I have a tendency to look up restaurants on burrp or zomato before I try them. So when my friend told me she wanted to go to ‘Mai Tai at Phoenix Mills’ for dinner, I googled the place with little headway [well, I was googling for Mai Thai :P]. When I asked her about the cuisine, she also wasn’t sure, so I just decided to tag along.
Mai Tai is essentially an open restaurant done up with
sculptures and carvings and plants as props in line with the Tiki culture. The lighting at Mai Tai is dim, bordering on
wild romantic. The choice of seating essentially
comprises of standard table/ chairs or low tables with sofa (perfect for a
group!). The music they play has Caribbean
and spanish influences. The whole
ambiance is classy, yet cozy.
Owned by the company that runs Hard Rock café and CPK, Mai Tai is located bang opposite PVR at Phoenix Mills. They opened shop in Mumbai a couple of months back bringing in the Trader’s Vic Polynesian themed restaurant to India.
|The Central Kitchen|
|Sculpture, true to Tiki culture|
I was pleasantly surprised to take in the décor and read about the history of Mai Tai (named after a cocktail invented in 1944!)in the Menu cards. It is hard to categorize their fare under any particular cuisine. Though the menu here is small, all the dishes that they serve are unique and speaks volumes for the zest to offer innovative dishes. The drinks menu was even more fun to read! Not only do the cocktails have jazzy names, they even have some inventive combinations , some even served out of communal bowls complete with a long stray for a couple or a group of friends to sip from!
We were a group of 5 and hence chose the low sofa seating. The staff was quick to cater to us and made good recommendations. Our order comprised of a cocktail called Singapore Symphony (lime, pineapple, passion fruit, rum and gin), two portions of baked spinach and potato dip (starter), one portion of huli huli chicken (starter), one portion of grilled senor pico chicken (main course), two portions of Mai Tai island burger and one coffee crème brulee.
Singapore Symphony was served in a largish bowl. The cocktail had a strong punch of rum, yet the sublime tropical flavours of pineapple and passion fruit. I couldn't taste much of lime though. If I overlook the fact that the cocktail had too much ice, it was what I could call perfect and a good recommendation by the staff!
Starters (or small plates as they called it!)
The baked spinach and potato dip was served in a shallow plate with Parmesan crusted bread and pita bread by the side. It was smooth and creamy. The flavours were light, yet had hints of garlic and spinach.
Huli Huli chicken was essentially chicken on skewers in a sweet sauce served with a small portion of salad. While the chicken was tender, overall, I found the sauce a too sweet for my palette.
The burger was medium sized and served with a dip and generous helping of spicy fries. The patty in the burger was succulent, the sauce added to the flavour. The dip wasn't very grand and the fries (though good) were not as good as peri-peri fries served at Mc Donald’s!
Senor Pico Chicken comprised of two breast pieces of chicken served to perfection with rice, potato wedges and a brown sauce (choice of 2 out of 5 accompaniments available). The dish was well presented/ plated but compared to the burger, the taste wasn't as wow.
The dessert menu is sparse, not much choice if you rule of desserts containing chocolate and/or coconut. Being a sucker for coffee, I really enjoyed coffee crème brulee, though my friends could do with a weaker coffee taste in the dessert.
The dinner cost us INR 3450/- (including taxes and charges) ie about 700 per person. Though a bit steep, but it makes up for it by the awesome ambiance and the unique food/ drinks they offer. Definitely would rate it higher than other similarly priced restaurants.
I could easily go here again (mind you, I don’t like repeating places much) and try out some other cocktail and grilled lime basa (which the staff strongly recommended)!!!!