Go Play… Mamagoto Bandra

@Finelychopped26 May: At Mamagot0 Bandra with @SassyFork possibly the 3421st & 3422nd food bloggers to land up here

My tweet was a wry take on the phenomenon of blogger invites which characterise the launch of most new restaurants in Mumbai. Sometimes I wonder if after the high rental costs here and then the cost of feeding media, social and otherwise, whether there is any money left for the restaurateurs to invest in chefs or produce.

I’d missed the Mamagoto launch as I was out of town but did go there with friends a few Sundays back and then the again next day for lunch with someone who was doing an unannounced review.

Turns out that Mamagoto means ‘playing with food’. Just what were we told not to do while growing up. Times were different then. Today eating is often not just about sustenance but about joy and enjoyment too.

With its bright walls, teapot shaped taps in the washrooms, funky paintings and an ambiance which is reminiscent of Bone Daddies in London’s Soho district, Mamagoto in Bandra (where Nature’s Basket used to be), does seem to have a happy buzzy feel to it. Most tables around us had groups of happy looking folks occupying them on both the days. The pricing seems to be largely Rs 400 and below per dish which makes it quite competitive. The aircon did seem to give up on a packed Sunday afternoon and they need to look into that.  Come to think of it the aircon of many Mumbai restaurants buckled under the heat this time.

Over the two meals, my take is that they seem to like their vegetarians more here at Mamagoto.

On the first day our two vegetarian starters were brought to the table much ahead of the non veg one. There was 1 vegetarian and 3 regular folks among us and we dug into the food of the vegetarian as we waited for our food.

Restaurants should pay more attention to the order of serving. At times there could be two of you and one gets their food while the other watches on awkwardly. Remember most new places add a fixed service charge.

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Also the vegetarian food seems to be nicer at Mamagoto than the non veg which is weird in an Asian place. The first starter that we had was a chopped mushrooms on lettuce cups sort of dish (veg basil cup) which was very well flavoured and had a lovely meaty texture which contrasted well with the fresh bites of green.

The other one was water chestnut spring  rolls. The batter was nice and crunchy and had a feisty spicy chilli dip to go with it that worked for us. The batter and chilli together outshouted the fillings, this was good beer food though they don’t serve alcohol here yet.

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We tried the prawn fritters in garlic mayo (called roc shrimp tempura as sassy reminds me but then it’s been two weeks since we went there) and next day the prawn tempuras. On both days the prawns were rather hard and rubbery and frankly the antithesis of the Oriental way of cooking seafood where the seafood emerges as nice and juicy even in batter fries.

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The grilled spare ribs were disappointing too. Very uni-dimensional in taste with the marinade and the sweet dip which came with it shrouding the taste of the pork. Both non veg dishes seemed very apologetic about the seafood and meat served on the plate.

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On a twitter recco we called for aubergines grilled on a Japanese roboto grill. The dish was very disappointing as the aubergine had a very squishy texture and the garlic coating on top was too overpowering. This story has a pleasant twist to it though.

I had tweeted back to saying that I didn’t like the aubergine and continued with our lunch. A bit later the manager walked up to me and asked for my name. Turned out someone had spotted my tweet and alerted them. The manager apologised and wanted to know what was wrong and whether I had any suggestions. To which my answer was that nothing was ‘wrong’. It’s just that we didn’t like the preparation I explained and said that it’s not that everyone likes every preparation.

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I was pleasantly surprised to see that they hadn’t added the price of the baigan to the bill at the end.

Coming to the mains the veg love of Mamagoto continued.

We ordered a veg soggy rice which turned out to be really nice. The rice wasn’t ‘soggy’ thankfullybut had a flavourful sauce in it and loads of crunchy chopped vegetables which made it quite a pleasant one plate dish.

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There was a cardinal mistake committed here though. They had given a chilli and apparently soy dip and asked pointedly us to have it with the rice. Later I asked for some fish sauce and found out that the dip was a traditional fish sauce and chilli Thai nam prik la. We had ordered the rice for the vegetarian in the group. The last thing you would expect in a restaurant in India is people giving fish sauce with a vegetarian dish and not even pointing it out. It’s Bandra and not Bangkok for heaven’s sake. They need to be careful on this. As for me, well I love my fish sauce.

