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Cafe Lilliput

The view from the upper deck

 

Chill Out, store Dance, Eat, Groove

Imagine lying on a sunbed, soaking in the sun and chilling out with a beer… You gaze into a vast expanse of the Arabian Sea in front of you. As you take in the view and laze around it begins to feel good. The feeling gets amplified with house music that is floating in the air. You realize with the crash of a wave that life doesn’t really get better than this…

It all began in 1986 with one table, two chairs, and some samosas and cutlets, with Café Lilliput among just four restaurants dotting Anjuna beach. Yes, that’s right. Café Lilliput’s been around for 28 years, one of the oldest establishments of its kind in the state. With its chill-out vibe in the day and house music at night, and incredible staying power through nearly three decades, it’s become something of a Goan institution.

Today, the restaurant stretches over 2,500 square feet, with eight cottages, a discotheque, a bar, dining and seating on an upper deck with a pool table – for a total capacity of over three hundred people.

Elegant sofas sprawl out with a view to the sea. One can sit inside or move out to a verandah. Tables for two dot terraced platforms overlooking the waves. It’s the right place to catch some refreshing sea breeze and curl up in your seat. There is a delightful sense of comfort here, a perfect symphony of sound, sight and sense.

You order yourself a chilled draught beer. Apparently Café Lilliput serves the “best beer” in Anjuna, says Marco from Spain, who’s been coming to the café for the last 10 years. Raj, one of four brothers who own Café Lilliput, says with a warm smile, it’s just Kingfisher. I guess it must be the charm of the place that makes it taste the best for Marco. He explains that he came all the way from Spain for Raj’s sister’s wedding and again for Raj’s daughter’s first birthday. He’s one of the many people who have been completely heart warmed by the Café Lilliput family.

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Sunbeds outside Cafe Lilliput

 

Graham Baker, from England, tells me that he loves the fact that this place is clean, safe and peaceful. It has just the “right tempo”, he says. He is here on holidays, a professional deep sea diver by occupation, he thinks Café Lilliput’s the bomb. He spends the day lounging around on the deck, helping himself to some great sea food and going for a number of swims in the sea.

I look around and see people from all over the world. I ask Raj what he thinks is so attractive about Café Lilliput? He pauses for some time to reflect, and then starts talking about the food. He recommends the sea food, particularly the grilled fish. Café Lilliput has its own cooks from all parts of India, including Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, and a few from Nepal. He also says that his own family is involved in the kitchen, upholding the quality at every turn.

Incredibly, Raj was only eleven when he first started picking up the threads of the business. He muses back on the carefree days of a bygone era. Nowadays, the competition is stiff and he has a lot more on his plate than he did before. He’s grateful that he has his family by his side, and he emphasizes that family bonds are at the core of Café Lilliput. Raj runs the place along with his three brothers – Ramachandra, Ajay and Vijay Salgaonkar. He says a good clean heart, along with the personal touch people feel at Café Lilliput, is also behind the place’s success.

There is another thing which makes Café Lilliput particularly attractive – good music. They play house, lounge, reggae, pop, chill-out and commercial music. The café also has a place for live music and has had artists from Spain and America, among other places. Recently Goa Streets teamed up with Café Lilliput to bring a fabulous DJ/Percussionist duo, Hamza and Manu Idhra, to a packed house of revelers.

Trance isn’t played at Café Lilliput, something of a welcome relief from other shacks in the area that belt out 150 beats per second.

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Graham tells me that when he’s far out at sea and he turns to look back at the beach, he feels Café Lilliput is the most beautiful restaurant on the shore. And this is one place where beauty is not just about looks.