Restaurant Review - Chilli Mangoes, South Indian Street Food in Sunderland.
When we first heard that there was a South Indian Street Food style restaurant opening near us, we decided that we were going to have to try it out. Unfortunately, Chilli Mangoes opened during lockdown, meaning that they could only offer a takeaway or delivery service. Now we love a good Indian takeaway but, having seen pictures of the place, we really wanted to wait until we were allowed to dine in, so that we could really experience everything they had to offer. So we recently decided to take advantage of the government's "Eat Out to Help Out" discount scheme and booked a table for the 5 of us.
On arrival, we were impressed with the decor on the exterior of the building and we certainly weren't disappointed when we were welcomed inside. The interior decor is certainly colourful and funky, but without being too in your face. Definitely a very welcome change from some other restaurants we have visited.
We arrived just before 6pm and were greeted by a friendly member of staff, almost the instant we walked through the door and shown to our table, which was right at the back of the place, allowing us a good view of the the whole place and the work that has gone into the design and layout. We started off by ordering 5 diet cokes, which were delivered to our table pretty quickly. There is a great looking cocktail menu, but we decided to leave this until we get a chance to visit without the boys.
The food menu is fairly large, offering the traditional Indian dishes you would expect, as well as a range of South Indian street food style dishes, meaning that there really is something for everyone and a chance for those with a more adventurous palette to experiment with some new flavours.
We opted for 4 of the great value set meal at just £9.99, plus a kid's meal for Elliot.
Between us, we had poppadoms, pickles, 4 starters, 4 mains with choice of flavoured rice, various flavoured naan breads and chips. Elliot's kid's meal consisted of Chicken Korma and pilau rice. The food truly was amazing! We have heard a lot of good things about the food, but we have heard good things about the food from other places, but then been disappointed when we have tried it. This was not the case here. Everything was well cooked and had plenty of flavour. One of the street food dishes we decided to try was a starter, Chicken chat samosa. The combination of perfectly cooked chicken, potato, onion, chick peas and spices was so full of flavour that we almost ordered more. We all enjoyed every bite, from the popadoms to finishing the mains. Toby and Elliot (our youngest 2) are fairly picky eaters and are usually not fans of anything spicy, so they both opted for their usual chicken korma and both gave that a big thumbs up. However, the real plus for us, was that Toby, who usually won't touch anything with onion in it, had a taste of Craig's bhuna, which was very onion heavy, and said he actually liked it! That really is high praise!
From reading previous reviews, the one negative that we had noticed, was that the service was sometimes a little on the slow side. Again, this was most definitely not the case. The food arrived pretty quickly and was served by very friendly and helpful staff (who there were quite a lot of). The staff were very attentive and polite and we could not fault them. We noticed that as soon as a table was vacated, it was cleared, cleaned and sanitised in a matter of moments. The toilets were also spotlessly clean.
In terms of value, the set meals are outstanding. Just £9.99 with 5 options and optional upgrades available. (Chef speciality dishes £3 extra). Thanks to the government discount, our total bill for all of the above food, plus 10 soft drinks came to just over £40, but we will still be visiting when the discount scheme ends.
Overall, a very enjoyable evening, with only one minor negative to report. When the place is busy, as it was by the time we left, social distancing can be difficult, due to the close proximity of other diners. Though this is an issue that I imagine is being experienced at a lot of venues and didn't really detract from the overall experience for us.
Chilli Mangoes is definitely going to be becoming a regular choice for us, whether it's dine in or home delivery.
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