Bar Goa, River North’s clubby Indian gastropub and cocktail bar, has partnered with internationally renowned master Chef Bobby Geetha to serve as the restaurant’s executive chef and culinary consultant. He brings a heralded history of tutelage and menu development from Europe’s most acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurants and hotels like noma, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, A Belmond Hotel, and more. He is one of the most highly rated finalists in BBC’s Master Chef UK and has previously been the semi-finalist for the National Chef of the Year United Kingdom. Chef Bobby Geetha is the author of five cookbooks through his “Fine Dining Indian” culinary series and he is the founder of www.finediningindian.com, dedicated to the next generation of Indian cuisine.
He has won the Gold award for Hospitality Chef Excellence award in 2018, and he is now bringing this acclaim to Chicago via Bar Goa. Chef Bobby Geetha specializes in taking traditional Indian cuisine and combining it with both international techniques and local ingredients to elevate Indian menu offerings. He was drawn to Bar Goa due to the restaurant’s unique concept — Bar Goa is one of America’s only restaurants to serve Goan cuisine, representative of the culture along India’s sunny southwest coast of Goa. His role includes packing Bar Goa’s menu with even more Indian tapas and incorporating local ingredients from Illinois and Midwest farmers.
“I’m going to stick to the basics, listen to the local people, and use the locality to our advantage. I like to work around nature, and I like to source the best ingredients Chicago can produce into Bar Goa’s menu,” he says adding, “what we’ll end up with is Indian tapas with American ingredients, and that’s the target.”
Some of his menu additions are already available on Bar Goa’s menus. The restaurant recently started serving Keema Chili Fries after their first conversations with him. The tapa incorporates lamb keema for a topper to add variety. Diners may also be familiar with Bar Goa’s Cheesy Poi Bread, which has quickly become one of the restaurant’s most popular starters. He created the dish after trying out restaurants throughout Chicago and wanted to have a tearable, go-to starter for the menu.
“Ultimately, I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, but take what’s popular with the locals and push that boat out into Chicago waters,” says Chef Bobby Geetha. A new dish that will be added to the menu in January is a Black Bomb Samosa, inspired by his experiences in the UK. The dish is made with Black Bomber Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese from Snowdonia Cheese Company, unique to a district in the UK that produces it. The dish, shaped like a bomb, incorporates activated charcoal and turns up on the plate looking like a bomb. The samosa is also packed with sweet corn and other locally produced seasonal vegetables.
His ultimate goal is to elevate the Indian dining scene in America by using his modern techniques to enhance the experience. Diners should expect his full menu revamp with modern techniques to land at Bar Goa in early January. He will pack on much more Indian tapas to Bar Goa’s current offerings, such as Butter Chicken Croquettes, Pork Vindaloo Sliders, and more.