GREEN MANGO $$$
Many a Hoi An restaurateur likes to name his/her establishment after that king of the fruits – the humble mango. Which is perhaps why I couldn’t quite place Green Mango when I first saw it on my “to be reviewed” list.
I knew I’d been to Mango Mango and Mango Rooms before … but this one didn’t strike a bell. However, when Andy and I arrived at Green Mango on a Saturday lunchtime recently, I remembered that we’d visited a year previously, to mark our anniversary with breakfast espresso martinis. (As you do.)
This would be the first time either of us had eaten there, however – and we knew that if the quality of their cocktails was anything to go by, we were in for a treat.
We were immediately spellbound by the gorgeous interior. All warm yellow walls, intricately carved wooden doors and pillars, plus opulent chairs in deep golds and magenta. The ideal setting for a lingering lunch and also, we discovered, for a cooking class. As we arrived on the second floor, we sneaked a peek into the kitchen – where Green Mango’s charismatic owner, Chef Hai, was in the midst of delivering a sermon on the art of making mango sticky rice. Both he and his fellow students were clearly loving the experience and laughing a lot! A good sign.
As we took our seats on the balcony – with a perfect bird’s eye view over Nguyen Thai Hoc below – the very attentive manager, Le, gave us a list of the different cooking classes on offer. You can choose from 5 different menus – some classic dishes but others completely different to the usual fare proffered by dozens of other classes in Hoi An.
Green Mango’s cooking classes ($30pp) are more original, more creative. Choose your menu depending on your goals – whether you want to learn Vietnamese ‘essentials’, the best street eats or to wow your friends at a dinner party. Dishes include blue sticky rice with mango and Midori coconut sauce. Yes, please.
But I digress. On the menu for us that afternoon was an equally impressive range of delights.
We began with an espresso martini for Andy and a margarita (of course) for me. His was as amazing as we’d remembered – mine was very strong for 12.30pm but hey, I wasn’t complaining. (With a happy hour that runs between 12pm and 10pm I doubt you will, either.)
Food-wise, we loved the scallops with a fresh green salad and sweet beet jus…while the simple delight of grapes wrapped with goats cheese and topped with a cashew nut crust had us planning to recreate it at home, pronto. (Think of a Ferrero Rocher, only cheesier. Y-U-M.)
The main courses continued to deliver in terms of presentation and flavour. The juicy chicken served with rice and a Malay-style curry sauce was surpassed only by the overall awesomeness (!!) of the bun bo nam (beef noodles from southern Vietnam). Fresh, light and totally addictive, it was a huge portion that still didn’t make us feel overstuffed afterwards. Which is often the joy of Vietnamese food.
Everything our friendly waitress, Hien, brought to our table was focused on simplicity, flavor and balance – again, which Vietnamese food does so very well.) Green Mango is the kind of restaurant we’d happily bring our family to for a true taste of Vietnam – and we will, when they visit.
And even though we didn’t order many Western options (aside from the starters), the menu seems to cater for all cravings, no doubt very well. From braised lamb shank to blackened filet mignon and a full pizza menu, they’ve got plenty of international dishes to choose from. And they cater for DF, GF and veggie diets, too. Yay!
We finished our hugely enjoyable meal with steaming Lavazza coffee and a portion of sweet mango sticky rice. It wasn’t the blue version but nonetheless, it was a lovely end to a fantastic lunch.
Hours | 7am – 10pm
Address | 54 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Facebook | @greenmangohoian
Telephone | +84 (0)235 392 9918