When we went to The Green Mango’s grand opening a couple months ago, we were intrigued to say the least. Dutch fusion? What is Dutch fusion? (A mixture of cuisines from the Dutch East Indies and the Spice Islands, apparently.) We sampled some appetizers, but we wanted more. We finally went back this week to get a taste of what the Green Mango is all about.
The place is nice, the staff was courteous and helpful, ready to answer all of our questions about the menu. Granted, the menu does a pretty good job of explaining itself, which I suppose it has to since most people have never heard of otak otak. Below each bizarre menu item was a full English explanation of what could be found in each foreign dish. Although, if you don’t know what tempeh or wontons are, take advantage of the servers’ expertise.
I was impressed by a whole page of tempting vegetarian options, several of which contained my favorite vegetarian protein: tempeh, but we simply couldn’t decide on a single entrée, so my husband and I opted for the rice table, a sampling of three veggie courses and three meat courses, a few chilled veggie sides and sauces, a bowl of rice and some unique crackers. Each diner also got their choice of soup, chicken or mushroom, and shared a small bowl of crisp veggies in peanut sauce. The meal also included a dessert to share: fried bananas in a caramel sauce.
The soup was acceptable. It wasn’t piping hot when it hit the table, but it was warm enough to be palatable. Neither of us was terribly impressed with the flavor. We were bummed we had to share the cold veggie salad; we both assumed we’d be getting our own since we ordered the rice table for two and the bowl was quite small, but raw vegetables, even dipped in a tasty peanut sauce, are only so exciting.
The meal came out with one rather small bowl of rice to share, a plate with the cold cucumber salad and the like, and six little cups with six little spoons kept warm by a burner. They seemed like very small cups, indeed. I was a bit worried we just paid quite a bit of money for a very insignificant amount of food. But as we emptied the bowls, tasting a little at a time, we found ourselves satisfied. Some of the dishes were better than others. On the veg side of things, I thoroughly enjoyed the tempeh in chili sauce. That was my one favorite. The veggies in coconut gravy and tofu in coconut sauce weren’t bad, but tangier than I usually like. Granted, I typically prefer sweeter, spicier Asian-inspired foods like chili and peanut sauces. My husband’s favorite was the pork in a sweet sauce. It was incredibly tender, melt-in-your-mouth. He enjoyed all of his entrée samples, beef and chicken included.
Over all, the rice table was a solid choice for our first time at the Green Mango as we now have an idea of what will please us most when we return. We did, however, have a small issue with dessert. It tasted OK, though a fried banana should be crispy on the outside and not resemble mush on the inside. The caramel sauce was good, but the presentation was atrocious. It was the first time I honestly considered asking the server if we could have something else. It literally looked like crap on a plate. One banana was fried whole with two small halves beside it and I kid you not, it looked like a dog crapped right on the plate. It looked absolutely revolting. Afterwards we both felt a little disgusted that we ate it. Even the dollops of whipped cream on the sides looked like the chef gave the pastry bag to his 3-year old. I would have expected so much more from a restaurant of this caliber.
But despite the appearance of the dessert (I wouldn’t order it again), the meal was filling if not a bit pricey for our taste (our shared meal including dessert, extra soup, and one rum and Coke ran us $41.00 – luckily we had a half-price coupon from localdines.com) and the atmosphere was nice (even if it was a bit loud due to ladies’ night). We will certainly be back to try more Dutch fusion delicacies and recommend you give it a go, too!