Fun Asian Dining and quirky interiors might be all the rage these days, but in all honesty, Mamagoto was the true pioneer in India. Mamagoto literally means to ‘play with food’ in Japanese and that’s exactly what they set out to do. Experimental, Casual, and Affordable, this place tickles me in all the right spots. It all starts with walking through the big yellow door. Let’s go have a peek shall we?
Right off the bat, the décor amuses you. The vibe is all grunge-garage with psychedelic prints and mismatched cushions. The graffiti-painted shutter just adds to the vibe. You need to spot the tiger – he’s the Mamagoto mascot and every Mamagoto restaurant will have him etched into the walls. You will also find some kitchsy cool artwork on display. The best part about this place is you get to purchase the items of décor that catch your fancy. (Mamashop) Walk in further and you see some metal and wire mesh chairs and weathered wooden tables and rough finished walls. But there’s still colour everywhere and there’s a method to the madness. If you sit down and relax – you might even find a zen moment. No cozy corners here however – the place literally makes you want to chat with a neighbor over a drink.
Drinks. There are many cool sounding concoctions (Bangkok Gin and tonic, Mama Gymkhana, Mexican Confusion, Zombie) with equally interesting ingredients (Juniper berries, Elderflower, Kaffir Lime, White Chocolate). They also offer a homemade infusions section where they infuse the alcohol in-house, with fresh flavours. The Kaffir Lime infused Tequila begs to be had. (If they had salted it as well, I would have just had straight shots 😉
Food. There was lots of it. And whatever we tried, was beautifully presented. The portions are large and meant for sharing, so the bigger the group you go with, the more you can try. The Tom Yum Shrimp Soup was bang on the buck. The hot, tangy, aromatic broth was light and refreshing. The Hot Chicken Basil Cups are always a good way to fake like you’re eating a salad. Minced chicken with crushed pepper and bird’s eye chilli comes heaped onto a lettuce cup and is a fun way to start the afternoon or evening or night. (They are open noon to midnight).
The Hua Hin Highway Roll is a crispy Asparagus roll with cheese, peppered with galangal and lemon grass and served with what they call the mama dip. If only I could master the art of the perfect spring roll, I’d be cooking that for dinner most evenings. Stuffed, deep fried, flaky pastry…what’s not to like?
They have a section for coal fired robata grills in the menu. We tried the Soya-Butter-Garlic marinated Assorted Mushrooms. When it arrived I counted four different mushrooms and presumed the big leafy thing on the stick was a cabbage head. Turns out, it’s a variety of mushroom called Hen of the wood/ sheapshead. Strange tasting thing – almost plastic-ky. It’s a good day when your palate has found something new – even if it is to be avoided in the future. 😛
A Standard Vegetable Tempura. Except that they made a teepee with it and of course I’m one to fall for such gimmicks 😛 The kid at the table really enjoyed this one. Another crowd pleaser, especially with some cold beer, is the Rock Shrimp Tempura. Served with a sprinkling of ponzu pepper powder and a homemade Chili mayo, it’s almost like shrimp popcorn. (I wonder if IMAX will let me sneak in a box…)
Main Course time and we were itching to order the Java Grilled Fish with Sambal Salsa. The description read ‘sole fillet marinated with red chillies and garlic paste, grilled in a banana leaf wrap and served along a mound of sticky rice’. Yum.yum.yum. It was seriously good. I’ll leave you with the picture – in this case, I do think it speaks a thousand words.
I’m not a fan of Star anise. It’s just too strong a flavour and the licorice taste puts me off completely. Maybe it’s because every time I eat a pulao, I’m always the one getting stuck with a whole pod in my mouth. (Ironic). In the given circumstances, I wasn’t very enthused about trying the Chicken with Garlic, Star Anise flavour and crispy spinach. However, for Mamagoto’s part – this one was pleasantly savory and tasted more of Chinese Five spice powder. The best part of course was the crackling spinach (deep fried anything is good!).
We finally ordered the Curries. If it’s an Asian place serving curry, you bet I’m going to order it. It’s like my little test to tell if a place is going to be on my revisit list (I’m weird like that). The Vegetable Thai Green Curry made me weep with joy. The galangal and kaffir lime flavours were beautifully balanced with the spices and in the end, the curry was so silky and aromatic I was instantly transported to Thailand. They didn’t use fresh pressed coconut milk, so -1, but I’ll overlook it if they bottle the fragrance and send it home as a Christmas gift *wink wink*
Mamagoto also does a Chiang Mai Train Station noodles. The fiery curry of Northern Thailand will warm the heart (and palate) of any Indian. So it’s a must order, if you’re a spice addict. This one comes khao-suey style with burnt onion and garlic.
Dessert. Was boring but nice. Like a good girl in a convent school. (No reference to me AT all 😛 ) We ordered the chocolate Brownie and the Banoffe Pie. Order it if you like to finish you meal with something sweet. Otherwise, just grab a couple of cocktails and you can still end the night on a high note 😉
Mamagoto has something for everyone. Almost everything we tried, we liked. The menu is vast, so the key is to pick the right stuff. Don’t be shy to ask the waiters for recommendations. The cocktails and relaxed vibes will encourage interesting banter so the place is definitely in my little black book of food. (I have one you know… and you know you want to be it in 😛 )
949, 12th Main, Ground Floor,
Indiranagar, Bangalore 560038.
Ph: +91 80 49652781
Parking: Valet || Cost: Rs.1800/- ++ for a meal for two with two drinks.