Having eaten at Gymkhana a couple of times recently, we're on the lookout for a similar experience locally, and certainly a look at this restaurant's website will prepare you for an upmarket Indian food experience and a menu that eschews the standard items that appear on so many curry-house menus. So we turned up early tonight fully expecting an interesting meal well above the usual standard.
The area around Windsor has a lot of Indian food, and indeed its an easy drive to Southall if you fancy something different from usual. So the last thing we need round here is more of the same, and from that perspective its unsurprising that The Mango Lounge sets itself up to be "different" . However as we were to discover, "different" doesn't necessarily mean better. Starting with the restaurant itsel,f its pretty much a while tablecloth, atmosphere free zone. The website says upmarket , the restaurant itself doesn't.
We'd arrived early to a virtually empty restaurant, but service started off poorly albeit that it improved after a tiny grumble that our starters hadn't appeared after we'd been seated for 40 minutes. They weren't quick to take our order, and the gap between the papadums and our first courses seemed very long indeed. But a word on choices. The menu is decently expansive- but if you've decided against the several "three chilli " main courses, and rule out the several containing coconut, the main course choice wasn't terribly generous. Eventually our starters came and my squid tasted of sweet coconut, which I don't eat and wasn't mentioned as an ingredient. So it had to go back and re-emerged tasting rather less of coconut and more spicy, though sadly more than a little chewy.. The gap to our main course was about right and whilst the rabbit (mine) and Bombay chicken (my wife's) were OK, there was certainly nothing special about either of them. Moreover the accompanying Dal Makhani lacked the silky smoothness we associate with this dish.
All told, despite the "different" menu we felt that the enjoyment from what we ate was no better than if we'd gone to any one of a dozen or so competent alternatives within 15 minutes. Its not an expensive restaurant in absolute terms but it is distinctly more highly priced- particularly for main courses - than most of the local competition- and whilst it delivers "different menu" it doesn't seem to us to deliver better quality, better restaurant, or better service. If tonight's rabbit had been anywhere near as good as the goat dish I ate at Gymkhana a few weeks ago, I'd have been delighted and keen to go back, and soon. But it wasn't and so I'm not.