Mamagoto Musings

I’d been reading about Mamagoto long before it made its way to Bangalore, thanks to editing the pieces from Delhi and Mumbai. Besides the unique name, the descriptions of the food also made it memorable, so when this well-loved chain opened and an invite to visit was forthcoming, I didn’t think twice. Now another very lovely aspect of being a food writer and reviewer is that I’ve made some wonderful friends in this here city. There are a few of us who, when an invite to review an establishment comes along, choose to go together, the better to have a blast! Thus it was that some Saturdays past, us gals and our companions arrived at Mamagoto for lunch. The term Mamagoto translates as “to playing with food” so a sense of whimsy is apparent in every aspect of the establishment, from décor to the menu, dish and drink names. Funky is an apt word, what with an Asian Last Supper portrait on one wall, animated tigers, Fat Buddha faces, and so much more adorning the walls and as cushion covers on the seating!

We’d been told they have a funky cocktail selection and this played out in the drinks that came to the table that afternoon. The favorites were Mexican Confusion, kaffir lime-infused tequila with lychee (INR 399), Bangkok G&T – Gordon’s Gin, tonic, kaffir lime leaves (INR 399) and the JD based Cinnamon Whiskey Story (INR 499). The drinks all packed the necessary punch and had interesting and balanced flavors – definite thumbs up! At this juncture, I should say that we ate an inordinate amount of food that day – much more than a group of six adults and one child could possibly make sense of. I however, went back for dinner a couple weeks later, and ordered some of the same stuff. So, despite the overwhelming nature of the first meal, clarity was found on visit two. There are options a-plenty for the vegetarians, across the menu. The flavors meld elements of various Asian herbs (lemongrass, ginger, galangal, kaffir lime) and the menu is really vast! They have a meal in a bowl concept, where you get a noodle/rice/curry dish in one bowl – these can easily be shared too.

Curry-in-a-bowl
Curry-in-a-bowl

Of the appetizers/grills we tried, the Hot Basil Chicken cups (INR 329) – lettuce cups filled with minced chicken spiced with pepper, basil and chilli, Java Grilled Fish with Sambal Salsa (INR 349) – garlic and chili paste, sticky rice on the side, Rock shrimp tempura, Prawn wrapped Bacon (INR 559 for 6 pieces)[who can go wrong with that?!; this version had Japanese spices, sesame and a luscious dip] made an impression. On my second visit, the vegetarian contingent ordered the Water chestnut spring roll (INR 199), served with a chilli black bean jam and with notes of lemongrass that I really liked – and the crunch of water chestnuts was perfect too. Nursing a bad cold, I said yes to soup on visit one, and the Tom yum prawn really hit the spot – be warned, the soup portions are large and definitely at least 1-by-2 if not 1-by-3 material if you want to have the space to do justice to other stuff!

The vegetarian Laksa Tribute (INR 299) was a huge hit at the table. Coconut milk, galangal and lemongrass melded to form a beauty! The Street vendor’s panang curry bowl, beef (INR 499) was good too – in fact, all the curries are a safe bet. The Prawn in Lime & chilli sauce (INR 499) was a very layered dish in terms of flavors, which came close to being overpowering. As one of the party at our table put it – ‘it’s the taste that keeps giving’; lemony followed by a whoosh of spices. Fiery Thai shrimp fried rice w/Asian green chilli chicken ribbons (INR 499) was my dish of the day, because apart from good prawns and fried rice, the chicken ribbons reminded me of chicken katsu – yum! China Town double cooked pork ribs (INR 399) were ordered on both visits – apparently Mamagoto is known for its ribs, and this was a meltingly good meat selection in a very thick and tasty sauce – not a dry prep and the better for it. Desserts are mundane but taste nice, IF you actually have any space left at the end of the meal! You’ll eat well at Mamagoto and you’ll feel like it’s a party, thanks to the décor and the overall vibe. Service can be patchy – something one has come to expect in Bangalore at new joints that get hit by full houses. But definitely give the place a try!

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