9 Datchet Road
Tel: 01753 855576
There are approximately 110 restaurants in Windsor, in my view this is one of the finest. Many years ago I lived in Windsor and was constantly disappointed by the predictable tourist options. It seemed that looking onto the castle and charging a lot were the only considerations. With Mango Lounge you get a great view of the castle AND outstanding food.
Head chef Ashwani Kuma has taken the risk of being different. With consultant Mridula Baljeka he has created a cutting edge menu. Multi award winning often rolls of the tongue but here it’s hard to ignore.
What’s going on in Indian cooking is worth taking notice of. Mango Lounge is a cool up to the minute ‘vibe central’ kind of place. Just jump off the train at Windsor and Eton Riverside station and walk for 1 minute and you are there. What you will find is an eclectic concoction of old and new, but mostly new. Ashwani is a magician who pulls tricks out of his hat on a regular basis.
Mango Lounge have a couple of award winning dishes, Chilli scallops which were superb, creamy, hot and firm and a king prawn martini, both are stunners. The later being served in a glass filled with layers of different coloured sauces and hanging over the edge sits a king prawn covered in a batter of rice flakes with garlic and lemon juice. It looks fabulous waiting for you to tuck in. But not too worry, it’s not so pretty you can’t eat it, the whole thing works perfectly. My guest, T couldn’t praise it enough “I’m definitely coming here again, this is really good” And that wasn’t her only positive comment.
The lamb shanks had a place in her heart as well. She was right, they were “outstandingly creamy” and despite all those slow cooked hours in the oven they still resolutely tasted of lamb. A good trick and the sign of a chef in control of his flavours, Ashwani stops boredom setting in by changing aspects of the menu with the seasons. Mrindula has collaborated with Ashwani in creating exciting dishes that cannot fail to please any Indian food aficionado. It’s very hard not to be impressed by the talent on show here.
Chilli and cheese bread is something I love but it was new to T. She was won over instantly. I liked it but I would have preferred a bit more cheese, it felt a touch dry. Talking of new, I tried something I haven’t experienced before, rabbit tikka lababdar. Slow cooked in the tandoor with yoghurt, spices, fenugreek, butter all simmering gently in a tomato and onion sauce topped off with a dash of single cream. This had a punchy rich clout to it. Meaty, gamey and creamy all at the same time, I’d have this again at the drop of a hat.
A couple of dishes also deserve a mention, black lentils in a butter sauce hit the spot and spiced potatoes and cauliflower was excellent, hot with mustard seeds and chilli and draped in caramelised onion.
Prices here are good for the location, expect to pay under £10 for those super starters and less that £15 for the mains. Side dishes, which are pretty filling are about £4 and best shared. The wine list is quite grown up and thorough and equally impressive, the staff have the knowledge to match wines to your food.
Indian desserts often fail to make the right impression, at Mango Lounge they have made the wise decision of moving out of the comfort zone of just offering kulfi. We enjoyed another play with cocktails and had ground rice with cherry compote served in a martini glass, this was good. A carrot halwa was less successful for me, the carrots were too dominant to make it sweet and the cardamom could have had more of an impact. A lovely little rose kulfi should have been too sickly but it wasn’t, I loved it. The measure of a steady hand is to know when to stop adding the syrup. Thankfully I can report that Ashwani has a very steady hand.
I feel it’s worth the effort to go to Windsor and find Mango Lounge. If you wish to stay with old favourites they are there but also some new and enthralling food that made it a day to remember. Strangely I can’t remember any of the other 109 restaurants in Windsor.