Perched on the 37th floor of the St. Regis Mumbai is a fine dine Asian restaurant, By the Mekong. It’s been popular with the patrons for a reason. The setting is sumptuous with floor-to-ceiling windows on one end, offering sweeping views of the city; it’s peppered with oriental artefacts and has private dining areas with latticed partitions.
The restaurant derives its influence from the Mekong River (which meanders through parts of South East Asia and China), blending Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines. With a recently overhauled menu, it has brought in a new chef and offers over 40 new dishes. Hailing from Sichuan in China, you’ll find a marked influence of Chef Xiang Bin Li’s style of cooking across the expansive menu, which is divided into small salts, soups, mains, and desserts.
We started off with the Wok-Fried Bean Curd Tossed in a Teriyaki Sauce, a pleasing dish on the palate from the small salts section. Another worthy try is the Crispy Lotus Root with mashed potatoes served with a honey chilli dipping sauce. The Sichuan White Fish with peppercorn and chilli strikes the right balance with notes of both sweet and spicy.
For vegetarians, there are plenty of options to choose from. We suggest getting the Jujube and Lotus Seed Soup with truffle oil that tastes as decadent as it sounds or the wok-tossed Peruvian green and white asparagus.
The menu is predominantly influenced by Chef Li’s home-style cooking, some of which is his mother’s own recipes showcasing simple, yet, fiery flavours of Sichuan cuisine. Other signatures on the menu include Scottish Scallops, Prawns & Squid tossed in XO Sauce, and a sizzling local bay Red Snapper in chilli vinegar.
Work your way towards mains with the Peruvian Sea Bass in chilli sauce, which is delicately textured along with wok-fried noodles, and a fragrant yet pleasing Hainanese-style Fried Rice served in a spinach sauce. We also loved the plump Cochin bay Tiger Prawns marinated in a pickled chilli sauce and the wok-fried Sliced Chicken with wood ear mushrooms, which is perfectly enhanced with ginger.
There’s a curated list of cocktails and a well-stocked wine cellar, which the staff is happy to help you with. While we were tempted by the sound of the Vanilla and Lemongrass Crème Brûlée, we settled instead for the Silken Tofu Passionfruit Cheesecake, an unassuming looking dessert but packed with flavour and just the right amount of citrus.
Chef Li’s cooking elevates the dishes with clean, simple flavours and brings finesse to the cuisine on offer. Throw in fresh, seasonal ingredients, handcrafted sauces, and an expert-hand in Sichuan-style cuisine. It’s a definite winner.
Where: By the Mekong, The St. Regis Mumbai, 462, Tulsi Pipe Rd, Lower Parel
Timings: From 12 noon to 3 pm and from 7 pm to 12 midnight
Reservations: +91 22 61736133
Recommended dishes: crispy lotus root, tiger prawns, sliced chicken with wood ear mushrooms
Price: Rs 4,000 for two plus taxes
All images: Courtesy St. Regis Mumbai