Oh man, we are sooo late at discovering this gem just walking distance from home! The Mango Tree at Marine Cove specializes in cuisine from Goa and Kerala on India's southwestern coast. I'm not too familiar with cuisine from that region but it seems the food tends to be chili hot and fish/seafood dominates.
The beachside restaurant is small and understated, but has a nice veranda for a view of the sea. Upon seating, they present you a lovely platter of complimentary plain and black pepper papadum with three dips (mint, mango and coconut chutneys).
Our starter of mushroom pepper fry (S$7.90) was deliciously addictive - a sign of good things to come. A simple dish - just mushrooms, garlic, onion, green chili and lots of cracked black pepper - but oh so good! Beware the green chili though, they really bite!
Hubby thought this was the best Indian food he's had in a long time. We chose the Allepey Fish Curry (S$15.90) as one of the mains. It is unusual, very mild yet beguiling. Still, not my favourite dish of the evening because of the use of mullet, which to me has a strong "fishy" smell by nature.
Now this was my favourite - Erachi Ularthiyathu (S$14). I was wowed by the harmony of the rich, complex spices in this mutton dish. The meat is genuinely tender and without any gamey mutton taste. Went so well with the basmati rice. Oh, I popped one of the green chilis into my mouth, thinking these larger ones would be less killer. Boy, was I mistaken. Now, my tolerance for chili is pretty respectable (I can chew chili padi fine) but this fella took me to a new endorphin high.
This vegetable dish, Bhindi Do Pyaza (S$8.50) came in a savoury tomato-based gravy. Interesting combination but I wished there was a lot more okra to it. Still, I mopped up the gravy with my rice and naan. Yum.
They serve fantastic, fluffy soft naans here (around S$3.80) - choose from plain, butter, garlic, cheese, even mango or machli (stuffed with seafood). Gotta try the last two next time!
The coconut kulfi (S$5.90) is beautifully homemade, with detectable chunks of sweet coconut flesh. The light dash of crushed pistachio adds to the nutty taste.
Now this is a dessert that I rarely see. Payasam (S$5.90). Served hot, it's a thick milky concoction that's both sweet and spicy. Fortunately not too sweet (as many Indian desserts tend to be).
The small portions in the copper bowls may seem pricey but they're worth every cent. Good quality ingredients cooked with finesse. Service is equally genteel and attentive. They also have a full bar and wine list. We're bringing the whole family here next week.
THE MANGO TREE
1000 East Coast Parkway
B23 Marine Cove
Tel: 6442-8655 / 6442-1655
Mon-Thurs: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 6.30pm - 10.30pm
Fri: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 6.30pm - 11pm
Sat: 11.30am - 11pm
Sun: 11.30am - 10.30pm