red Ginger, no doubt, takes all the anxiety out of the quest for quality Asian cuisine. It’s impressive without being ostentatious. And in these uncertain times, I’d definitely take it lock, stock and chopsticks.