This is a "Thaali". A very traditional Indian plate for eating food off. There are different kinds. Some come with built-in mini bowls. Restaurants that want to dive into the genuine Indian experience usually will have copper or copper plated plates. Goa restaurant has these.
You can see how much authenticity they have tried to push through on the table in the surroundings. The paper mat has a lot of Indian-ish symbols. The fork and spoons have copper handles. The heating lamp and curry "Kadai" are copper. And even the entree is served in a copper trident bowl-like thing which I have mostly seen in south Indian places.
The copper trident bowl thing is a complimentary appetizer. It is a small and popular crispy fried dough stick. It comes with "hari chatni", a green sauce made of mint and other herbs and a "laal chatni" which is a red sauce made of something spicy. Of course, I haven't tried the red one ever.
3 years back they used to serve this in a different contraption. But it is safe to say not much has changed in Goa restaurant since. Except for the QR menu thing, of course.
I believe there are only 2 Indian restaurants in Kharkiv that pursue such a high level of authenticity. Goa is the older and more seasoned one. However, it is not my favorite. There is an Arabic restaurant which has an Indian chef and by mere luck, I discovered that place had the most authentic and delicious tasting desi food.
Every small detail counts when you are surrounded by mediocrity. When the salt cellar and vase are traditional looking, the small touches add up and really bring in the vibe. Apart from that, Goa also hosts desi dance shows on the weekends. They have a nice parlor to wear different Indian costumes and shoot in. And while you are enjoying a succulent meal, you will be bothered by the parrots housed in the restaurant. It is a Gujarati thing, so I have heard.
I was out there with a work-related buddy. If anything, the dinner solidified my strong belief against spicy food. It is next to impossible to have a coherent and eloquent conversation with my face leaking from every crevice. Then there is the confusion that comes with trying to separate the taste of the food from the taste of the spiciness in your mouth. Not to mention all the huffing and puffing.
We ordered the Chicken Chilli, Paneer Kadai (cheese curry), Chicken Biryani, and a couple of Rotis (flat bread). I was very adamant that the chef be very careful with the spices and hotness. I was assured the spicy meter will be at the lowest possible bar. But man, I hate spicy. Yes, the hotness was pretty mild, but I hate that I have to struggle to appreciate the flavors hidden under the hotness.
This is what a portion of chicken biryani looks like. It comes with a bread lid. Yes, bread lid. You then cut out the bread like a pirate and find the golden biryani waiting inside. Fresh, aromatic, and delicious. I must say the biryani was excellent. Many places overdo the masala, but Goa has it right. Not too heavy, not too bland.
Overall, Goa hasn't disappointed me. Not once. The atmosphere is very authentic and quite a peaceful place. The seating is very comfortable and private. The food is good. It is a 10 out of 10 wif you can handle the heat.