Follow a culinary trail carved out by the Mekong river as it flows through seven countries. Its namesake, the new pan-Asian restaurant at Marigold Hotel presented a menu so extensive, Rajat Bigghe walked out with a plan for trip 2.
A sip of Tibet, a few bites of China, Burma and Laos followed by a serving of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. No we aren’t planning a coup to take over the world’s kitchens, but it’s something Marigold Hotel’s newly opened restaurant Mekong is attempting. They seem to have taken the word ‘pan-Asian’ quite seriously (and thankfully so!). And as a bonus they also serve Japanese sushi and teppanyaki.
Mekong’s décor is very relaxing with a murals of rippling water and framed pictures of fish. We loved the antique bird cages that doubled up as lampshades and the live station island for teppanyaki, sushi, dimsums, and the Oriental grill (yakitori, satays) made for very interesting interiors.
To begin with, the chef got our appetite growling by sending us a basket of prawn crackers. Served with a pungent chilli dip, these chips are addictive. This is followed by a small bowl of stir fried snow peas with coarsely chopped garlic. Another munchy you must be wary off. After all we don’t want to fill our stomachs just before a delicious meal.
Coming to the restaurant’s signature dishes, for starters they offered us piping hot Khow Suey (Chicken), our favourite from the Burmese kitchen. The soup was divine – smooth, creamy, blissfully spiced with a hint of sour and tang. The color was rich orange with a slice of red pepper adding a lot of contrast and it had fried noodles, boiled egg, greens, fried onions, spices and chicken in it.
We opted to go for Sushi and ordered Ebi UraMaki (non-vegetarian) and the Avocado and Shiitake Maki roll (vegetarian). Ebi UraMaki tasted quite fresh, well seasoned, but the rice was too fermented. The vegetarian maki roll was spot on with a perfect filling of boiled vegetables and tasted brilliant with wasabi tofu and soy. A must try for the vegetarians. In this course, the vegetarian dishes scored. If you are feeling ravenous, skip the soups. You won’t be missing too much since most of the options are the usual Chinese and Thai ones.
In the main course we tried the Cong Pao Yang Rou (sliced lamb), Gai Pad Bai Gaprow (Thai style minced chicken), Gan bian Si Ji Dou (stir fried long beans), Phad Thai (flat noodles) and Dan Be Con (spring onion fried rice).The sliced lamb was yummy and the meat was tender, with a brownish tinge and it went well with the spring onion fried rice. The rice was nothing special but was light with fresh flavour of spring onion. The Thai styled minced chicken just wasn’t right. The white colour gave us the impressions of dish with soft flavours, but in reality it was too spicy.
For those who love Phad Thai, this one would be a good choice. Take note, it’s slightly spicy… the peppery kind. So if you are not a fan of black pepper you might want to tell them that when ordering. The stir fried long beans is a big serving, and a gingery one at that. Not one of our favourites for sure and we didn’t hesitate to simply ignore this dish.
When it came to desserts, there simply was no room for complaint. The Thap Thim Krawp, which was frozen coconut milk and water chestnuts with strawberry essence, was amazing. Also, their Mekong special homemade ice cream, which is made of coconut and jaggery was just superb. This one we definitely recommend!
So what’s the verdict? We say ‘must visit’!
Must try – Cong Pao Yang Rou, Avocado and Shiitake Maki roll, Mekong special homemade ice-cream.
Meal for Two: Rs. 2000 (without alcohol)