Mamagoto – Mamasoso

I find myself dining at many restaurants and coming back slightly underwhelmed or in some cases gravely disappointed. When I hear good things about a restaurant despite my best efforts not to, I tend to  have expectations and most of the time they are never met. I find myself realizing that we tend to over hype things. Word of mouth, newspaper and online reviews, Blogs and chatter amongst blogger ( I include myself in this list) are all to blame for over hyping places. Most mediocre restaurants are touted as great spots and in many cases their exorbitant prices are conveniently over looked.

When Mamagoto opened its doors in Bandra there was a crazy rush to dine there. Everyone coming out of that restaurant felt it was Delhi’s gift to Mumbai. Mamagoto has many fans, I however am not one of them.
I visited the Kalaghoda outlet which is much smaller than I anticipated but extremely cozy. I love the busy decor making this feel like a very relaxed casual environment because I had the impression Mamagoto is a more upscale fine dine restaurant. I’m glad it’s more casual. The service is superbly quick and I’m very impressed with how fast the food arrives at my table. The staff is very polite and extremely helpful which adds to my experience. The food however enjoyable I find strictly average.

The main problem I have with salads at oriental restaurants is because they don’t seem very oriental to me. I have the same opinion about their summer salad. It’s suppose to have mango in it but during off season they add oranges to rocket leaves, mushrooms, red onion and what I think is aubergine. As a salad its strictly ok not one I would ever order honestly.

When I was told the dish is rock shrimp I thought it would be hard or the shrimp fused in some sauce with another ingredient. that is what rock implies to me. It turned out to be fried shrimp, very tempura like but thankfully not oily or coated in a thick batter. It’s batter fried shrimp served with a really nice tangy spicy thick dipping sauce. It’s a fun starter and reminds me a little of chicken popcorn –  fried, circular and you can keep popping it. They should actually call it prawn popcorn instead.

The fiery calamari is slivers of calamari batter fried and dusted with red chili powder giving it a nice spicy kick. It’s served with the same dipping sauce as the prawns. Essentially it is EXACTLY like the prawn dish except its calamari and has an addition of spice. Had I known this, I would have ordered something different only because I felt they both tasted similar, with the same sauce. Don’t get me wrong this is one tasty dish. In fact the spice helps giving it an edge over the prawn dish.

The soups we ordered were a chicken sour and pepper soup which was exactly as the name suggests and a seafood mix which wasn’t spicy and a comforting soup.

For mains we opted for a teriyaki rice with lamb and their ‘ legendary’ Chiang mai train station noodles.
The lamb in the rice was soft and tender, the pakchoy crisp and beautiful sadly the rice was extremely sweet. I understand a hint of sweetness or mild flavours but this was like swallowing a bowl of sugar and I’m not use to that so sadly I didn’t get to enjoy my rice dish.

The noodles I asked for in particular because all twitter was talking about was the Chiang mai noodles. I asked the server to describe the noodles to me since no one seemed to say anything more than ‘ don’t miss the chiang mai noodles’ and I was told it comes with noodles, a gravy and your choice of protein. I asked for prawn and sat back waiting to be amazed. What I was served was a bowl of steaming khao suey. I cannot understand why no one said it was just a regular khao suey. Why have they re named a dish that already exists and say that’s our show stopper dish. That is like walking into a restaurant and they say try our special dish – divinity eggs and you’re served a Benedict. Just say its eggs Benedict.  Even more baffling is that Khao Suey is a Burmese dish, and Chiang Mai is in northern Thailand ! What is the connection? I thought I was getting some Thai based noodles.

Thankfully I enjoy a Khao suey but can you imagine if I didn’t ? My server kept saying that Chicken would be a great option but thank god I opted for prawn because oddly enough I detest a chicken khao suey. I’m just so confused why no one calls it by its real name. The khao suey is tasty but it isn’t the best I’ve eaten. Also I’m quite miffed because a khao suey is meant to be served separately with all the condiments on the side. It irks me when it’s all pre mixed in a bowl. Food is personal. Everyone has their preference. I can understand if a chef is making his own dish then he meant for me to eat it as he presents it. That is not the case here, this is a dish I’ve eaten a thousand times ( how it’s meant to be eaten) so I know how I like my Khao suey. I found this one had way too much curry so as a result all my ingredients are drowning in it and I lost a lot of flavour. Again it’s not a terrible dish, it does taste good but it could have been so much better and more than anything I’m so annoyed at this point I’m not enjoying it.
The mains are quite filling so there is hardly any place for dessert but we make an exception and try their Caramel sponge cake with toffee sauce. The slice of cake is massive, and stands tall with a the top coated in delicious caramel sauce, served with a generous scoop of ice cream and toffee sauce on the side. Ideally this would be my favourite but while the cake with the caramel and ice cream is lovely, the sponge its self was rather dry and I was expecting a more moist cake. Maybe I just got an off piece but when eating it all together it tastes lovely. it’s also nearly impossible to finish this dessert. 
While my food tasted good for the most part, I find myself leaving this restaurant mildly disappointed. It really isn’t all that everyone is making it out to be. I thought they could have done so much more with their menu and I was waiting to be wowed which did not happen with any dish. So here’s my honest opinion. The restaurant is one I’m sure I’ll go back to at some point but not because it was great but just because if I’m in and around the area I might pop in to satisfy a Chinese craving. It won’t be one I single out and make the effort to go back to.