By Akshita Singh
Sought for its wide array of Asiatic cuisines, Mamagoto has brought in another fascinating element to its miscellany, centering around the Vietnamese Banh Mi. In the sultry, near searing early monsoon afternoons, multiplicity and diversity in breads and beverages is precisely what we all yearn for. In light of this, it won’t be wrong to say that Mamagoto has brought in the right variation at the right time. Walking into Mamagoto is synonymous with walking into a pool of vibrancy and radiance. Thankfully, a late afternoon visit toned down the hustle and bustle to the level at which neither were we disturbed by the usual clamor nor were we dulled by the relative quietude.
An ensemble of mocktails – connected by the common thread of two fruits per drink and a strong flavor of tea – arrived with loads and loads of ice cubes. The multitude of ice, which is quite appropriate in this heat, literally made it impossible for us to stir the drinks! Beside that, the mocktails were generally refreshing and the mint helped a lot with that. Every sip had an initially fruity succulence to it that quickly vanished so as to be replaced by the longer lasting tea flavor. Tropical Twist, a mango and pineapple blend with the usual tea, was a stimulating drink which fell short of perfection by the overpowering tea blunting the sweetness of mangos and pineapples. This drink, which is a mutated version of ice tea, had a stinging bitterness which should be looked into. Lesser tea, shorter brew, a milder version and many other little changes could help with that. The presentation could have been much more impressive. A thin slice of mango, hastily pushed into the mocktail, wasn’t that engaging a sight. It merely camouflaged with the rest of the drink so you could just barely see it. A more craftily cut mango or pineapple, induced on to the rim would have been much more interesting and noticeable.
Banh Mis, or the Vietnamese baguettes, served with a plethora of different stuffings, was a truly novel experience in itself. The symmetric display of all the various kinds, amusingly contrasted with the heterogeneity in the surroundings. Little bowls of mango salsa, chili sauce and a salad along with potato wedges served with all the baguettes provided the compelling consistency.
The vegetarian segment, in particular, was possibly an untested experiment by Mamagoto as well considering vegetables seldom find their way into Banh Mis.With regards to that, it is all the more laudable that they tried making a decent number of vegetarian choices available to their customers. The first of those to come our way was the the Santosa Islands Sub. You can only speculate that this bread is a delicacy in the Santosa Islands. A largely shiitake mushroom filling, typical in East Asian nations, along with caramelized onions, red bell pepper and a mint layering was a delightful melange. Its appreciable that they were careful to choose the specific variant of mushroom that is eaten in the Asiatic part they represent. Eating the bun could be a task altogether, what with all the shiitakes slipping down and jumping off the bread from all sides. If thats an issue, then a similar salad that they prepare, by basically parting with the bread and keeping the rest of it about the same, could be a better alternative. The multi grain bread was another good effort on their part to make the meal healthier. Now, how healthy it actually is, hinges on how much oil is spread on the inside and on how many potato wedges you gobble down. This sub was on the spicier side so if you want to alleviate that spiciness, dip the bun further into the mango salsa and keep the sauce aside for the wedges. Oh, and about the mango salsa – trying it without anything at all is terrific idea. The fascinating piquancy, along with the little bits of mango themselves was an amazing thing in itself.
The next vegetarian sub was the Veggie Thai Ball. The balls were anything like the rougher, hurried takes at corn and Paneer Koftas or the vegetable manchurians. That said, this surprisingly was a very agreeable dish! Whether or not it blended well with the usual mango salsa, chili sauce or the salad in debatable, but just the bun with the kofta- like stuffing was a delightful merger of two unlikely components. The salt was on the higher side but the the mintiness of the interior came out stronger and better. The basil, like in the thai herbs previous sub, kept the Thaish chunk of the baguette alive.
An attentive bunch of stewards and pretty quick arrival of drinks and dishes made the experience better. The chef attempted and almost succeeded in answering our queries about the ingredients . One slight error on part of one steward – his calling the Veggie Thai Balls the Santosa Islands Sub – was quickly corrected by another stewardess. Entertaining conversations transpired with the Managers all through the course of the meal – concerning Mamagoto, its food and numerous other things. They extended genuine interest and concern toward our intermittent, impromptu feedbacks and offered to interact with and take suggestions from any dissatisfied customer.
A compact seating arrangement, like in many other Khan Market joints, was made captivating with the eclectic graphics of and from different Asian people and cultures. There was a poster of someone like cheerful Japanese wrestlers on one side, striped tigers on the other, Vietnamese women on another and playful Thai girls on yet another. The sunglow yellow internal partition and the electric crimson walls complemented the rest of the colorful artistry. Some nagging flies, circling every glass and bowl that was placed on the table, were the only obstacles to an otherwise perfectly well kept place. The reddish shade emanating from all side, in the dim lit restaurant could provide for a very romantic dining experience for couples.
Mamagoto’s innovation is a nice effort that has a few rough patches presently which could disappear soon enough, to pull off a fantastic food adventure for all those who try banh mis. One visit to Mamagoto, and one try at both the Banh Mis and the tea flavored mocktails, is highly recommended. A new effort definitely merits another chance. So, go there and mamagoto – play with food!