Monday, 4 February 2013


I need to take the time to make a huge shout out to my Coun'y Girls for contributing to my adventures this week. Very thoughtfully, they picked 4 restaurants from our adventure list and gave me gift cards for my birthday over the Christmas holiday... Mango happened to be one of them. I love saving money (which perhaps you wouldn't know based on this adventure in itself), and saving money on eating out - even better. So... the gift cards were VERY apropos. Cheers, ladies.

Another shout-out this week goes out to our fellow adventurer, Kendra, who celebrated her birthday the day after our weekly outing. We were so happy to enjoy some laughs on the eve of her birthday. Check out the picture of "Ruffles" below, who had a seat at the table in her honour... 

Mango is a quaint little restaurant known for its Thai and Pan-Asian cuisine. While I couldn't find a website for the restaurant, one quick Google search and I did find something very valuable - reviews galore. Whether people leaving comments were "townies" or "out of towners", the general consensus is the same: the food is good, the price is right, and Mango is worth the trip. Now, you may be wondering if the reviews skewed the results of our "fork ratings"; but to be very honest, I don't ever look up a restaurant until after we've been and made our own decisions. 

Some of the quotes from online are definitely worth sharing, though:
"I've been there twice already with large groups, and this place doesn't disappoint"
"Food was fresh, service was good"
"Some of the best Thai food in Kingston" (hard to do given the number of restaurants offering Thai!)
And my personal favourite: "The staff were wonderfully pleasant - maybe it's a Kingston thing".

That quote definitely got me thinking... the scores so far on this adventure have been quite good. Much better on the whole than I think I would have predicted, that's for sure. And it leaves me to wonder - how many other cities are this lucky? There are so many restaurants in this town, and we have been quite happy with pretty much all of the ones we've been to thus far.  I truly don't believe that every city can offer quite the same dining experience. Nice for me - not so nice for the wallet or weight :)  But maybe it really is a "Kingston thing".

When you enter Mango, you are greeted by a water fountain wall feature that sets the tone for the type of evening it is so easy to have there: relaxing, at ease, laid back and just plain nice. Certainly, there isn't anything overly fancy about the restaurant (arguably the water feature is the fanciest part), but whether you come with a friend, a partner, or as part of a group, I think that you will be comfortable here. As with other weeks, we definitely notice when we feel we can sit and chat for extended periods of time - and the atmosphere and staff at Mango definitely let us do that. Simple, yet beautiful pieces of art hang on the wall to add to the decor, and an exposed brick wall keeps the restaurant feeling warm. What could make the place look a little better? Nicer tables and chairs maybe... I'm not sure how I feel about napkins placed under chair legs to keep them from wobbling... But I suppose it is better than eating at a wobbly table. Ultimately, though, as long as I have somewhere to put my butt and plate, I'm not going to be too upset. 

And how was the food? Well - let me tell you what we ordered.

Carrie: Hot and sour soup to start; beef with oyster sauce and rice noodles
Todd: Vegetarian spring rolls, vegetarian Malaysian curry with rice
Benoit: Orange chicken with rice noodles
Samer: Fresh shrimp rolls to start, ginger chicken and shrimp skewers
Tonia: Vietnamese spring rolls, Malaysian curry with chicken and rice
Jordan and Kendra: (get ready for it... they wanted left overs for lunch) Vietnamese spring rolls to start, green curry with chicken, mango chicken with coconut sticky rice, and hot house Pad Thai (it really was as much as it sounds like!)

If you'd like descriptions of these dishes or others, please click here. Just be prepared to have your mouth water.

Servers did a great job of ensuring that our glasses stayed full (even if it's only water, it is really nice not to have to ask for a top up), and appetizers arrived in good time, much to the delight of our hungry bellies. The main dishes, however, arrived in staggered fashion, which was disappointing. All of the meals but Samer's arrived at pretty much the same time, however, they also didn't have rice noodles ready, so I had a hot meal placed in front of me long enough to cool off significantly before the noodles arrived, and other dishes cooled as well while we waited politely for Samer's dish to arrive as well (after all, we certainly don't come as a group to dine alone...).

Outside of timing, however, there wasn't a hole lot else wrong with what we were served. Was it everyone's favourite? Certainly not, but generally speaking, things were quite enjoyable all around. Interested to know our scores? Well, I'm dying to calculate a total score, so let's get to it!

Carrie: I loved every aspect of my meal. The soup is certainly spicy - which isn't my cup of tea, typically - but good for anyone ordering it to know... and in spite of the spicy nature of the soup, I still loved it. I'm so glad that I didn't shy away from it for fear of being "out-spiced". The beef dish was flavourful and delicious - and if you love mushrooms, then you certainly get them here! Overall, I liked what I had a lot. 4 forks.

Todd: Todd is a self-proclaimed "tofu lover" to begin with, and the vegetarian Malaysian curry was definitely satisfying and delicious. His rolls weren't quite as good - slightly bland, and Todd noticed that the restaurant served them with a different dipping sauce than in previous visits, and he wished it hadn't changed. Overall, though, yummy. 4.5 forks.

Benoit: Benoit hadn't ever had something like this before, and sadly, he wasn't impressed overall. To him, the dish was quite sour tasting, and for someone who considers himself a "simple eater", this was a little "weird" for him. Benoit's score as a result: 2.5 forks.

Samer: Samer stated that his shrimp rolls were spectacular (for those of us who know how much he loves shrimp, this was not surprising), and further, that the shrimp in his main dish were amazing (also, not surprising)... But unfortunately, the rest of his dish was "forgettable". Samer said that he "looked for flavour, but just couldn't find any", and when he offered for me to try, I couldn't say I disagreed. There was a bit of flavour when the sauce first hit my tongue, but beyond that, not much. For Samer, the shrimp absolutely saved this dish... and the fact that things were served on a stick. "Anything served on a stick always tastes good". 3 forks.

Tonia: For Tonia, everything was delicious, and the spring rolls are now known as "some of [her] favourite in town". The curry was very flavourful and yummy - but there were a smidge too many bamboo shoots. 4.75 forks.

Kendra: 5 forks. While Kendra is becoming known for giving really good scores, she said she just "really, really liked it". The curry was nice and hot, the mango chicken was surprisingly tasty - which is what ultimately put her score to top marks. The Pad Thai was also really good - some of the best Kendra's had in a while.

Jordan: 4.75 forks. Jordan wasn't sure why he felt the need to remove .25 forks, but he just felt he needed to go with his gut and refrain from a perfect score. He really enjoyed the spring rolls. The Pad Thai had a nice balance of flavour - perfect amount of heat and spice. Jordan really liked the mango chicken and thought that there was a good amount of "nice big meaty pieces". The curry was really hot, which was just fine by him. "That'll put hair on your chest for sure... if that's your thing, get it".

Overall score: 4.07 forks. Given that this kind of food just wasn't one person in our group's "cup of tea", I'd say that is a pretty darn impressive score. Moral of the story? Go to Mango. Take your friends. Try the curry if you want hair on your chest, and the skewers if you like stuff on sticks. Mostly, just enjoy.  We know you will.

Next week, we hope for as good (or better!) a score from Bella Bistro in Collins Bay - the west end of Kingston. Fingers crossed!!

Good chopsticks, too - not the ones you have to
rip apart and hope for a good split... You know what I mean -
don't deny it.
Ruffles for the Chip-Loving-Birthday-Girl!

Mango Thai & Pan-Asian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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