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The food at Trader Vic's Mai Tai Lounge is finger-licking good

We have been to Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lounge in Lower Parel on two or three occasions and have liked the fact that their foodcomes piping fresh from the kitchen and that they are not miserly when it comes to their cocktails. So when we hear that the Tiki-culture inspired lounge is opening a second outlet at Phoenix Market City, Kurla, we decide to check it out, especially after we hear that there are some 20 more dishes added to the existing menu.


The chunky chicken pieces in the Tsukuni and the Mene Asian Sliders with Maui dip, Asian Tartar  sauce and Chilly garlic Aioli sauce melt in the mouth at Trader Vic’s Mai Tai (below) at Kurla. Pics/ Deepali Dhingra

The earthy tones, the Hawaiin music, palm trees and Tiki masks on the walls -- the Tiki culture is prominently on display everywhere. But we are here for the food and on the suggestion of Chef Rahul, opt for the Guava Tai Mai (Rs 395) and Trader Vic’s Own Punch (Rs 395). While both are heavy on the fruity flavours and seem too strong initially, once the ice melts, they taste refreshing and cooling, balancing out the strong flavour of the rum. It has been a while since we have eaten anything and we are keen to embark on the food experience.

We order the Tsukuni (Rs 265) along with the Mene Asian Sliders (Rs 185) and are really glad we do so. Even though they have the same ingredient -- the miso soy minced chicken -- the Tsukuni is in the form of skewers, while the latter is minced chicken patties with bulgogi miso soy. The chunky pieces of chicken melt deliciously in our mouth. Accompanied by a Maui dip, Asian Tartar sauce and Chilly garlic Aioli sauce, we are content to just eat those. But there is lots more to come!

There is nothing extraordinary about the Mai Tai Crispy Chicken (Rs 275), but the Cilantro and Scallion Prawns Skewers (Rs 350) bursts with fresh flavours of garlic and cilantro. The Jalapeno Cheese Balls (Rs 260) are just as we expect them to be -- soft and wholesome, with just a hint of fresh coriander. The Menehune Hummus (Rs 260) is the classic one with green chillies, roasted garlic and fresh pita. The Lomi Lomi Bruschetta (Rs 200) and Trader’s Summer Rolls served with Maui dip (Rs 200), perk up things with their light texture and freshness. Ideal for a hot day!

The starters have set the tone for the day and we hope the main course doesn’t disappoint us. Straight from the wok, the Kung Pao Chicken (Rs 350) is the first to arrive and it’s a good beginning. Served with jasmine rice, it balances out the slightly sweet and spicy flavours to perfection. The Mango Chilli Tenderloin (Rs 370) has chunky pieces of beef that are slightly on the harder side. Compared to the sweet and fresh mango sauce, the chillies are definitely too strong. The Spicy Chilly Fish (Rs 370) lifts up our spirits again, as the red Thai chillies, spicy chilly sauce and the well-cooked pieces of fish make quite a combo.

The Beijing Vegetable Chow Mein (Rs 245) with crunchy vegetables and soy sauce is something we’ve had in many restuarants before. But the icing on the cake are the Volcano Prawns (Rs 390) with crispy egg noodles, green beans, tomatoes and mushrooms. The prawns are light, tasty and fresh. Though the name suggests it to be a spicy dish, it is quite flavourful with medium size prawns fried and then dunked in soy sauce.

And because any meal is incomplete without something sweet, there is Chocolate Nut Tikis (Rs 250) to satisfy our sweet tooth. The nutty dessert is more of a brownie with a cheesecake like crunchy base. All in all, a perfect ending to a delicious meal. We cannot rate the experience as it was a preview

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