Eating out with the family is a challenge especially when everyone wants something different. Your cravings for pizza or noodles mean nothing when there are people who must absolutely have Indian Food.
Mandarin & Mircchi, the new restaurant at Ishanya Mall in Pune takes care of this dilemma. Offering a full Indian as well as Asian menu, they have made sure that everyone will find something they like. The Asian menu has a wide array of vegetarian as well as carnivorous options ranging from dimsum, noodles, curries and plenty of delicacies from across Asia. The Indian menu brings you popular dishes from the Tandoor and specialties from the corners of the country like Punjabi Kadhi Pakodi and Gujarati Dal Khichdi.
We were invited for a special tasting at this illustrious establishment and it was a pleasant experience. Ishanya Mall has quite a selection of eclectic restaurants now and Mandarin & Mircchi has joined the fray. The lavish facade of Ashley Furniture (had to step in for a nostalgic look) overlooks the restaurant and you can almost window shop if you choose a patio table.
Drinks weren’t really a part of the ‘eating out’ culture in India until recently, unless you imbibed in alcohol. But ordering a drink, even if it is a mocktail or a nonalcoholic drink, is quite the thing now. Mandarin & Mircchi or M&M has some interesting drinks on offer.
Pan Banarasiwalla is available in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. I went for the mocktail. It turned out to be delicious. Pan is generally enjoyed after dinner so I am not sure what I think of this as an aperitif.
Berry Bunny is a potent whisky based cocktail with berry and chocolate flavors. The Virgin M & M was very refreshing with muddled orange but a bit heavy on the chili.
M& M Mary uses triphala infused water as a base, a slightly different flavor profile from your usual Bloody Mary.
Coffee Cooler is a drink I will try next time, made with espresso and a citrus mix.
Chef Gautam Samel was on hand to answer questions and explain how some of the exotic dishes are created.
Dimsum turned out to be my absolute favorite part of the whole meal. Carrot and Turnip Cake was an explosion of flavors and textures. I am not a big turnip fan. The turnip was very subtle here, with garlic being the real star. This dish is a must try and although it is part of the Asian menu, it doesn’t have a marked non-Indian flavor.
Three Style Mushroom Dimsum are a must for mushroom lovers. Made with three kinds of mushrooms with some dried porcini thrown in, I could make a meal out of these. Vegetable and chive dumplings melted in the mouth but had a fresh crunch from water chestunuts. The vegetable Bao was soft and chewy with a crunchy, sauce filling of veggies and mock meat.
The Dal Makhani at Mandarin & Mircchi is buttery and smoky, a good choice for vegetarians. The Dhingri Paneer came in a spicy yellow gravy with super soft paneer. Mushroom Pot went well with Burnt Garlic Rice.
Mandarin & Mircchi offers some unique desserts so make sure you save room for them. Rabdi Mousse with Saffron Sauce has mild flavors but will have you licking your spoon. Flourless chocolate cake is rich and bursting with dark chocolate. The chocolate brownie is another option for chocolate lovers.
What about the ambience? Two giant origami art pieces grace opposite walls, one depicting a peacock and the other a dragon. You can try your hand at some origami yourself with supplies provided by the restaurant, along with an easy tutorial. Cozy and dimly lit, the restaurant is a good choice for your next family outing.