Mekong – Exquisite Pan-Asian

Mekong - Sweet Radish and Bell Pepper Sushi

Mekong, the Pan-Asian speciality restaurant at Marigold by Greenpark, is named after the Mekong River, which is one of the longest rivers in Asia. It flows from the Tibetan Plateau to Vietnam, passing through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia. The cuisine of Mekong is inspired primarily by the land that this majestic river traverses.

I was invited to a blogger’s table organised by Burrp. Burrp was one of the early movers in the restaurant search and discovery game, and the first platform where I began reviewing restaurants. However, after its acquisition by Infomedia 18 (a subsidiary of Reliance Industries owned Media giant Network 18), its growth stalled. Within a few years Burrp receded from Hyderabad. Now, Burrp is working on a revamp and a relaunch across India. It is hoping to leverage the substantial might of its parent company to quickly gain a foothold.

Our menu for the day was specially curated to offer us a taste of the many flavours of Mekong. First course was Sushi. Although Sushi is a Japanese dish, its origin can be traced back to the Mekong river. Several thousand years ago, people living along the river, would pack cleaned fish into jars with cooked rice. The rice would ferment into alcohol, which would keep the fish edible for a long time. It was only a couple of hundred years ago, that this ancient preparation evolved into a pairing of raw but fresh fish and rice flavoured with rice vinegar. The two Sushis picked out for the night were Oshinko Maki (Pickled Sweet Radish and Bell Pepper Sushi Roll) and Ikura Gunkan Maki (Cap Salmon Sushi topped with Salmon Roe). Mekong is known to dish out some brilliant Sushi, and during my earlier visit, I had been floored by their Avocado and Crab Sushi Roll. My expectations were high, and the Salmon Sushi totally lived up to it. The brilliantly bright orange salmon eggs not only enhanced the appearance, but also added an interesting texture to the sushi.

The Sushis were followed on the heels by Dimsums – Baical Bocal Yaoguo Luomu Jiaozi (Baby Bok Choy, Spinach, and Cashew Nuts) and Xia He Lingjiao De Har-gow (Shrimp and Water Chestnut Dumpling). Both of the dumplings were spectacular. The water chestnut added a surprising crunch and a hint of sweetness that elevated the juicy shrimp Haw-Gow.

Among the appetizers the Hanoi Toi Tom (Garlic Prawns in a Spicy Pepper Sauce), Ngoh Hiang (Deep Fried Hokkien Roll stuffed with Chicken and Prawn Mince) were my top picks. The Soup offered to us was, my perennial favourite, Khow Suey. I love to douse my Khow Suey in peanuts, garlic, and onions. So, I would like to see additional topping being served on the side, but Marigold was spot on with the flavours of this vibrant noodles soup.

In the main course, we were offered Pad Thai, Khao Pad (Mix Meat Fried Rice), and Jasmine Khaw Pela (Steamed Jasmine Rice). Sides included Gai Pad Bai Gaprow (Mince Chicken with Chilly Basil), Curried Crab (Singaporean Style Curried Crab), Lamb Massaman Curry, and Thai Green Curry. The Pad Thai and the Khao Pad were decent, but everything else were really fab. The Massaman Curry, which is an unique blend of Arabic and Indian spices and Thai ingredients, is one of my favourites, and I went gaga over this dish. But, then I might be a bit biased, as it is among the few dishes outside of Bengali cuisine, which uses chunks of potato in the gravy. The Thai Green Curry was perfectly balanced – creamy, spicy, sweet and tangy.

We finished off our meal in style, with a wonderful dessert platter containing, Dates Cigar, Coconut Jaggery Ice cream, and Crushed Ice Coconut Milk with Water Chestnuts.

Mekong - Marigold By GreenPark Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

My first visit to Mekong during the Hyderabad Foodies Club meet-up was intriguing, but not outstanding. However, the recent visit hit all the right notes. A meal for two at Mekong would cost around Rs. 2,500, which is quite decent for a star property, and the food lives up to the hype. If you are in the mood for top-notch Pan Asian, you shouldn’t really look beyond Mekong and Republic of Noodles.

Mekong
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Ratnendu Ray - February 18, 2016

Great review of what am sure is a great restaurant…but this should ideally count as a review for a specific event, not of the restaurant in general. As invitees of the restaurant, you would have been the recipient of the chefs’ and servers’ best efforts, unavoidably exceptional from the daily norm. In that sense, its a review of what’s the best this restaurant can throw…not what the restaurant’s average performance is – which is what normal readers of the review can expect when they go. What would be more helpful for that target audience (the non-foodie random customer) would be a review based on a quiet visit, as a regular customer on a regular day.

Of course this is extremely well written as always…

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    Pallab - February 18, 2016

    That is a fair point. Reviews based on events and meetups run the risk of not being completely accurate. But, since I’m not a full time critique/blogger, it’s difficult for me to determine the average performance of every restaurant through multiple visits. So, what I attempt to do is somewhat akin to what a pollster does. I try to gauge how the restaurant will perform based on the various signs I am seeing. Some of the things like how well trained and skilled the waiters are and how consistently good the food is can be gauged with a reasonable amount of confidence even from the tasting session. Perhaps the added pressure of blogger’s table kind of balances things out, because I have witnessed a surprising number of restaurants falter during meetups and events.

    I do tend to go back to the restaurants I really like during my tasting sessions, and almost everyone of them have lived up to the expectations during later visits. The stars like UKI, and Jonathan’s Kitchen performed across multiple visits. Habanero is the only one for which I reduced the rating awarded based a tasting session during on a subsequent visit.

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