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We ordered two curries. Penang curry bowl which was served on a bed of rice and a Chain Mai train noodles Khau soi. To be honest, both were much thicker than the curries I have had in Penang and Chiang mai. Having said that there was something in the over the top spices and flavours doused in a very thick coconut cream which made the dishes appealing even if not very ‘authentic’. Check the lightness of the Chiang Mai Khow sois in the pictures in this link and that of the Penang curry here to see what I mean

Our enjoyment of the curries in Mamagoto could perhaps be compared to that of the British when served metamorphosed ‘Indian’ food by Sylhetis of Bangladesh in the curry shops of England.

Was it love at first sight, sniff, bight like it was with pork belly ramen in London’s Bone Daddy? No. Was it pleasant? Yes, it was.

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Oh, one more thing. We ordered a veg Penang curry and prawn Chiang Mai Khow soi and again the prawns were rubbery and tasteless. I don’t know what they have against non vegetarians in Mamagoto. The next day I had a nasi goreng where the chicken satays were near fibrous and a beef rendang were the meat was lumpy and lifeless and the curry cloudy and almost pink and made no pretence to be rendang.

For desserts we chose a sponge cake with toffee. The cake was too dry on both days that we ordered it. The toffee too sweet. On both days mot of the others at our table just loved it. I found it too much to handle. 

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So what’s my take on Mamagoto?

Go there to have a fun time and without chasing any Asian dreams. Or as people say about their favourite Hindi potboilers, no pun intended, this is not made for the Oscars.

As for me, my search for good Asian food in Bandra continues. Busago with its kauk swe & Kofuku with its kakuni have its moments…Globul Fusion’s Quality has plummeted…so currently driving to Colaba for Ling’s and its Cantonese is the best option

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Comments

Sassy Fork said…
We had Veg Basil Cups,Rock Shrimp Tempura,Street Vendor's Panang Curry Bowl,Chiang Mai Train Station Noodles and Soggy Thai Basil Fried Rice.I prefer a thick consistency to curries so it worked for me
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i'm a vegetarian and I ended up ordering all the veg dishes mentioned by you in the post.. and i liked all of dem aubergine included.. maybe cos I love the flavour of garlic..talkin about your search for asian food in Bandra do try out the newly opened Nom Nom near mini punjab. jut went there last sunday and was decently satsfied with the food and the service. And yes Aoi too!
The knife said…
Thanks for the feedback on nomnom and aoi. was meaning to try them. singkong too. I like busago and the pork belly in kofuko...global fusion has slipped badly though
The knife said…
thanks. I'd forgotten the names. yes, the rice was not soggy thankfully. The chiang mai was a take on khow soi according to the descriptions
desh said…
Chicken basil cups were good too Kalyan. I think there are some good dishes and few of them worked with me. I prefer thicker curries so it works for me :).

But overall better than few other new places around :)
BombayJules said…
Hey...did you notice that they put peanuts on absolutely everything too? We ordered the pork ribs - which could have been rather good had they not sprinkled them with peanuts - totally senseless and not needed and spoilt the overall taste. Also...I think the interior is like a playroom for 5 year olds! Nice photos Kalyan..how is the Sony working out?
Shanti said…
I know what you mean about the meat. I went there this sunday and the chicken (I mean, how can you stuff up chicken?) was tough to the point of being chewy, in both the salad and starter. When asked, the manager actually justified it by saying that thats the kind of meat the cuisine demands! I was too shocked to really say another word! The lamb too came in tough, but we sent that back and they replaced it with a tender version! I might go there to try out the veg stuff, but otherwise not really!
The knife said…
Wonder if the peanuts are Delhi's salute to Mumbai? Maharashtrians use a fair bit of peanuts in their cooking. The food didn't really talk to one. Too conveyor belt stuff.

Playpen for 5 yrs wasn't such a bad idea as it was friend's birthday...tongue firmly in cheek.

These pics are with the new canon which is slightly more basic than the one I lost. I rarely use the Sony though I had some pretty good times with it
The knife said…
the chicken in malaysia, thailand and singapore is cooked pretty tender as it is in delhi where mamagoto is base so I am not sure which is the cuisine that they are referring to Shanti
Anonymous said…
:( @ Global Fusion, it used to be a no-brainer for us when looking for an all-out gorge-fest...what all have you noticed going down the hill!