The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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European treat

As you dig into your Shrimp Tortelli and Mediterranean Chicken Brochettes, you could be anywhere — in a Trattoria next to the Grunwald Woodlands for traditional Tuscan, in a quaint Paris bistro or in a distinctive Dusseldorf delicatessen…

Mangio (“I eat” in Italian) in Alipore, the first seated all-day dining den from the house of Kookie Jar offering “latest trends in world cuisine” is very European in ambience and spread.

In the age of fast-food frenzy, “India’s first Franco Costa-designed” property located in The Enclave mall promises “tailor-made, not readymade” fare.

“We met Franco and his design team at their fabulous stall in a bakery trade fair of Dusseldorf, and immediately knew we wanted them to do our place. We chased them for more than a year, before tracking them down to La Spezia, a cosy village in a corner of Italy, close to Genoa,” recalls Lovey Barman.

Lovey had kicked off Kookie Jar with the Rawdon Street outlet more than two decades back and now plans to carry the footprint forward on a pan-European format with an “Oriental twist” here and there.

“The idea was to create a place where you could troop in any time of day or evening and treat yourself to a hearty European meal, breakfast through dinner. We laid out our plans before Franco, whose interiors of the patisserie Paul on the Champs Elyssees had fascinated us,” declares Lovey’s sister and business partner Puja Kapur, who like Lovey never realised when a hobby became serious business.

The furniture to the bar counter, the doors with stylised motifs to the giant mural depicting an Italian paved streetscape was all shipped from the Franco Costa workshop in Italy.

“Franco insisted we have some backless seating to impart a feisty feel, which resulted in the cubist seating arrangements. We just gave them the walls, the wiring and the bare floor. They brought in everything else and put together the jigsaw, including the refrigerating cabinets and waste trays,” says Puja.

From the classic Caesar Salad with or without bacon to the Smoked Tomato Soup served with bruschetta, the Home-made Fettuccini (with olive oil, onion, mushrooms, pine and oregano), or the Foccacia with Tapenade and Grilled Vegetable, the munch mix at Mangio is eclectic and wholesome.

“We are doing European food in a very contemporary context, including a salad and tapas (Spanish for finger food) bar. We use a lot of cold meats and cheeses, asparagus and parmesan,” says chef Suvir.

Mangio serves a Classic Club Sandwich (triple-decker toasted sandwich of bacon, lettuce, tomato, chicken and egg), or a Chicken Ciabata Sandwich (rubbed with pesto, spicy fried chicken thigh) and a choice of omelettes, even at lunch or dinner.

For the main course, one can try Mushroom Sheesh Kebabs, Layers of Potato Roesti and Multigrain Pancakes, Lamb Chops, Grilled Prawns or a Tenderloin Steak. “Then there are Mangio signatures like the Baked Fish in Paper,” adds Lovey.

For a wholesome breakfast — a rarity in town — there are assorted pastries, Chicken Schnitzel, Bacon and Onion Ranchero, Potato Croquettes, Green Pea and Spinach Steak or Asparagus Cheese Toast.

And, of course, the Kookie Jar touch can be felt in sinful desserts like Caramelised Rosemary Apple Tart, Orange Creme Brulee, Molten Chocolate Cake or Raspberry Cheesecake.

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