A lazy summer afternoon with a good view and a nice ambience with a bunch of foodies gathered around makes for a good weekend lunch. Café Mangi, Powai is one of those places one can indulge oneself in. A restaurant bursting with natural lights and a minimal décor resonates to their menu; minimal, mindful and mouth-watering (selectively!). A restaurant which makes a custom menu just to feed critical, moody, hungry bloggers according to me is well prepared to wipe me off the floor with what they have to offer. A five-hour long lunch on a very hot day in May was trying to keep about 15 bloggers cool and composed while all took out their cameras and writing pads to pen down their thoughts on the ‘Mangiical’ food which was about to be served.
I have never been a cheese person, especially as a child who grew up in the 90s when the market just had to offer me tasteless processed cheese, I stayed away from it. Over the years when the global market hit Indian consumers in the taste buds I have grown warm to some cheeses available; the amuse-bouche, the cheese platter at Mangii amused me with the way it was curated, yes it was like a piece of art which was preserved for their customers; the fruits, the olives the array of cheeses, goat, brie, Emmental and Cheddar, the goat cheese which took my breath away was one of my favourites on the menu. It is a must try of cheese enthusiasts as well as people venturing out to explore new thinglings on their taste buds. Additionally, the watermelon cups were something new, something cool and something amazingly different which was another plate which was finished as quickly as it was served.
Summer, calls for cocktails and most places fail to impress with anything but a cold sweet concoction for newbies who have started to drink. Mangii’s Guava and Mint Granita is not just boozy to the right high but it has a taste which does not over power your attention away from the food. It is a good balance of the guava and the mint with small granules of ice trying to keep it cool in this hot weather. The summer soups are fresh, and a must try, both the soups on the tasting menu; the Potage Parmentier and a Roasted Red Pepper were different and indeed had depths of flavour but personally I wanted to stick to my cocktail. Next came the salads the Cranberry Apples and the Pickled Beet Carpaccio; my recent exploration with healthy food and making salads innovatively was kept in front of me; the salads had the composition of the salty, the citrusy on a plate. My favourite being the Pickled Beet Carpaccio; the mix of goat cheese, walnuts, balsamic grizzle and that orange dressing were a harmony on a plate.
The pizzas were average and acceptable for an Italian place; thin crust and good taste, nothing out of the world but still worth a try for the pizza loving crowd; the La Casa Bianca and the Smoked Barbeque chicken were well done and some of my pizza loving blogger friends enjoyed it more than I did.
The small plates failed to impress me as much as their salads and appetizers; the only dish which I will suggest is the Gorged Mushroom which was soft and well done in the right way. The others; Chicken Panchetta Envelope; too much sauce and too little taste; the Crostini Di Polenta, with polenta not well done; Jerk Chicken Olivetti, poorly seasoned; the Baked Jalepeno Molten which was cold; all were underwhelming and made me think about my main course more often than I do in a restaurant.
My big plate of butterflied Salmon Steak had an undercooked Broccoli Potato Au Gratin, a not so fresh but well done fish and a beetroot emulsion which according to me should have been emulsified for another dish. However, as the fish was well done, I will spare the chef a nasty eye but I do think the Gratin has a lot of promise on the plate as long as the potatoes are cooked properly.
The Pollo Lombardy, one of the other mains which I tasted off a blogger mate’s plate, a safe bet; grilled chicken, mash some jus a little steamed asparagus; not making it too complicated or something which needs a lot of attention. The Grilled Cottage Cheese Steak on the other hand again was a pretty dish which failed to impress, so many elements on the plate were a fest for my eyes but failed to increase my food mojo for the afternoon. The Lemon Pepper Basa was similar to my salmon, well done fish badly done dish.
For the sweet ending I would ask everyone to try their Philadelphia Baked Cheese cake with that yum blueberry compote. However, do stay away from the Velvet Brick brownie which has more than enough red colouring, is denser than the clouds and not a winner after a good meal.
All in all I would give Mangii a thumbs up for their amuse-bouche, the cocktails, their salads and the cheesecake. Do pop in if you are there for a quick bite but tread carefully if you are there for a full meal! The chef even though has put a lot of thought on the presentation which works wonders for first timers to the restaurant like me, the plates should however be more thought out and executed in terms of the combinations of taste and need to be well cooked at times.