Review: Asian Street Food Comes Alive at Mamagoto
The flavours and textures of Asian cuisine are as diverse as the populous continent’s inhabitants. When we heard that the restaurant from Delhi, Mamagoto opened in Mumbai on 2nd May 2013, we decided to make a quick pit stop before it opens to public, to see if it would pass the authenticity bill.
And what did we find? The space that has replaced Nature’s Basket on Hill Road (next to Moshe’s) has turned into a colourful restaurant with bright yellow tigers, kimono-clad pretty Asian women and round bellied-happy mascots adorning the walls. The ceiling has ivory pipelines running through the entire roof, giving it a cool grungy feel. Clearly, they don’t believe in the minimalistic fine-dine methods. So much so that once the dish is on your table, it’s all self-service unless you want the waiter to serve it to you. That, after finding weird, we asked the owners, who said that this is why it’s an Asian café and not a fine dine. Fair enough, but can we please have our sticky rice and piping hot curry served to us, just this one time?
My fellow diner is an expert when it comes to Asian food – from the aromas to the presentation – the lady knows the culture to the T. So coming from her that the Tom Yum Shrimp Soup was the best she’d tried in Mumbai, definitely gave our meal at this place a starry jumpstart. FYI- the menu has tiny drawings on the side of some dishes – that of an old lady, a panda and other paraphernalia. Old lady is for the regular same ol’ eaten-to-death dishes; panda is what the chef recommends. In starters, we absolutely loved the crunchiness of the flavourfully spicy Vegeterian Basil Cups, stuffed with minced mushrooms, zucchini and soya and served with an Indonesian chilli-based sauce ‘sambal’. It took us back to our in-between meals during Thai street shopping. And so did the Som Tam Salad, made out of raw papaya and Thai dressing that was fresh and tangy. We expected rich, huge pieces of shrimp when we called for the Shrimp Tempura with chilli mayo. What we got instead was a mini version that looked like a replica of the spicy fried calamari we ordered. The shrimp was good, the calamari, not so much with the lack of crisp and flavour.
Since we were already aboard the street food inspired wagon, we decided to go for the ‘panda’ recommended Street Vendor’s Panang Curry Bowl. This one took us by pleasant surprise. A full meal in itself, this can be your dinner for the night; and a satisfying one at that. Coconut infused curry with peanuts, chicken and a few veggies – this thick gravy with warm sticky rice was just what the doctor ordered. High five to the panda for this one.
If you’ve been following our reviews, you know that this particular assessor has one rule – leave room for dessert. ALWAYS. Every meal should end on a sweet note. Happily obliging, every problem in the world seemed to disappear with one bite of the soft, warm sponge cake, generously drizzled with toffee sauce and served with vanilla icecream. Life was good again. Fellow diner couldn’t resist ordering the mudcake – so there we had it – another piece of melting heaven on a plate!
A meal for two at Mamagoto will cost approximately Rs. 1,600, without alcohol.
Address: Gazebo House, Ground Floor, 133 Hill Road, Bandara (W), Mumbai 4000054
Contact Number: 022 26552600