>Cafe Mangii is not really ‘new’ by Bandra standards. Technically it’s in Khar and not in Bandra. I had seen this restaurant on the Nike lane earlier too. I spen an inordinately high number of evenings at my ortho’s next door for physiotherapy after all. The front of the restaurant always looked warm and inviting.
Then Maity (AKA Soumik Sen), came into our life, as one of my Finely Chopped Knights. He often told me about Cafe Mangii and claimed that it had one of the best continental fares in Bandra. Then, as fate would have it, the newspaper delivery guy slipped in the menu of Cafe Mangii along with a 15 p c discount coupon below my door. Then Banu bunked yesterday. And K suggested that it was time to go to Cafe Mangii.
The food was everything Maity claimed it to be. And more. Both the dishes that we had were memorable and I can still feel them in my mouth. 24 hours later.
We started off with a couple of ice teas. Black currant was nice and not overly sweet. Long Island had a kick but wasn’t over powering.
The bread basket had a limited range but made up in quality. The bread was warm and very soft. I love good bread and this was right up there with the best.
Our starter, or anti pasti as they say, Carpaccio of beef tenderloin was a work of art. It was a dialectical dish. Good old Marx would appreciate the lovely creation that had come out of the conflict of two diametrically opposite classes. Did I mention that I had studied Sociology in Marxist Calcutta in the nineties?
Well consider this. Beef is a red meat. As heavy and imposing as meats go. And yet what they served at Mangii were the finest and thinnest of slices of this mighty meat. It had a near crepe like consistency to it. A very natural pink shade which evoked some fairly raw passions in us. The meat had a sharp taste which was in contrast to its gentle and submissive texture. It made you sit up and notice it. And then a revolution happened as the taste of the rustic meat mixed with the that of the very elegant and aristocratic cheddar. Add a bite of olive to it and a new world order was born.
A very promising start to the dinner.
Our main course, Lobster Thermidor, recommended by Maity, lived up to the high standards set by the beef. At around Rs 800 (16USD) it was twice as expensive as all other dishes here. But it was the emperor of Thermidors. Most Theremidors which we have had tend to be dominated by cream and cheese with bits of prawn or shreds of lobster thrown in. No such subterfuge here. At Mangii, ‘lobster’ means loads and loads of succulent, fresh and tasty pieces of lobster. The dish was powerful, carried weight, had substance and yet was ethereal and divine. The Thermidor base was artistic and awe inspiring. The meat, solid and resolute. It shot up to the list of our favourite dishes.
Though K had a word or two to say about the mash which came with the dish. Not simple Farmer Fred’s boiled potato with butter and cream stuff. This had corn bits in it and the potato seemed to have strained in delicately. My feisty Bawi (Parsi woman) had a few choice expletives which would be inappropriate here.
We had a Belgian chocolate mousse for dessert. K is more of a mousse person. The good news is that I have managed to recently dull my sweet tooth. I have managed to get out of the rut of chocolates every night which I had got into. I am still a slave to the salty stuff though and midnight dalmut (namkin) trips to the kitchen need to be expunged. I obviously don’t have much to say about the mousse. It was adequate. No complaints.
One drink, one soft drink, a starter, a seafood dish and a dessert came to close to Rs 2000 (40 USD) with tips. I had forgotten to get my discount coupon after taking it out of the cupboard! As if we really needed a reason to go back.
The restaurant flier promised great Italian food, wood fire pizzas and a ‘warm and intimate ambience’. Well the setting was cosy. I loved the grandfather clock that we sat by. The throw away cushion on the side benches, the posters of old ads, the yellow lighting, the earthen colours and mosaic basin in the bathroom whose door K had a tough time opening. It was a bit too ‘warm’ for my liking and I hope they work on their air con. The restaurant was fairly crowded for a Thursday evening which is a good sign. The staff was friendly. The waiter taking the order was not very well informed about the dishes. But we called the head waiter or senior waiter who knew his stuff.
Disclaimer: the plaster in the photo below is result of another fall in the bathroom in our house and NOT of domestic violence. A very lucky escape for K)
PS: Banu hasn’t come for two days after bunking for three days last week. I have this line for her which fans of the movie Don would appreciate this: “Gyara flat’o ke malkin usko dhoond rahi hain. Banu ko pkarana sirf mushkil hi nahin hain, na mumkin hain”
I won’t bother to translate this but this was a line spoken by Amitabh Bachchan in the classic gangsta flick, Don, in the seventies and by Shahrukh Khan in its recent remake.