Are you a pizza lover and a true foodie who loves a unique dining experience? Then we suggest you grab a cup of tea, empty your schedule and sit back because we are about to take you on a Shoonya ride. Shoonya is one of our favourite pizza joints to visit in Goa. Why might you ask? Well we are sure you’ve eaten a lot of pizzas, but how about a D.I.Y. Pizza in Goa? That’s right, the pizza is made just your way with the help of the chef. You can select from types of sauces to cheese varieties to different toppings with over 30+ options, so the combinations are infinite!! And this not just for the pizzas, you can do the same with pastas and salads too at Shoonya.
The founder of Shoonya, Tushar Gupta has been a fan of Goa for years and he finally decided to bring authentic Neapolitan style pizzas and pastas and other delicious food to Anjuna, Goa in a totally unique way. Eat, Drink, Work, Play, Shop and just Repeat!! Doesn’t that sound like a perfect evening in Goa? All this is possible at Shoonya in a cozy setting. Along with their interesting food and beverage menu, they also have games to keep you and your friends entertained, a good wifi connection and stationery to work from there and an attached boutique store to shop some unique and stylish apparels.
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This place truly lives up to its tagline ‘Why Be Boring’, by bringing in a new style to the dining experience in Goa. We must not forget about their delicious American Rice Bowls (inspired from a cart located in Manhattan), and Gourmet Burgers which are to die for. Along with a fantastic food experience, Shoonya also has endless offers and events throughout the week with very interesting and quirky names. We particularly love the Gourmet Burger Challenge where you need to complete a juicy gourmet burger in 60 seconds or less to get the whole burger on the house.
At Goan Insider, we had a chat with the bubbly Shoonya owner, Tushar regarding the endless possibilities he has for his novel brand in the coming future. So what is it like to own a pizzeria with so many possibilities? Read below to find out.
What is the inspiration behind Shoonya, and what made you want to open up shop here in Anjuna, Goa?
Shoonya is a supreme state of awareness where everything comes to ‘zero’ before being created anew. After shutting down outlets in Mumbai and Pune due to Covid, I arrived at zero, and hence decided to create a new identity in Goa with a new eatery, hence the name Shoonya.
Goa has always fascinated me as a tourist and the pandemic was the time I could explore it from a work point of view. Goa’s story started in the 1960’s when it was discovered by Hippies and it became the centre for backpackers and trance parties. Since then, a lot has evolved and today there is no state like Goa in India and according to me, this is where life comes full circle. Its a place full of positivity, greenery and amazing people.
So I would like to have a new start from a place which gave Goa its identity.
There are a few other venues in the area. What do you feel sets you apart from the others?
With our tagline ‘Why Be Boring’, we bring in a new style to Goa by serving original Neapolitan style Pizzas & Pastas, American Rice Bowls (inspired from a cart located in Manhattan), and Gourmet Burgers which are to die for. At ‘zero’ the possibilities are endless once you begin to create something from scratch. That is why we offer a ‘DIY’ experience at Shoonya with our Woodfired Pizza’s, Salads, and Pasta’s in what we call ‘Your Food Your Way’. The variety of options we offer gives an opportunity to our customers to create endless combinations by themselves – a true fun foodie experience.
If you were a customer in your own cafe, what would you order from the menu?
Oh this is a tricky one now!!
Pizza Margherita is my all-time favourite and a comfort food. I can eat it for breakfast as well as to satisfy mid night hunger pangs. When super hungry, definitely a Crispy Chicken or Fish Burger or even an American Rice Bowl are my go to options.
Tell us a little about the ‘Your Food Your Way’ concept at Shoonya
We offer a fully customisable Pizza, Pasta and Salad menu to our customers. Customers can select from types of sauces on their pizza to cheese varieties to different toppings. We offer 30+ options, so the combinations are infinite!!
Same goes for our Salads and Pastas. For instance, you start by selecting the pasta type, then the sauce and then choose from a list of veggies and meats to be tossed with your pasta.
What would be your other menu highlights?
Every dish in the menu has a common ingredient ‘Love’ and we have curated each dish with utmost love and care.
Apart from Italian food, our other menu highlights would be the New York Chicken Rice Bowl. Our New York Chicken Rice Co. draws its inspiration from the cart located on 53 rd street and 6th avenue in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. We serve our signature “American Platter”, prepared using ingredients such as Chicken/Paneer, Iceberg Lettuce, Aromatic Basmati Rice topped with our famous Red Hot Sauce and a White Sauce (distant cousin of tzatziki).
