I have reviewed a particular section of the Mamagoto menu on this blog before—the Mamabuns section— but, dining out at Mamagoto once again last week (with my parents, my sister and brother-in-law and us, in celebration of my husband’s birthday), I realized I hadn’t reviewed the restaurant’s main menu.
Mamagoto appealed to us from the very day we first ate here, shortly after it opened in Select CityWalk Mall (further outlets have since opened, in other parts of Delhi as well as in other cities). The cheeriness of the decor, the marked absence of elegant (not to mention predictable) Chinese lanterns, bamboo, and laughing Buddhas; the casual, fun atmosphere; the wide range of pan-Asian dishes: all of it was right up our street.
We—my husband and I—quickly figured out some favourites: we’d invariably start with a rock shrimp tempura, crisp and light and served with a tangy and hot chilly mayonnaise, and follow that up with a shared ‘meal in a bowl’, mostly of either lamb teriyaki or chicken Penang curry. More than that, we could never manage, what with it being just the two of us.
This time, since there were going to be six of us, we had the opportunity to try a lot more. My husband and my parents arrived early and we’re glad we’d made a reservation – even though it was 1 PM (early by Delhi standards!), several tables were already occupied. We got a table near the bright yellow painted door, with magnificently colourful tigers painted on the clear glass walls overlooking the mall corridor outside. By the time we’d examined the menu and decided on some dishes we did want to try, my sister and her husband had arrived as well, so we got down to ordering our food.
Since all of us are non-vegetarians and have similar tastes (barring my brother-in-law, who doesn’t like fish), ordering wasn’t much of a problem. We decided, instead of ordering individual dishes, to order family style: lots of dishes which we could share. These ended up being som tam and chicken gyoza for starters, followed by—for the mains—a lamb teriyaki meal in a bowl (I couldn’t resist this!), a chicken Penang curry meal in a bowl, a stir fry of pak choy, water chestnuts and cashew nuts; and chicken in a star anise and chilli sauce with crispy spinach. Mamagoto does have a wide range of other starters, soups, salads, grills (including an entire section off the robata grill), noodle and rice dishes, and dishes straight from the wok, but this seemed adequate to us.
My sister was the only one who settled only for water as a drink; my husband ordered a fresh lime soda, while the rest of us ordered a lemon zest and mint lemonade each (Mamagoto do have a decent enough selection of alcoholic beverages, but none of us are too keen on liquor—especially not at lunch). Our drinks arrived shortly after, the lemon zest and mint lemonade tall glasses of icy slush flavoured with lime juice, finely grated lime zest and pulverised mint leaves, all of it very refreshing.
Order taking obviously hadn’t been at its best on this particular day, because after the drinks had arrived, our waiter turned up to say that the gyoza we’d ordered wasn’t available. A bit late in the day. I therefore changed the order to grilled chicken with peanut sauce (according to the menu, the grilled chicken was available with either a peanut sauce or a coriander sauce).
The som tam arrived first, long noodle-like shreds of beautifully crunchy, crisp raw papaya tossed with a tart-sweet-hot-salty dressing that included everything from red chillies to palm sugar, and was topped off with a garnish of roasted peanuts. Fantastic, as always.
After that, we had a long wait for the grilled chicken. This came after about ten minutes, pieces of succulent boneless chicken threaded onto bamboo skewers and grilled—and served with a pale greenish-white coriander sauce (not the peanut sauce I’d asked for). We were too hungry to bother to complain, and in any case by the time we tasted the sauce and realized it wasn’t peanut, it was too late. Plus, since it did taste good, that was all right.
The mains were served up right after the grilled chicken had been brought to our table, so it meant a bit of juggling around and trying to finish off this starter before the mains got cold. But, as usual, all the main dishes—two of which we’d never tasted before—turned out to be excellent.
The lamb teriyaki meal in a bowl consists of a large bowl of sticky rice topped with lots of shredded lamb (you can also order chicken or vegetarian versions of this dish) in an addictive sweet-salty teriyaki sauce, with broccoli, pak choy, spring onions, and scrambled egg added to lend contrasts in flavour and texture. I could gladly have made a complete meal out of this (and have done so, on former occasions).
Then was the Penang curry, pieces of boneless chicken in a fragrant coconut milk gravy, along with various vegetables—sliced aubergines and green beans being most in evidence. Like the lamb teriyaki, this too was a ‘meal in a bowl’, and came atop a large heap of sticky rice which we mixed in well before passing it around. A sprinkling of toasted peanuts on top added to its attraction for me: I’m nuts about peanuts.
The stir-fried chicken in star anise had been cooked with an interesting combination of whole dried red chillies and star anise, and so was both hot (though not palate-searingly so) and had that lovely sweetish aniseed flavour imparted by this particular spice. The dish came rimmed with a generous helping of crispy-fried spinach, which provided a brilliant contrast of textures.
Last up was a dish my sister (who has a soft spot for wok-tossed greens) had specifically requested: pak choy cooked with water chestnuts, bamboo shoot and cashew nuts. This was lovely, soothing and fresh, the water chestnut crunchy, the pak choy crisp, and all of it just the thing to act as a counterpoint to the relatively more robust flavours of the star anise chicken.
By the time the mains were finished, most of us at the table were too full for dessert. Only three people – my sister and I (who succumbed to the temptation of coconut and palm sugar ice cream because Mamagoto do such a refreshing, dreamily delicious version of it) and our father (who has a notoriously sweet tooth) – decided we wanted afters as well. My sister and I ordered a portion (fairly liberal, as we realized when it arrived: three scoops) of the ice cream, while my father settled for a crunchy Nutella mousse.
The ice cream was as good as I’ve had at Mamagoto on previous occasions. My father, too, gave the mousse a thumbs up. Though I didn’t taste any, it looked rich and velvety, topped with a sprinkle of what seemed like a sort of crumb.
While there had been some hiccups— the delayed information that the gyoza wasn’t available, and the long wait time for the starters—on the whole this was (as we’ve usually experienced at Mamagoto) an enjoyable and satisfying meal. And my parents, who had never been to Mamagoto before, were well pleased too.
Note: The total amount we paid for our meal, inclusive of taxes and service charges, was Rs. 5,231. For six adults who ate well, that’s pretty good value for money, by Delhi standards.
S09, 2nd Floor
Select CityWalk Mall