The Phoenix Mall is fast becoming a one-stop shop for restaurants, especially famous food chains. Nearly a dozen chains have opened their doors here in recent times, one among which is Café Mangii.
I haven’t had the opportunity to visit their Mumbai outlet, but the ‘pizza and pasta’ focus on their menu suggests an Italian-themed restaurant.
In fact as you enter, you see boxes of dried pasta, packaged sauces, dried herbs et al arranged visibly.
However, the menu isn’t completely dedicated to the various regions of Italy, as you will find fondues, eggs-to-order, deli fare like burgers and paninis and even the ubiquitous Fish ‘n’ chips on the menu here.
We started with a bread basket of freshly-baked rolls and our server added his personal touch to it by mixing Modena balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic, olive oil and shredded basil for us to dip our rolls into. We thorougly enjoyed the combination that made a smoky, pungent sauce.
Our next discovery, the Cream of Exotic Mushrooms (Rs 225) had porcini, black trumpets, chanterelles and morel mushroom dust pureed, cooked with a dash of garlic and finished with just the right amount of cream.
I was a little surprised to find white button mushroom chunks in the soup. Nevertheless, the blend gave it a wonderful nutty and slightly meaty flavour, with a creamy texture — definitely worth a try.
I have been hunting for cannelloni pasta at several Italian places I have visited for a while now, but was disappointed yet again, as the pasta could be seen on their shelves but was absent from their menu.
I decided to order a Neapolitan wood-fired pizza next, which is supposed to be a Mangii signature preparation. I tried their Alla Fiamma (Rs 425) in which a thin crust pizza is topped with chilli flakes, burnt garlic, glazed onion, buffalo mozzarella and fresh rucola.
The generous portions of creamy and mildly sweet buffalo mozzarella contrast well with the sharp flavour of the rucola. While I didn’t enjoy the rucola, others may enjoy this mix of textures and flavours. I didn’t find enough glazed onion and burnt garlic compared to the buffalo mozzarella on top, but admittedly, the pizza was enjoyable overall.
This time too, I tried the Vegetable Lasagna (Rs 385) on the menu. This item takes some patience to cook, since it can’t be prepared in a jiffy unlike some other pastas.
Since it was a ‘house specialty’, it deserved to be tried — and I was happy to see a stiff, three-layered pasta with finely cut veggies mixed with the trademark tomato and white sauce. The pasta was easy to slice into and the hot burnt crust of the mixed cheese — parmesan and mozzarella — lent the dish a rich creamy texture and taste.
The Rissotto Gamberi (Rs 495) sounded enticing enough to order. It’s description read ‘flambed jumbo prawn in a lobster brandy jus’ i.e. arborio rice cooked in a seafood broth and finished off with sharp brandy jus.
I found the preparation slightly chewy with the prawns overcooked and the rice underdone. The aroma of the broth could have definitely been more pleasant, perhaps it was extracted earlier than required.
For dessert, I tried their Tiramisu (Rs 195) as the other desserts weren’t Italian as such, but certainly worth a look. They serve some enticing Chocolate Mousse, Crème Brulee, Philadelphia Cheesecake and Melting Moment Chocolate Cake — all displayed at the entrance along with daily attractions.
Café Mangii, being a franchise, should be complimented for maintaining relevant standards. Conserving a signature taste at every outlet requires personal supervision and support from local staff. There are a few loopholes, but they could be sidelined as the overall experience was pretty satisfying!
Second Floor Food Court, Phoenix Mall, Viman Nagar 020-30950615