Cafe Mangii, Powai

The last time I had visited Powai was in 2001 or earlier.  In fact it has been so long that I can’t remember anything at all about the place. Hiranandani was still quite new and though people had moved in, it was completely a different  story. S and I were going to meet up with a few of his friends in Powai and I had zero recollection of the place. I was intrigued to see how it looked now and wanted to know for myself if it really was as clean and wonderful as everyone had been saying. It was a looong drive from South Bombay, but since it was a Sunday it was much faster and a delight to see so many different areas. For the first time, I saw IIT Bombay!

But let’s talk about Café Mangii. I had heard so much about the place and in fact had planned to visit the restaurant in Pune where they opened a branch a few months ago. Unfortunately, that had never worked out. I was keen to try the pizzas which were called some of the best in Bombay by a very credible source. 4 of us from a party of 15 reached a little earlier and I was glad that I could make my first impressions while the entire restaurant was still quite empty. The entrance has white pebbles strewn on both sides of a wooden pathway. Atop the pebbles, that have very Mediterranean inspired tables and chairs, which would be great to have a cup of coffee in the evening and some dessert.

We walked in and after a little planning from the host’s side, they seated us. We were really hungry and it seemed like everyone was going to be a little late so we went ahead and ordered.  We decided to start off with jalapeño poppers, Gnocchi in a creamy pesto sauce and a light Caprese Salad. The jalapeño poppers were flavoursome, not spicy and cooked crisp. They weren’t oily to touch and had a good coating. The pesto sauce stayed true to its name and was super creamy and rich. The Gnocchi was a little gluggy and could you have been better. It stuck to my palate and did not allow  me to fully enjoy the sauce. The sauce, by itself, had a rich texture and a subtle yet perfect hint of basil. I would have enjoyed it as a dip by itself with some thin and crispy bread. The Caprese Salad was my favorite. Nice and fresh mozzarella with sweet tomatoes with a drizzling of basil oil or basil pesto, I am not sure. It was light and flavorful. Great for a hot day.

For mains, we decided to go for pizza and some pasta. The pizzas are supposed to be some of the best in the city and are baked in a wood-fired oven. They are thin and crispy and very light. The sauce is good and isn’t overpowering. The vegetables stay crisp, which is a relief. A good pizza experience but I wouldn’t say they are the best that I’ve eaten.

We ordered a penne in red sauce and the Penne was just very slightly underdone. It had a bit more bite than what was needed. The sauce was good. A little bit of pepper added some excellent extra flavor and really brought out the taste of basil. From the mains, my favorite was the Saffron risotto; but then again I am quite partial to risottos! There was a beautiful aroma of Saffron and they definitely didn’t skimp on it. It was creamy and cooked very well. The seasoning is excellent for all the foods and I was glad to have no complaints regarding it.

The downer was that the Balsamic Vinegar had some insects in it but they were apologetic and quick to change it. They even sent some dessert to our table to make up for the negative incident. They sent us a blueberry cheesecake which had a blueberry compote and a whipped cream Strawberry cake. I wouldn’t go here for dessert but then I am very picky about my desserts so I could be quite biased. Nevertheless, it’s always good when a restaurant makes up for their mistake graciously. 

Service here is very mediocre. It takes a few minutes to get someone’s attention and for some reason they like to hang out in groups near the various counters. Once you do get their attention, they are polite and some are well informed. However, they do not serve very well with larger groups of b people and they prefer if you serve yourself.

All in all, it was a good experience but I don’t think I will be running here again soon. I wouldn’t mind meeting someone here but it didn’t make for an extremely memorable experience.

For its Caprese salad, Saffron risotto and the graciousness of accepting their mistake, I give Cafe Mangii a 3.25 out of 5.

Restaurant Timings: 11 AM – 12:00 AM

Contact Numbers: 02225705137 , 02225705139

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