We knew in late 2011 that Delhi’s playful Asian eatery Mamagoto had plans to open in Mumbai. It finally has, making up for the delay with a dash — two outlets opened within two weeks.
The first one is in Ghatkopar, a part of town recently popular with swish chains, and the second one, but of course, is in Bandra.
On the first Monday of business, by 9 pm, the packed room was proof of Bandra’s (and Mumbai’s) insatiable appetite for new restaurants. Mamagoto’s tagline is ‘fun Asian eating’ and the décor sets the mood. The walls are lined with whimsical prints in bright colours featuring dragons, tigers and other East Asian motifs — one of an impish Sumo wrestler resembles a pug, offering a view of his rear, and his family jewels.
This whimsy continues with the menu. Mamagoto’s crispy chilly potatoes are skinny fries, perfectly crunchy and tossed with a sauce that is inspired by kung pao, but not as overwhelming. Tender and delicious pork spare ribs with a ‘secret smokey glaze’ didn’t need a knife, or even the syrupy and spicy sesame-flecked dipping sauce alongside.
Some eccentricities don’t work out — the lively flavours of mirin and Japanese pepper in our coal-fired eggplant from the menu’s robata section were muffled by cloying sweetness.
Crispy lamb, on the other hand, had plenty of texture, but we wished for a meatier, bolder flavour. We’re glad that Mamagoto uses local ghol instead of basa, but a dish of steamed fish in chilli-oyster sauce was a tad more fishy smelling than it should be.
There were no such complaints with our Wasabi Mary, which was exactly as the menu described, or the Chinese sour and pepper soup.
Mamagoto’s version claims to have 22 ingredients but, more importantly, it’s deeply satisfying and could make a small meal by itself.
Even though it had baby corn and broccoli instead of the promised sprouts, our phad thai would satisfy a Khao Sarn backpacker.
Service is quick, very responsive, and keen on feedback, so these small early chinks should be worked out soon. We hear that there were lines at the door last weekend.
(HT pays for all meals and events, and reviews anonymously)