Attention to detail.
Attention to detail is what turns a great restaurant into an exceptional one.
Make no mistake Mango is without doubt a good restaurant, it may well be an exceptional one, just not on the night we went.
Mango is to the best of my knowledge unique. I have never heard of another restaurant that combines Indian and Italian cuisine to this level of culinary quality. There is of course a valid question over how authentic either restaurant can be when it attempts to serve two different menus, but you know what, I don't really care because it manages to do both perfectly well and for that the people of Longcroft rejoice, and Denny, and Bonnybridge, and Banknock, and… well you get the idea. What I would say is that the car park isn't quite big enough for a full restaurant and it's a wee bit tight, especially if an inconsiderate Audi driver decides the gap in front of the gate is a convenient parking space, so you may need to park on the road and walk in.
Inside it is modern but still welcoming and the staff seemed happy to be there, which is always a good feeling. We were shown to our seats and menus provided, our drinks order taken all in good time. The turning over of the sizeable menu made ordering twice as difficult as usual. On one side as comprehensive a list of Indian cuisine as you would expect in the finest curry houses, the other an Italian selection what would be at home in the finest Ristorante. So in typical contrary SFR fashion my side of the table ate Italian, whilst the other ordered a curry.
I found it somewhat amusing therefore to be eating poppadoms a few minutes later, which it would appear get offered to everyone regardless of menu choice and it would be very rude to say no to the marvelously crisp circles of crunchiness.
Starters were not long in arriving and the weans pizza was delivered too. I had chosen the Arancini, which are deep fried balls of risotto and that caused my first irritation. Balls, by their ball like nature, tend to roll, that's why you need to flatten the bottom, stick them down with something or trust your staffs dexterity. But unfortunately as the starter was rather indelicately placed in front of me momentum overcame friction and the chefs presentation was rather ruined. It made no difference to the taste of course, which was stunning, a fantastic contrast of crunchy crisp coating and soft flavoursome rice. It was just a shame about the initial appearance.
The Haggis Pakora is now a popular Scottish curry house favourite, the peppery haggis is spiced up with traditional Indian flavours before battered in crisp tempura, a brilliant starter.
The children's pizza is a genuine homemade item, no frozen nonsense here. Great to see the quality isn't reduced just because it's a kids menu. Starters were cleared quickly and another drink ordered. Main courses arrived a short time later and they looked great.
The Filetto Di Manzo was a fantastic cut of prime Scottish beef, simply served with some Potato Wedges and covered in a wonderfully mushroomy porcini sauce. The menu says served with fresh salad, which was an awfully over exaggerated description of the solitary lettuce leaf.
The Lagan Ki Boti was a superbly succulent lamb curry, with great tender pieces of meat. Whilst coriander as an ingredient is fine, it was specifically requested not to garnish the curry with extra herb, a request that was seemingly ignored by the chef. When the waitress observed the leaves being spooned from the dish there were apologies from her and one of the managers, who even confirmed it wasn't the waitresses fault as it was on the order but the kitchens. Once the extraneous garnish had been removed the curry was absolutely wonderful with the flavours of garlic and ginger combining and contrasting perfectly.
Unfortunately we then also had to ask for the drink we had ordered as that too had been forgotten.
When you remember that I had ordered the most expensive item on the menu it comes as no surprise that the bill for two and a half of us, with drinks came to just over sixty pounds. The steak accounted for a third of that. So pricing is pretty reasonable and exactly on point for the quality of food and surroundings. Brilliant food, great atmosphere, very pleasant staff, but errors in the order, the presentation and just forgetting drinks, stops Mango on this occasion being exceptional. Attention to detail.