Mamagoto is a relatively recent arrival on the Chennai gastronomy scene, and has become quite popular in a short span of time. We’ve been meaning to visit for a while, but it never really worked out, so this is long overdue. My sister visited me recently and we were looking for a new food place to try out – so we instantly decided a to pay a visit to this restaurant for lunch.
Mamagoto is positioned as a casual dining restaurant, with the restaurant branding themselves as ‘fun asian eating’. So the ambience is quite relaxed with bright colors, eclectic Asian artwork on the walls, printed floor tiles and traditional wooden seating with brightly colored cushions. The overall mood is strongly Asian.
Even the glass partition overlooking the outdoor has bright red flowers on it which I liked. Also, we visited on a weekday at about 2 pm, and it was not very crowded.
Mamagoto has a pretty exhaustive menu (both veg as well as non-veg) covering Thai, Chinese/Cantonese, Burmese, Vietnamese cuisines; one that will require multiple visits to the restaurant if one were to actually try everything! However, we are purely vegetarian, so we concentrated on that half of the menu 🙂 Pretty wide variety of vegetarian options as well ! One really standout feature about the menu is that they indicate these things:
- Mama Recommends (Chef favorites)
- Old favorites (Classic, well-loved dishes in Asian cuisine)
- Healthy eating options
This is fantastic from a customer standpoint for anyone who’s new to Asian food, or someone who’s trying to eat healthier – like me, for example. It makes navigating the menu and ordering really easier, especially if you’re not familiar with the cuisine. Also helps with specific taste preferences like spicy/non-spicy etc.
My recommendation is that you take the help of the staff to order food; they are friendly and know the dishes really well. It really helped us because although we were just two people, we wanted to sample whatever we could without stuffing ourselves silly. Like any great Asian restaurant worth its salt, the staff ensure to ask you if you are allergic to anything, and they make it a point to avoid it if you are. Overall, service was pretty attentive, quick and there was not too much lag between courses.
The first item that arrived was a complimentary dish of rice crackers, served alongside two dips – one was a spicy chilly sauce and the other was a sweet-n-sour sauce. Both were excellent with the crackers.
They have a pretty extensive drinks menu of non-alcoholic beverages. My sister ordered something like an Apple Sangria (I can’t remember what it was called 😦 )and it was fantastic. Just the right amount of sweetness, not loaded with ice and the right flavors. Utterly delicious, especially after walking in the heat outside!
Vegetable basil cups – a healthy starter that’s light on the stomach yet tasty. The portions are bite-sized and the filling is generous with crushed pepper, sweetcorn, soya, zucchini and mushrooms. Served alongside a chilli dip.
Our next choice – the Hua Hin Highway Rolls. Honestly, this was my absolute favorite dish. These are basically crispy spring roll-type fried rolls, with asparagus, galangal (of the ginger family), and lemongrass, along with melty cheese. Utterly, utterly delicious! Added bonus is that they were non-greasy, despite being fried. These were served with a ‘Mama’ dip, which was an amazing, delicious garlicky sauce. Winning combo!
How could I visit an Asian restaurant and not order dumplings?! 😀 Our next dish was the Street Style Spicy Dumplings, which were fantastic. The filling in these are the usual minced vegetables, nothing extraordinary; but the highlight of these dumplings is the sauce that you see on top – a dark and spicy red chili and Chinese vinegar sauce. This elevates an otherwise ordinary dish into something absolutely delicious!
Bonus – They encourage you to eat with chopsticks! It was so much fun trying to get it right 😀
We were absolutely stuffed by this time. Although the menu says ‘small plates’ the portion sizes of the starters are pretty generous and can fill you up quickly. We had already ordered main course however, so we decided to just taste it, and pack the rest 😀
Main course was recommended by the staff – Soggy Thai Basil Fried Rice. This is a rice bowl that has a strong Thai basil favor, with minced vegetables. This was a tad too salty for my tastes, and nothing exemplary. Overall, an average dish. Also, the Thai basil flavor might be overpowering for some. We ended up packing most of this dish, as the portion size was huge, and could easily serve 2 people.
We paid about 2k for this meal. For 2 people, considering all the items we ordered, it is value for money and could’ve easily fed 3 people, because we packed most of the main course. The pricing is also on par with any other restaurant in this range, no surprises there. Sometime during our meal, the restaurant manager visited our table and enquired if everything was upto scratch. When we said we were visiting for the first time, he offered us a complimentary discount voucher – a 20% off on our next meal. I’m not sure if this is offered to everyone who visits for the first time (or if we got lucky because it wasn’t very crowded that day), but it is a nice touch of customer service if it is.
Clearly, we had no room for dessert at the end of this meal 😀 so maybe next time 😉 Overall, a nice place to try out Asian cuisine. One of the better restaurants serving Asian in Chennai, in fact. I’ve heard amazing things about their ‘Hawker’s Hall’ menu, so that’s reserved for next time as well 🙂