Shoonya has this fun and amazing D.I.Y. Pizza experience. Tell us a little about why people love your pizzas and what is the reason behind going towards the wood fired concept?
The texture and aroma of a good pizza depends on the selection of the right flour. At Shoonya we use 00 Flour which is sourced from Italy. It is a versatile flour with a high protein content specially recommended for the preparation of Neapolitan Pizza Dough with medium to long fermentation time. The Pizza dough at Shoonya is made fresh daily and rises for 72+ hours before baking. This process allows our pizza to optimize in taste, lightness and digestibility. These characteristics represent the art of pizza Neapolitan and craft of pizzaiolo.
At Shoonya, for our classic Marinara Sauce, we use San Marzano Tomatoes (considered the Ferrari or Prada of canned tomato varities), sourced from Italy. San Marzano Tomato is a variety of a Plum Tomato and are highly regarded in Italy for their sweet flavor and low acidity due to the volcanic soil.
Pizza is one of the world’s favorite foods, so why to settle for anything less than the very best. Wood fired Pizzas are full of flavor, taste, aroma and character. At Shoonya we bake our Pizza’s in traditional wood fired oven at high temperatures of around 700 F which ensure the pizzas are baked to perfection in under 2-3 minutes, hence retaining all the nutritional value of vegetables and meats and making your Pizza a healthy pizza in contrast to modern gas/electric ovens which take anywhere between 8-15 minutes to bake the pizza.
With the growing work from home culture, there are a lot of tourists coming to Goa to set up base. What facilities would you offer to such people if they would decide to work from Shoonya?
We are offering world class Lavazza Coffee, classy range of caffeine free teas and other tea blends to relax while you work. Apart from that, we have a good wifi (a must when in Goa), stationery, a dedicated table and you can also use our address to get your couriers. At Shoonya, we believe in experiences that are ‘limitless’. So we are open to each and every request to suit each individuals needs.
What are the different types of events you offer at Shoonya for your customers?
Our tagline is ‘Why Be Boring’ so hence we like to make our event experiences that much unique and fun. We start our Mondays with a 1+1 on salads with a DIY experience to give you a healthy experience. Wednesdays and Fridays we have an interesting Gourmet Burger Challenge. If a customer is able to finish our juicy and delicious gourmet burgers in 60 seconds or less, the entire burger is on the house. A Sangria pairs nicely with good food and friends and hence we have a 1+1 offer on our Sangria pitchers every Sunday. On Saturdays, we have the B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Belly) offer. We offer our delicious pizzas as a combo with a beer bucket at just 999 INR and a juicy burger with a beer burger at just 799 INR.
Thursdays is a special day for as we curate our Hospitality evening. Being from the hospitality industry, I wanted to have a day where I appreciate the efforts of all those individuals who work tirelessly to help the hospitality sector grow. Hence, at Shoonya, we offer a 30% discount on the bill of anyone who dines with us from the Hospitality industry.
Tell us a little about your boutique store at Shoonya. What kind of clothes and accessories can one find while shopping?
Studio at Shoonya is a flagship store of Jianna by Kanika. The store embodies Kanika’s quest for modern Indian culture. Like herself, the space marries essentially Indian elements with a Goan feel. She says “When you walk into my store, I want you to know you are entering my imagination. At our Goa store, we let you choose your inner self in the specially curated outfits by our designer Kanika.
There has been a significant shift from fine dining to casual dining driven by a growing base of young consumers. What experience does Shoonya offer to its young clientele?
The major reason behind this shift is significant change in the lifestyle of Indian consumers. Customers these days prefer a relaxed atmosphere when they step out to eat or grab a drink after work. Shoonya offers a warm and cozy vibe. Whether it is to enjoy a delicious meal or have a drink, shop in style, enjoy a game with friends or even work from relaxed place, Shoonya got you covered. Our staff is filled with outgoing people who are committed to ensuring that our customers always enjoy the true Shoonya experience which is, a place for new beginnings
and new memories.
What do your customers say about the Shoonya experience?
We have received an overwhelming positive feedback about our D.I.Y. food experience and cozy setting. Our authentic pizza’s have definitely caught our customers attention and it an absolutely delight to hear all the wonderful things they have to say about our food and the Shoonya experience.
What are the food trends that you may implement at Shoonya in the future?
We are currently working on a breakfast menu. Menu planning at the moment is underway and we are working on a customisable breakfast menu which will give our diners a unique breakfast experience. We will keep you posted once we start with breakfast service. You can stay updated regarding the same by following us on our Instagram and Facebook accounts.
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