Hungry for Hunan
Mamagoto’s new monsoon menu focuses on cuisine from the western Hunan region of China. So, we arrive expecting an overload of chillies and flavours that set the most stoic tongue afire.
What we get instead, is the beautifully stir-fried Pan Asian Porcini Mushroom. It isn’t as spicy as we imagined it would be -- instead, it is the fresh mushrooms and noodles we taste with the sauce playing second fiddle.
We highly recommend this unaffected dish. Red and green chillies in their full glory arrive on a bed of fish and tofu next. The Tangzte River Grilled Fish is a careful preparation.
The fainthearted can relax -- it is spicy but not so much that you cannot enjoy it. The spices do tend to overpower the fish at first, but once you’re acclimatised to the flavours, you could experience a more wholesome taste of fish.
The chef later tells us that the key to Hunan cuisine is not to go overboard with complex cooking techniques, because the spices stand out anyway.
You could pass the vegetarian version of this dish, which contains tofu. We try A Thai Lost in Hunan, which is spicy Thai lamb served with red curry and pad thai noodles and Mr Du’s Noodles with vegetarian and chicken balls.
We think the sauce and lamb dish are an acquired taste. Both the noodle dishes have succulent vegetarian and chicken balls, but we find the noodles a tad bland.
The most delicious dish comes from what most would assume is a most unremarkable ingredient -- lotus stem. The Fried Lotus Stem arrives crisp and stark, garnished only with garlic and red chillies. Dip the stems in Sichuan sauce and the effect is sumptuous.
(We cannot rate this experience as this was a preview)