It has often been said that the towering piles of mangoes in all their green-gold hued glory are the only thing that make summers bearable in India. Celebrating the mango season with an over-the-top meal featuring the raw and ripe fruits in every dish seemed just the thing to do at a time when the heat had invaded even the usual pleasant climes of Bengaluru. The Grand Mercure, nestled in a quiet side street of Koramangala showcases the king of fruits in a mango festival every summer and this year we decided to head over and see what the fuss was all about.
The meal started with a light appetizer – a vegetarian Mango Caprese salad (above bottom-right). This was beautifully plated and looked really pretty. We enjoyed the pairing of juicy slices of mango with halved cherry tomatoes and the more intensely flavoured slivers of sundried tomatoes, mild mozzarella, crisp lettuce and micro greens. The non-vegetarian version (above top right) had shrimp and raw mangoes, with a soy chilli dressing. Both the salads were fairly lightly dressed and it would be good to call for some extra dressing on the side so that the flavours come through.
The other item on the appetizer menu is the Mango poppadams, in a choice of Falafel or Chicken (above left). The falafel version wins this one hands down. The bite-sized crispy falafels, with a light mango salad and creamy tzatziki dressing went well together and looked cute in the little dish made of papad. The chicken version could have used a little more seasoning..it lacked a little something to make it pop. Eat these quickly since the papad bowl starts to get soggy with the salad inside!
The mango-based cocktails that we had were a tad disappointing. They lacked the zing and freshness that one might expect from a fresh mango drink, and also perhaps, a garnish or two to up the glamour quotient. We sipped on the cocktail on the left in the picture above; this had mango and apricot juices, with a lot of pulp messing with the consistency of the drink. The Aam panna (Non alcoholic, but the version we tried had vodka in it) had a nice punch to it and was assertively spiced.
The vegetarian entrees were definitely the highlight of the mango menu. The balsamic grilled vegetables (above left) were tender-crisp and nicely glazed. They came perched on a scoop of Parmesan Mango Polenta that was really creamy and flavourful. The ravioli (above top right) had spinach, ricotta and raw mango inside and was served with a mango sauce..again this dish was enjoyed by everyone.
We’re always happy to see a good Thai curry (above bottom right) and this one was done really well, with succulent chunks of sour raw mango providing a nice twist to the regular curry. This was served with a wonderfully fragrant jasmine rice.
For the non-vegetarian entrees there was a choice of fish, chicken and tenderloin. The Chicken breast stuffed with raw mangoes and mushrooms (above left) was delicious. The Grilled Fish with raw mango piccada (above top right) had a lot of elements on the plate but somehow lacked oomph and the sprouts that it was topped with struck a slightly discordant note in the dish.
The eagerly awaited mango dessert course had some hits and misses. The Mango Panacotta with the Basil Raspberry Coulis (above left) was not set too well but the cubes of fruit with the custardy creaminess of the pannacotta were pleasant enough. The Passion fruit and Mango Tart had a hint of rosemary and came topped with thick slices of fresh mango..a little doughy-ness in the bottom crust needs to be addressed here. We did find the Thai inspired Kaffir lime leaf crepe stuffed with fresh mangoes and drizzled with a mango sauce a little heavy on the kaffir lime but folks who enjoy the intense flavour might like this dish.
It was definitely a novelty and a pleasure to savour the flavours of the season’s best mangoes highlighted in each and every dish. Mango lovers will enjoy this menu and the chef’s efforts to present the King of fruits in new and delicious avatars.Promotion Period: Available everyday from 2nd May 2014 – 17th May 2014, 7pm to 11pm Phone: 91-80-4512 1212 Accepts Cards: Yes Parking: Valet Address: 12th Main Restaurant, Grand Mercure Bangalore, 12th Main, 3rd Block, Koramangala, Bangalore- 560034