A Mangolicious Affair at 12th Main, Grand Mercure, Bangalore

I spent this past Sunday evening at Grand Mercure Bangalore, eating a meal executed with both flavor and finesse. Until the coming Sunday, May 26th, 12th Main restaurant has a special a la carte menu that is a fulsome tribute to that fruit of the summer: The Mango. Now we all know at least one person who is mad over mangoes, and she was my dining companion that night. The Koi in the little pond and the general loveliness of the outdoor seating made us head there, despite the rain chasing us from our first, fully exposed to the elements table, into the patio area. We began by sampling the cocktails – a Mango Martini and a Mango Margarita (with a sugar rim), both with fresh, pulpy mango juice and the right amount of alcohol. We also enjoyed a Mango Mezze platter with Mango Crostini, Mango Hummus, a mango and yogurt dip (the only thing we ate all night that was not a hit with us) and pita chips. I love hummus and had some trepidation about what the mango would do to it. Needn’t have worried –  it was a delicious blend of flavors. The crostini had chunky pieces of mango and a healthy amount of chilli and was a really delightful, crunchy starter. There was also a basket of freshly baked rolls and focaccia bread, served with home-made butter and a most delightful pesto.

Succulent Shrimp
Succulent Shrimp

We shared three starters: Ceviche of basa, tomato aioli, mango slaw and mango glaze (350), where the fish had been marinated for a long time and the plate also had tiny beet cubes and other garnishes; Oriental mango and shrimp salad (375) with large, perfectly textured and flavored shrimp, and a Carpaccio of mango, fresh ground pepper and sea salt (210). The carpaccio was plated on some of the sweetest watermelon slices I have ever eaten, and the mango too, was incredible – Alfonso, methinks. As the dishes made their way to the table and were all quickly and happily devoured, I once again marveled at Chef Vikraman’s plating genius. Everything not only tasted fantastic, it looked gorgeous, with multiple elements, colors and layers, and how!

Salmon Delight
Salmon Delight

There was both a hot (Minty Mango and ginger velouté) and cold soup (Mango gazpacho), both *big* hits with us. We had already consumed a fair amount of saffron/yellow fruit, but were still eagerly waiting to see what mango infusions our main courses had undergone. Ever since we’d seen it on the menu, both our interests were piqued by the ravioli of sour and sweet mango, burnt butter, bacon bits, sage and walnuts (350), so that had to be one of our choices. Seeing herb crusted fillet of salmon, mango risotto, melted pearl tomatoes (850), I had to try it – good salmon and risotto are not easy to come by! We were two very happy gals, as we dug into the dishes, sharing them and oohing and aahing appreciatively with every bite. Both pastas were just spectacular – the filling for the ravioli really was both sweet and sour and the resultant burst of flavor elicited the above mentioned noises ;-) It was with immense regret that I could not finish the salmon, but it was a very large piece and I had already eaten soo much! Still, desserts had to be tried, and we enjoyed three of the five (priced at INR 230 each): Mango gâteaux, Mango tiramisu, Mango crumble. There was also a good white chocolate cheesecake served with chilled mango consommé, which I felt was too sweet and overwhelmed the cheesecake. The fifth choice, Sashimi of mangoes on sweet sticky rice was nothing to write home about.

Mangolicious Desserts
Mangolicious Desserts

We went whole hog and dove into all the mango dishes, but other diners around us ordered an item from the special menu and another off the regular, so depending on your mango madness level, you can fine tune the menu to suit you. 12th Main is a Mediterranean restaurant, which explains why the choices were Continental and not India-inspired. The restaurant, in addition to its festival menu and regularly available a la carte one, also has a buffet for all three meals (breakfast 495/lunch 524/ dinner 724), where one can taste a whole variety of Chef’s creations (Indian food too) and live counters for pastas/tacos/fajitas. Given Chef’s attention to detail and overall presentation and care, as well as his always choosing the freshest of fruits and vegetables to cook and garnish with, I know I can always head to Grand Mercure for a good meal. And I sure am glad I made a visit during Mango season!

Natasha Ali

Natasha's first foray into food writing has been with Chef at Large. Who knew all those years spent eating food, reading about it and looking for the next restaurant to try or watching cooking shows would have left such an indelible impression?! She's back in India after having spent over a decade in the US where she studied as well as taught in academia and now works as a content writer seeing as she can write about pretty much anything. Movie mad, obsessed with the English language, and never one to turn down a glass of good wine, cup of tea, or a good book, she's open to trying any dish once, she enjoys a variety of cuisines with favorites being Ethiopian, Thai, and Lebanese. Natasha covers Bangalore for Chef at Large and can be reached at natasha.ali@www.chefatlarge.in