Mamagoto - Literally, Playing with food - A Review
Mamagoto is at Ghatkoaper’s R-city mall, (one opened at Bandra recently as well) on the same floor as stalwarts like Indigo Deli and Punjab Grill. Their tagline is Fun Asian Food. The first thing that strikes you is that they take their fun seriously.
The seating area is a sprawling sofa with cute pop-art cushions - ninjas, cats, monkeys and sakura (cherry blossoms) motifs dominate and on the wall - canvas artwork in the same style… that you can buy! It feels like you suddenly walked into the sets of Kung Fu Panda! This is going to be interesting… I’m anticipating ‘secret ingredient’ spiked noodle bowls
Then the menu arrives - and it’s just as cute! Anime icons and ninja monkeys act as keys for veg/spicy/healthy etc.
We started off with signature starters - The Spicy Fried Calamari - made with ponzu pepper batter, finely cut green chili, topped with a wedge of lime and The Mamagoto Chicken Wrap - their take on Pecking duck rolls - with chicken of course and hoisin sauce.
The Calamari was nothing special, good.. but nothing new - like any other batter-fried squid bits, and it was a very small serving. The roll fared better, warm and strong hoisin sauce overpowered almost all other flavors - but the rice sheets were delicate, strips of chicken juicy and the best part was the bits of bok-choy and cucumber that added that special crunch. Maybe I should have gone for a veggie one… too many Delhi chicken addicts around.
The drinks arrived at that time as well - Cranberry + Keffir Lime, Lemon Zest + Mint Lemonade, and Watermelon + Mint + Lime… I forget names but I remember the flavors. Cranberry was just cranberry, hardly any keffir lime hit me… passed it on to the BF who had ordered the lemon zest one - which was a fail safe lime mint flavour with soda. I had to spit out the zest bits quite a few times… it was too deeply scraped off the lemon with hard rinds in between. Watermelon was well… watermelon.
Next came the Chicken and Leek Yakitori. Sorry, no pictures for that one - people finally saw something they recognized as kababs and it was gobbled up in minutes. But honestly, its apparently Robatayaki - a centuries old method of Japanese slow grilling over charcoal. Didn't find any charcoal flavor over the super intense shoyu and chicken felt more boiled than grilled (Same with the Satay later)
Now for main course… we decided to go with the Signature Meals in a Bowl Menu, (a concept we’ve seen work very well with the cute little Busago inBandra). Now just to be sure, I asked our server - if they are really single serves… He said that they are, other than the Khaw-Suey. The BF, true to his tried and tested preferences went for the Mamagoto version of the Khaw-Suey - called Chiang Mai Train Station Noodles here. He would have no problems finishing a two person bowl. And he did. The curry was too curry like and thick, missing the mildness of a true khaw-suey. And the toppings were already put on it - no way to customize like in Busago. Oh well. But it was a good bowl.
The girl from Delhi wanted something simple in chicken and I chose Mamagoto’s Chicken Broth for the Hungry Soul for her, it comes with fried wontons and thin vermicelli. It was one of the most delicate broths I have ever tasted, full of flavor, soaking up the thin noodles… we dropped the wontons in and then ate them up before they went too soggy. It was perfect. There was a lot of bok choy again, and broccoli and some chicken. But it didn't matter - the broth was the superstar, the hero in this. True to the name - my hungry soul was quenched by the ‘secret ingredient’ effect I was looking for. But sadly, things go downhill from here.
The other girl from Delhi, who didn't want to experiment much - she ordered the Chicken Szechuan Pepper Rice that comes with Grilled Chicken and Bok Choy - expecting something spicy… It was the driest, blandest rice I have ever tasted. The grilled chicken was very well done though - lightly charred and perfectly flavored. But here’s the deal - it was way too much rice to eat with the little bok choy and bean sprouts and chicken. It’s not a all in one meal in a bowl at all. It’s too much for one person and too dry to eat by itself - needed a gravy with it.
As for me, I was craving fried eggs. So after some deliberating - went for the Mamagoto Goreng - their take on the classic Nasi Goreng. It comes with satay sticks, prawn chips, peanut sauce and fried egg. I asked my egg to be runny and soft - Because nothing beats mixing in a yolk into rice with chopsticks and quickly eating it up before it runs down. Ahh well, some other day, because this is what came.
No runny yolk but an egg that was deep fried on both sides, two small chicken satay skewers and cucumber and tomato sticks. Anyways - on to tasting
The satay was okay, again didn't feel like a Robata grill at all. The rice or the actual Nasi Goreng was disappointing. All I could taste at this point was rice soaked in soy that was a little sweet, almost no vegetables, no bits of chicken or even spring onions. I was already so satisfied by the Chicken Broth that I didn't even bother finishing this and doggy bagged it.
We wanted to try the Banoffee Pie but they were out of it. So that was it. The cost for the 5 of us was 4K. But we bagged up a lot of it and the main course portions were big - so realistically, for two people it should be around 2K.
I would go back there just for the art, the broth and the ambiance. Food, while nothing out of the ordinary - has some hidden gems. I will actually make it a point to go back and finish a whole bowl of that Chicken Broth and Wontons by myself. I hope they are consistent. And next time, maybe try out more vegetarian or lamb dishes.
Article By: Tania Dey.
Tania is a slow food activist who believes in eating slowly and patiently, taking food in with all the 5 senses. She blogs about her minimalist recipes, restaurants in Mumbai, coffee, wine, and healthy eating at (http://eatslowlyplz.tumblr.com/)