Restaurant Review: Mekong at The Palladium Hotel (Photos)

Nowshad Rizwanullah , 06 Nov 2013
Mekong Restaurant
Mekong Restaurant

Authentic Asian food is hard to come by in Mumbai, despite the handful of international eateries that have recently found their way to our city. One of the newest entrants in the Asian fine dining scene is Mekong, housed atop The Palladium Hotel (formerly The Shangri-La). We were a bit late finding our way to the sprawling dining room perched on the hotel’s 37th floor, put off in part by mixed early reviews. But since new establishments often take time to find their footing, we decided to give this one another chance to prove its chops (literally). From what we can tell, Mekong has been paying close attention to its critics, and has worked hard to earn a second look. Our recent lunch expedition suggests it would be entirely well deserved.

Mekong Dining Room
Mekong Dining Room

We did our best to sample widely from the menu that’s split between Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese fare, and found all three cuisines ably executed. From our opening selections, we were most impressed by the Dim Sum: the Sui Mai with Chicken was simple yet substantial in flavor, and the Steamed Edamame and Truffle Dumplings were delicate and creamy. Sadly the Thai Spicy Green Papaya Salad with Peanuts (Som Tam) was under-flavoured, while the Crispy Squid with Salt & Pepper suffered the opposite affliction; however, we appreciated the authenticity of the ingredients, if not the construction (down to the sichuan peppercorns). No such problems could be found with the excellent Shrimp and Pork Rice Paper Rolls, which were light, fresh and well-balanced.

Sui Mai with Chicken
Sui Mai with Chicken
Steamed Edamame and Truffle Dumplings
Steamed Edamame and Truffle Dumplings
Thai Spicy Green Papaya Salad with Peanuts
Thai Spicy Green Papaya Salad with Peanuts
Crispy Squid with Salt & Pepper
Crispy Squid with Salt & Pepper
Shrimp and Pork Rice Paper Rolls
Shrimp and Pork Rice Paper Rolls

For the main course, we made short work of the Crispy Boneless Chicken with Dried Chilli and Sichuan Spicy Chilli Bean Paste, which, to our liking, was more crusty than crispy. The Sautéed Morning Glory with Garlic, Chili and Soya Sauce  is the best we’ve had in the city – bright green and crunchy, cooked precisely and without fanfare. Also earning high marks was the Steamed Fish with Shallots, Ginger and Light Soya Sauce. Though slightly overcooked, the flesh was beautifully steeped in the flavor of its accompanying aromatics.

Crispy Boneless Chicken with Dried Chilli and Sichuan Spicy Chilli Bean Paste
Crispy Boneless Chicken with Dried Chilli and Sichuan Spicy Chilli Bean Paste
Sautéed Morning Glory with Garlic, Chili and Soya Sauce
Sautéed Morning Glory with Garlic, Chili and Soya Sauce
Steamed Fish with Shallots, Ginger and Light Soya Sauce
Steamed Fish with Shallots, Ginger and Light Soya Sauce

Of course, no Asian meal seems complete without the obligatory rice or noodle dish, and we happily indulged in the glutinous Vietnamese Fried Rice and the finely textured Wok-Fried Glass Noodles with Minced Pork and Chili Bean Paste. We were skeptical ordering Pho (Tenderloin Noodle Soup) in a city where buffalo mascarades as beef, and as expected the noodle soup was let down by a broth that lacked the depth and character of authentic beef bones. We were also disappointed with the Sliced Roasted Suckling Pig, which showed up late and was underwhelming in preparation and presentation, but quickly forgot about it as we tucked into the sweet, sticky and spicy Australian Lamb Chops.

Vietnamese Fried Rice
Vietnamese Fried Rice
Pho (Tenderloin Noodle Soup)
Pho (Tenderloin Noodle Soup)
Sliced Roasted Suckling Pig
Sliced Roasted Suckling Pig
Australian Lamb Chops
Australian Lamb Chops

Overall, we walked away full and satisfied, helped along the way by the inventive cocktails shuttled in from the adjacent Li Bai Bar. Our biggest grudge would have to be with the pricing: for the average diner, the cost of a meal would restrict Mekong to special occasions (or extraordinary cravings). But considering you’re dining on the penthouse floor of a Mumbai 5-star, we think it is an experience that is well worth it.

The Details:

Mekong
The Palladium Hotel
Senapati Bapat Marg
Lower Parel, Mumbai – 400013
T: (+91-22) 61628000

Related Stories

Related Stories

More Better Living