I am not a big fan of buffets. Restaurants invariably hold back their signature dishes from the buffet, and try to compensate by focussing on quantity. Mamagoto is the latest restaurant to join the lunch buffet bandwagon. However, Mamagoto is calling its new offering ‘Anti-Buffet’.
Exactly what is an Anti-buffet? Mamagoto describes the concept as “a buffet, but not”. Quite a head-scratcher! I was invited to the launch of their buffet to experience the concept. My understanding is that Mamagoto is trying to address the problem of cold, uninspiring food in buffets by offering live stations and making dishes to order. The anti-buffet boasts of a seven-course meal – and many of the dishes on offer will be served to the table.
The first couple of courses are soups and salads (Sweet Corn – Veg and Non Veg, Som Tum, and Thai Chicken). However, you’d be best advised to not expend too much of your appetite on these two courses. There’s a lot of food to come!
One of the things that you should absolutely go bazinga on is the Khao Suey! There’s an assortment of noodles and condiments that you can add to your Khao Suey to tweak it to your liking. Khao Suey, as well as its cousins like the Train Noodles and Laksa Tribute, have always been Mamagoto’s strength.
The buffet features eight appetisers, evenly distributed among veg and non-veg. Among the lot that was served to us, the Chicken Dimsum, Chicken Satay, and the Konjee Crispy Vegetables were impressive. The Chicken Winglets could have been a tad more tender, and the flavours of the sauce hadn’t really seeped in. The Veg Dimsums also need some work.
One of the major attractions of the anti-buffet is the Teppanyaki counter where Chicken or Assorted veggies are grilled with a sauce of your choice. The sauces available were Ponzu, Peanut, Hibachi, and Butter Garlic. I tried a little bit of Chicken in Ponzu (a watery but tangy sauce), and the result was quite delicious! I’d love to see Prawns also at the Teppanyaki counter, but I realize that one can’t get too ambitious at a value for money buffet.
The main course features Steamed Rice, Fried Rice, and Noodles along with an assortment of sides. The Thai Green Curry at Mamagoto is among the best in the city, and it was quite easily the best dish of the main course. Some of the other oriental delights on offer were Prawns in Red Curry, Konjee Crisy Lamb, and Vegetables in Chilli Garlic Sauce.
Desserts is one section where the anti-buffet looks quite like a traditional buffet. On offer are humdrum stuff like cup cakes, pastries, cut fruits, and ice creams. I feel that Mamagoto is missing a trick by not offering at least one signature dessert in it’s anti-buffet. We were provided coconut ice cream on request, but that’s something that should probably feature in the regular spread.
I can’t really complain too much, though. The anti-buffet is priced at Rs. 660 (inclusive of taxes). And, at that price, the Khao Suey and the Thai Green curry alone make it worth every penny. The Dimsums and the Teppanyaki make the deal all the more sweeter. Mamagoto’s focus on leveraging live counters and preparing dishes on order helps it avoid the pitfalls of a buffet; almost everything was hot and delicious! If you are craving for a wholesome Pan-Asian lunch, Mamagoto’s anti-buffet should definitely be on your list.