A Tall Orderhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/a-tall-order-5/

A Tall Order

Go to Mekong,Palladium’s newest restaurant for the view,but wait for the food to get better.

As we stepped into the 37th floor of Palladium Hotel (earlier Shangri La),the panoramic view of the city greeted us through large panes at its oriental restaurant Mekong. Walking past a large corridor,we were seated at one of the enormous French windows giving us a view of the city’s iconic landmarks,from Mahalaxmi Racecourse to Haji Ali Dargah. The restaurant does not have an over-the-top oriental look with minimalistic Chinese lanterns that blend well with the wooden vases lined against stilted panels.

Thanks to the long elevator ride,a drink seemed inevitable to calm our nerves. Upon our server’s recommendation,we called for a Mekong Bowl — a gin-infused,sangria-like drink with oriental spices that was dramatised with flamed Cointreau

(Rs 2,500),which can easily get a night started for a party of four.

A quick glance at the menu confirmed that the restaurant,which is named after the river that runs through Southeast Asia,serves cuisines from the countries it passes — Chinese,Thai and Vietnamese.

Advertising

For appetisers,we ordered steamed shrimp with scallop dumpling (Rs 650) and pork dumplings with spicy dip (Rs 550). The shrimp and scallop dumpling passed the litmus test with its translucent covering and an aromatic after-taste. However,the pork dumpling was too bland for the spices to cut through the meatiness. In true oriental style,we followed the appetisers with a bowl of soup — Vietnamese hot and sour soup with mushrooms,vegetables and tofu (Rs 700). The fresh coriander managed to offset the sweetness of coconut milk but the soup was overly tangy.

Though the place appeared half-full,the service grew slower with every course. The staff was attentive,but it took almost half an hour for our mains to arrive. We called for an assortment of dishes from all the three regions. Starting with wok-fried lemon grass chicken with onions and chili sauce (Rs 750) we paired it with steaming Thai jasmine rice (Rs 400),which failed to impress us. The rice lacked even a hint of jasmine,and the lemon grass chicken was too dull on the palate.

The disappointment of the first two dishes was compensated by the steamed sliced pork belly cooked Yunnan style with Chinese cabbage tossed in minced ginger and garlic (Rs 1100). Pork,which is tough to steam,was cooked to perfection and the flavours from the sauces lent the dish an authentic touch.

For dessert,the crisp buns with custard and cream (Rs 450) and chilled mango pudding (Rs 550) looked exciting. But the vanilla custard buns,which were steamed and lightly fried to add crispiness,weren’t crispy at all. Instead,it made the buns too chewy. We quickly moved to the mango pudding but the monotonous flavour and texture didn’t wow us.

We suggest you head to Mekong only if you want to check out the view and want to have an unhurried meal,but it’s going to set you back by at least Rs 3,500 (for two,without alcohol).

meenakshi.iyer@expressindia.com