Best local Indian Restaurant in Essex 2014
One of the finest Indian restaurants in Essex Caraway Indian Brasserie, in Gants Hill, has won the prestigious Best Local Indian Restaurant Award in the Restaurant Guides
The Hart Brothers
The Hart Brothers, who have made Quo Vadis and Fino into such success stories
Never judge a book by its cover. The Mango Room has no glaring bright lights or shimmering glass windows and fancy lettering. It's a simple looking turquoise greeny-blue building with the name above the doors. Later I found out the doors folded back to expose the internal of the restaurant to passers-by's, who must be
tempted by the wonderful aromas wafting out from the kitchen. Great for sultry summer evenings.
On entering Mango room the first thing you notice is the great bowl of giant mangos sitting proudly on a corner of the bar. The three rooms collectively seats 110 people and there are two bars which serves wines, spirits and the best cocktails in town. By 7.20pm the place starts filling up, reggae music is playing softly in the background and come eight o'clock, the lights are turned down slightly to give a nice romantic feel to the ambience of the place. Mango Room was born nearly three years ago when the proprietors Alex and Derek Blake followed their dream of opening their own business. They'd noticed the 'for sale' sign on the building for several weeks and often thought they would like to purchase it. Then one day decided to do just that.
The combination of Caribbean and English backgrounds worked; a wonderful marriage of modern English and Caribbean flavours. Hence Modern and Traditional Caribbean cuisine Starters include Salt Cod Fritters (salt fish) with Apple Chutney. Fish and Apple?
I would never have thought to combine the two, but the effect was simply divine. The fritters rise from the plate like dumplings and are delicate enough to melt in the mouth. The surprise of having the flavours merge and come to life on your palate is very appetising. Served on a bed of mixed leaf salad; all types of lettuce leaves, sweet peppers, scallions and an originalhome-made honey and thyme vinaigrette dressing, this definitely opens up the taste-buds to what's in store.
The Curry Goat (a most popular main course, followed closely by Jerk Chicken and Snappers) was tender, slightly spicy in a gravy you could drink (it tasted that good), for those who like the hot stuff home made pepper sauce is served in a separate dish. Try it with Basmati Rice. Fish lovers will enjoy the bone-free Barracuda fish in coconut sauce, the preparation of which Chef Richard Hatch describes with easy simplicity. "It can be a bony fish if you leave the pectoral fins on and don't fillet it properly," says the NewZealander, who has resided in London for 15 years. "Steam onions and garlic down with a little oil and water, but don't fry it as that will alter the appearance of the dish, add thyme and coconut cream, milk and a little seasoning and perhaps a dash of Scotch Bonnet and that's it." The fish and the sauce are prepared separately and served with courgettes, the taste of this dish is out of this world.
The dÃ©cor of Mango Room is pleasant and relaxing with just the right amount of ethnicity to give it an exotic and authentic feel. A bit like dining in a countryside log cabin, the flooring is wood and while some of the walls are painted wood some are bare bricks - but it works. The food is excellent, the diners look content and the atmosphere is happy, friendly and congenial.