“A jazz musician can improvise based on his knowledge of music. He understands how things go together. For a chef, once you have that basis, that’s when a cuisine is truly exciting.” – Charlie Trotter
Mibonasa which derives it’s name from the initial sounds of the first names of all the four family members, is a result of a family’s passion to serve south east Asian cuisine in Navi Mumbai. With a wide array of Dimsums, salads, soups, appetizers, sushis, maki rolls, pot meals and some signature south east Asian curries and desserts, this restaurant attempts to bring to you the best of Chinese, Korean, Asian, Thai, Indonesian, Japanese, Burmese and Sri Lankan cuisines.
Located in a quiet bylane in Sanpada parallel to the Palm beach road, Mibonasa welcomes you with it’s huge red doors opening into a wide space with a full length mirror on one side followed by a flight of stairs, a wall craft on the other end and a small tea room tucked away in one corner boasting a variety of tea leaves. The walls along the flight of stairs are uniquely styled with newspapers with black coloured doodling done on them. The dining area upstairs exhibits contemporary Asian decor which is well complemented by beautiful chandeliers, the bar counter at the extreme left, the wooden partition panels, comfy couches and wooden tables.
We tried three varieties of their signature mocktails which included a watermelon based mocktail called Cool watermelon, a cranberry based mocktail called Berry hibiscus and a coconut based one called Cocobar. While Berry hibiscus tasted fine, the other two weren’t as impressive.
Tender Coconut Soup
A Thai coconut based soup with red chillies, basil, shredded chicken and some exotic vegetables like broccoli, carrots, baby corn, zucchini, etc. Mushrooms which are also generally a part of this soup weren’t added to it since I’m allergic to them. The warm and mildly coconuty flavour of the soup was absolutely soothing as it trickled down the throat gradually. Brilliantly done!
Vietnamese Hot and Sour Chicken Salad
A healthy salad comprising of shredded chicken, bean sprouts, red chillies tossed with glass noodles in plenty of vinegar and lime juice. The overdose of vinegar and lime juice made it too very sharp and acrid which was escalated even further by the citrusy flavour of the lime juice making it absolutely unpleasant to consume.
Banana Leaf Wrapped White Fish
A small fillet of Basa fish marinated in tamarind pulp, spiced with lemongrass, juliennes of ginger and a chilli was wrapped in a banana leaf and steam cooked.The subtle aroma of the steamed fish, banana leaf and lemongrass and warm, fresh and slightly tangy flavor of the fish with a hint of spiciness imparted by the single chilli in the parcel made this dish an absolute delight to taste!
Smoked Duck Dim Sum
Dumplings stuffed with pot roasted duck spiced and flavoured with hoisin sauce and devil chilli and smoked in tea leaves were served in a bamboo basket to prevent the aroma from escaping. This was accompanied by a trio of sauces namely Chilli vinegar, spicy tomato and scallions. The perfect thickness of the dim sum skin, the balanced tangy, sweet and salty taste of the meat imparted by the hoisin sauce with a hint of spice towards the end of the bite imparted by the chillies was absolutely marvellous to taste!
Chilli vinegar, spicy tomato and scallions dips
Fragrant Crunchy Calamari
Crunchy and crispy fried squid rings were tossed in a chilli plum sauce with jalepeno rings. The taste resembled that of the honey chilli sauce with an initial spiciness followed by a sweet aftertaste. Yummilicious nevertheless!
Non vegetarian sushi platter
An assortment of a variety of sea-food sushis comprising of Crab stick, salmon, tuna and cat fish sushis was served along with wasabi, pink ginger and soy sauce. Sushis are all about striking the perfect balance between the rice and meat ratio which was missing as we could taste more of sticky rice and less of meat making this one quite an average dish. Not impressive! I have definitely had much better sushis in all other south east Asian diners and it’s needless to say that the ones served here had plenty of scope for improvement.
Chinese Barbecue Chicken Bao
Extremely soft, fresh and fluffy bao tacos were filled with juicy and succulent barbecued chicken along with fresh salad which predominantly comprised of cucumbers, lettuce, etc adding a slight crunch to the filling. Well done!
Sri Lankan Sambal Curry
A sweet and sour, fragrant coconut based curry with a slightly spicy after taste, creamy texture and thick consistency made of tamarind, fresh tomatoes, chicken spiced with curry leaves, mint leaves and chilli paste and other local spices containing exotic vegetables like cherry tomatoes, etc. Superb!
The sticky rice served along with the Sambal curry perfectly complemented the creamy and thick texture of the curry.
Banana Leaf Wrapped Rice
Rice, Basil and vegetables like broccoli, carrot, zucchini, tomatoes, etc were parcelled in a banana leaf and steam cooked. Not only did the banana leaf parcel effectively seal in the moisture and flavours, but also helped in infusing all the contents and their flavours together along with a subtle grassy aroma of the steamed banana leaf. A perfect example implying that food cooked in simple ways also have strong potential to win the taste buds alike!
Chicken Pazoon Hin
A traditional coconut milk based Burmese dish infused with spices like ground cloves, fennel and cardamom along with tender chicken and well cooked noodles. The fieriness of all the spices were effectively mellowed down by coconut milk to provide a balanced warm and soothing flavour. Well done!
This south Asian dessert comprised of steamed buns served in a bamboo basket stuffed with oodles of dark and white chocolate mixture that beautifully oozed out of the buns as we sliced through them and were served with plenty of chocolate sauce to be drizzled more on top as per our liking. WOW!
Thai Mango Fantasy
This dessert, a yummmazing combination of the lightness of fresh fruits and sinful deliciousness of the creamy mousse represented the oriental tradition of having fresh fruits at the end of every meal. This one consisted of a creamy, smooth and deliciously sweet mango mousse, topped with a plenty of diced seasonal fresh fruits, coconut and sago with a solidified caramel design for decoration. Superbly done!
The service was absolutely warm, welcoming, attentive, prompt, but they need to work a little more on their knowledge about food. The staff was absolutely cheerful and interactive, nevertheless.
Food quality – 3.5/5
Food quantity – 3.5/5
Ambiance – 4/5
Service – 4/5
VFM – NA (This meal was courtesy an invitation by the restaurant to try their menu).