You’ve heard of Mugen, haven’t you? He’s a wayward Samurai fighter in a Japanese cartoon strip, or anime, who can kick-box the opposition every time. Walking into Mamagoto, you tend to flex your muscles like Mugen as the noise levels hit you, and the Ginza-style décor of lights, dragons and fat scowling Chinese warlords stencilled on the walls blind you as you settle in your seats. That is to say, you get a high just walking into the pan-Asian embrace of the popular chain of restaurants. As we growl in Indo-Japanese, Mugen khush hai!
Since we’ve chosen to come very early, we don’t have to wait for a table. Otherwise it’s advisable to book when dining at Mamagoto. The waiters wear black trainers, trousers and black T-shirts that talk to you in messages printed on the back: “If you can read this, you aren’t looking at the food,” says one of them. There are a whole lot of new dishes that Mama has devised for us, so that’s where we start.
First we order a virgin mohito from the bar. Mama obviously likes trendy, so we get it in a glass jar with plenty of ice. The lotus stem starters arrive triple fried with burnt garlic, dried milk and tossed in a hot sweet sauce. Mugen murmurs into my ear, “We Japanese don’t do milk, so why have they added it?”. I reply, “Because Mama-go-to have milk in India!”
Sugar and spice
Mama also likes to add a lot of chilli sauce in many of the dishes. We try the Hua Hin Highway rolls and these turn out to be crispy fried rolls filled with asparagus and cheese, and laced with galangal and lemon grass. The Three Pepper Bomb or the rainbow dim sums have three buttons of red, green and yellow peppers. We settle for chicken satay and soft-shelled crabs for the mains. They are both deeply satisfying.
There are soups and salads, plenty of veggie options, bowls of rice and noodles with sauces, and even eggless desserts from Mandalay to Mikimoto. “Stop, stop!” warns Mugen, “Mikimoto is a type of cultured pearl in Japan.” “So what?” I reply. “If Mama wants to add cultured pearls in her soup, along with truffle oil, don’t you think the rich Indian will be happy?”
No matter what you choose, there’s something for all tastes. Mamagoto makes you happy!
From Rs 1,200 per person.