The mango crisis in the market hasn’t hit only those who were looking forward to mango milkshakes at home. This season, restaurants, which usually plan summer menus revolving around the popular seasonal fruit, have also held off on their plans.
Rahul Akerkar, proprietor of restaurants like Indigo Deli, Colaba and Tote On The Turf, Mahalakshmi, says that they haven’t been able to find the right type of mangoes yet. “I tasted some from the vendors who supply to our restaurants, but they didn’t meet our quality requirements,” he mentions, adding, “But I had a couple of mangoes at home which were really good, so maybe we just need to find the right vendor.”
Chef and owner of Busaba Nikhil Chib recently bought a dozen mangoes for over Rs 1,100, which he admits doesn’t make commercial sense. “Luckily people haven’t started asking for our Mango Pavlova yet, which is what we usually make for this season. Given the price, it doesn’t make sense to introduce it on menu yet,” he says.
Vijay Pandey, chef at Azok in Juhu, says that they too have had to hold off on their seasonal menu, despite planning specials like Mango Tiramisu and Raw Mango Daiquiris well in advance. “The price doesn’t suit us. The mangoes have a strange powdery taste and the texture isn’t right,” he says. “We will wait for about a month to see if things change. So hopefully, we’ll be able to launch in May.”
Akerkar puts the problem down to the unusually long cold season this year. “The mangoes haven’t had enough time to ripen,” he explains. Pandey agrees, adding, “they’re injecting chemicals into the fruits to ripen them in advance, but that changes the taste.”
Some have figured out a way to sidestep the problem. Allan Pereria, owner of Bandra restaurant Candies, says, “I don’t use fresh mangoes from local markets, but use imported canned mangoes instead. They stay fresh and juicy for a longer period.”