In terms of food, Navi Mumbai is famous for its state bhavans; it’s the home of the Kerala Bhavan, the Konkan Bhavan and the Assam Bhavan among others – prime destinations for the homesick as they dish out authentic, cheap food from specific regions. However, in mid-March, Navi Mumbai welcomed a wholly different dining experience; Mibonasa, a South East Asian dining restaurant that has already gathered a host of positive reviews for its courteous service and authentic fare.
Nestled along a quiet road near Palm Beach Road in Sanpada, the entrance to Mibonasa is marked by a cheerful red door. Stepping past it, one finds a flight of stairs and a cute miniature tea shop that stocks exotic teas like Lemon Rose Tea and Green Mint Tea. Walk up the flight of stairs and you’ll enter the restaurant’s seating area; a dimly lit space with walls depicting Far Eastern scenes, enhanced by soft Oriental tunes.
After quickly being seated by a beaming waiter, we picked up Mibonasa’s prettily patterned menu and poured over the extensive selection of Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese, Burmese and Sri Lankan dishes. While we did so, we sipped on the server-recommended spicy guava mocktail – an incredibly refreshing drink that is given a kick with a touch of chillies.
We also indulged on the brownie frappe; a magnificent creation that topped a regular frappe with a moist, nutty brownie, ice cream and heaps of whipped cream.
Of Soups and Starters
We started our meal with the Vietnamese Salad; a zesty mix of sprouts, rice noodles, lettuce and mildly seasoned chicken that had our tongues tingling.
We then moved on to try the Spicy Crabmeat Soup; a hearty dish that has combines heaps of crabmeat and egg with a good dose of red chillies and coriander making for a beautiful balance of flavours.
Dim Sum & Sushi Love
The spicy soup had suitably whetted our appetite, and we proceeded to sample half the dim sum options on the menu. We particularly love the Prawn Har Gao; plump dumplings that enclosed juicy prawns and crisp water chestnuts and the Curried Whitefish Dumplings – a stellar dish which features mildly herbed basa in thin wrappers nestled in a thick Burmese curry with strong coconut flavours.
Vegetarians should be sure to try the Crystal Vegetable Dim Sum, in which clear dumplings are stuffed with a combination of delicately minced vegetables and the Mushroom Dim Sum which combines flavourful shiitake mushrooms with the ever popular button mushrooms in a thin wrapper.
We were similarly impressed by the sushi; we tried both a platter of non-vegetarian rolls and vegetarian rolls. Each individual type of sushi ticked off all the right boxes; the fish had a perfectly smooth texture and thickness and sang with freshness, the sushi (rice) was mildly seasoned while the avocado and cucumber stuffed in the veg rolls were fresh, smooth (the avocado) and crunchy (the cucumbers).
Predictably stuffed, we moved on to the Nasi Goreng, a traditional Indonesian and Malaysian dish made with fried rice and a protein. Served with a flavoursome prawn head, crisp prawn crackers and topped with a perfectly fried egg, the Nasi Goreng was a wholesome, satisfying dish.
By this point, we were holding our stomachs and groaning. However, we managed to find a little crevice of space in our stomachs for dessert; the intriguing sounding Chocolate Bao – and we were soon thanking our lucky stars we did.
Served in a dim sum basket, the chocolate baos were heavily indulgent, made by stuffing buns with warm dark and white chocolate that oozed out as we cut them open. To make things even better, our server poured a beautifully rich dark chocolate sauce over the baos once they were cut open, creating an explosion of wonderful chocolate flavours.
With the lovely taste of chocolate tingling in our mouths, we bowed to our server, thanked him for his wonderful service and proceeded to roll out of the restaurant, pausing again to admire the mural of Oriental village scenes on our way out.
We will definitely be driving down to Navi Mumbai in the near future to feast of Asian eats at Mibonasa again; a little birdie tells us that they will soon have their alcohol license and be serving some unique Asian drinks as well. Will we be seeing you there?