Restaurant Review: Mamagoto, Kalaghoda, Where Kitsch And Klass Kombine!

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Do pardon the spelling-challenged header. But this a calculated and deliberate attempt on my part in keeping with the mood and spirit of this particular review that demands a certain amount of nonchalance and irreverence…

Mamagoto, Kalaghoda
Mamagoto, Kalaghoda

While its older siblings that can be found housed in Bandra and Ghatkopar are quite a treat in themselves, this brand new South Mumbai branch of the ever-increasing Mamagoto tribe is a different ballgame altogether. Exuding a vibe, a certain je ne sais quoi if you may, missing at the aforementioned outposts, this diminutive one appears as though it is crying out to be different… yet similar, in a bizarre oxymoronic way!

Mamagoto, Kalaghoda
Mamagoto, Kalaghoda

Pop art or foppishly classy kitsch—call it what you may—is alive and kicking at Mamagoto, Kalaghoda in myriad ways. Be it the funky cushion covers, the yardage of psychedelic chiffon fabric that drapes the ceiling, or the Japanese print art (that you can purchase, if you like!) that hangs from its uneven-finished walls, there is a decidedly whimsical insouciance and flippancy about this outpost that makes you smile the minute you step into this twin level eatery tucked in a small lane that houses other famous neighbours like the legendary Trishna and current ‘IT’ place—The Pantry.

Mamagoto, Kalaghoda
Mamagoto, Kalaghoda

Equally remarkable is the colourful menu ‘book’ here that is one the coolest I’ve seen in a long time with its illustrated, Manga comic-eque countenance bearing cute symbols informing you about the spice-quotient, the house specials etc etc. Ditched at the last minute by my lunch date, I slink into the jam-packed eatery and sit down all by my solitary self at a table for two on the upper mezzanine level that is a hive of activity with screaming kids running helter-skelter and a group of boisterous ladies enjoying a Saturday afternoon kitty party lunch.

Kicking my solo meal off is a quartet of nibbles that quickly fill up all the space on my (wobbly!) table. The very Korean-meets-Thai Vegetable Basil Cups with diced shitake mushrooms, zucchini and basil all sitting pretty on cups made from lettuce leaves are an absolute treat with the textures of the mushroom and zucchini meeting the crunch of the lettuce in a blast, while the punch of the basil flavour is enhanced by the sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Water chestnut spring roll, Mamagoto, Kalaghoda
Water chestnut spring roll, Mamagoto, Kalaghoda

I also fell for the simplicity and the umami burst of the Water Chestnut Spring Rolls and its explosive burnt chilli and pepper sambal dip. The ponzu-dusted Rock Shrimp Tempura served with a sweetish mayonnaise were superb, but for the first five minutes of their debut. After that they seemed to go soggy and mushy, but still very edible and moreish. Crying out for a bit more time in the cooking pot were the sweet-n-sticky Pork Spare Ribs that although fully cooked and delectable didn’t have all their fat rendered down to make it an epic dish. A pity, that.

Cinnamon whiskey story, Mamagoto, Kalaghoda
Cinnamon whiskey story, Mamagoto, Kalaghoda

Also sad with a capital ‘S’ was the Bangkok G&T with kaffir lime leaves that neither looked, nor tasted appealing with a horrible, bitter aftertaste that was so awful that I had to send it back for some sugar syrup lovin’. My substitute drink, the Cinnamon Whiskey Story was a little better, if a bit too sweet this time with a piece of cassia bark (in lieu of a proper cinnamon stick) suspended unappealingly like flotsam in murky waters!

Onto the mains, although I’ve got to say that all three of them had a common thread of sweetness running through them, to Mamagoto’s defense, it probably was my mistake (I was warned by the manager!) of ordering dishes that turned out pretty sugary. But yum nonetheless was the meal-in-a-bowl concept of the Lamb Teriyaki that was composed of mirin-stewed slivers of lamb along with pok choi and broccoli all sitting atop a luscious mattress of sticky Japanese rice.

Chiang mai train station noodle vegetable, Mamagoto, Kalaghoda
Chiang mai train station noodle vegetable, Mamagoto, Kalaghoda

Redolent of all the flavours of a well-made northern Thailand yellow curry was the sublime Chicken Chiang Mai Train Station Noodles with succulent pieces of the bird marrying rather soggy noodles that I wished would have been al dente. Studded with pea aubergines, snake beans and slivers of lemongrass, the thickish Thai Green Vegetable Curry made the perfect plate fellow to the fragrant jasmine rice down to the very last morsel.

Caramel sponge cake, Mamagoto, Kalaghoda
Caramel sponge cake, Mamagoto, Kalaghoda

With my choice of dessert—the legendary Palm Sugar and Coconut Ice-cream—having run out of stock that day, I settled for the other crowd favourite the Caramel Sponge Cake after hearing rather orgasmic oohs and aaahs from the Kitty party ladies on the next table. A bite into this moist caramel drowned wonder and I was ready to echo their sentiments. It was spectacular and an absolutely fitting end to a meal that took me back to the streets of South East Asia, without the price of an air ticket…

WHERE? 5, Surya Mahal, Burjarji Bharucha Marg, Kalaghoda, Fort. Call, 022 30932030
HOW MUCH? Rs 2,000 for two without alcohol
WHEN? 12.30pm to 11.30pm
WHAT’S HOT? The fresh, clean flavours and the generosity of portion sizes. The super efficent and quick service too deserves an honourable mention!
WHAT’S NOT? The bartender can do with a crash course in getting the basics of a cocktail right.
SHOULD YOU GO THERE? Hell yes!

Disclaimer: This review was done on invitation by Mamagoto, Kalaghoda
Pics courtesy: Mamagoto, Kalaghoda

Post By Raul Dias (102 Posts)

Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.

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Raul Dias

Raul Dias
Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.