Mango Restaurant (不見不散)

Just like how a song can remind you of a person, an event or a scene from a movie, impressions of food are steeped in the recollections of past experiences and the stories behind them. Understanding why ingredients tend to be used in a particular fashion, where and who you are with when you first try a type of food, cuisine or eatery all combine to influence the future likelihood of you eating similar food or at a similar place again.

For me, Mango Restaurant will forever remind me of the passing of a family member as it was here that I had lunch that day. Scatterbrained due to it being an immediate family member and someone who had lived with us in the past, I decided to eat here as it is a type of food I find familiar. It’s not the type of food we tended to share together but it brought comfort to me in any case. I took my camera along to do something “normal” – well, taking photos of food is normal for food-bloggers in any case – on an otherwise unusual day.

Mango Restaurant is situated in the shop space above Café New York via a dark-coloured staircase entrance on Archer Street. Past the pay counter featuring a pyramid of Carnation milk cans, the interior is light-filled and decked out in contemporary, brown, faux leather furniture no doubt to in attempt to appeal to a young clientele. Its Chinese name has nothing to do with mangoes, nor does the menu. The food is a touch pricier than similar offerings in the area but, for better value, Mango does offer a couple of set meal deals.

I have one of these set deals for lunch where there is a choice of main dish preceded by a soup-of-the-day (cream of chicken on this occasion) with sweet, Asian-style baked bun and rounded off with a Hong Kong-style milk tea to finish. I opt for the comforting ‘Baked spaghetti Bolognese’ which is served in a typical Asian-fusion way with a random mix of vegetables in a sweetened tomato sauce. The tea is smooth and a highlight however, and manages to avoid leaving a chalky feeling around the teeth like so many others.

Monsieur Poisson decides to order the seafood soup mainly for its puff pastry lid, which arrives gloriously domed and holding the contents of a tomato-based broth. This is followed by the ‘Baked Portuguese chicken rice’ which has doubtful Portuguese origins, but does have a most fragrant sauce of coconut milk and curry powder.

Despite many years of living together this family member and I were not close emotionally and only ever close in proximity. I acknowledged their quirks, frustrating as they were, but was essentially too different in personality, upbringing and outlook to find anything common over which to bond. There is a strange sense of being unsure of what it is exactly that you’ve lost in such a case, apart from the mourning of a relationship and possibilities which could have been. And I’m very sad to say there are no standout shared food memories to look back fondly on either.

Mango Restaurant (不見不散)
Level 1, 77 Archer St, Chatswood NSW
Tel: (02) 9419 6591

Opening Hours:  7 days..11am-9:30pm?

*EDIT*: As at October 2012, Mango Restaurant is closed for business.

happy eating!


  1. I've always wanted to know what the food here was like, so thanks. Interesting to hear about your memories of dining that fateful day and the unusual Chinese name of the restaurant bearing a little relevance.

  2. My relationships with atleast 80% of my immediate family are as you just described so I know how you feel. It's sort of bittersweet wondering "what could've been"...but the effort has to be two way doesn't it for relationship potential to be fully realised. That said, it's still a shock when someone passes on, and I'm sorry to hear of your loss. And seeking comfort in food - I'm so there too!

  3. I have a lot of strong food memories, a simple smell will bring on the most vivid memory. So many places will always hold emotional memories and will always be associated with them.

    Our relationships with certain family members can be a funny thing.

    The portuguese chicken looks pretty comforting.

  4. If you feel regrets about such relationships (what might have been), then I find it's best to just move on. Unfortunately, it may mean never visiting Mango again, which would be a shame because the food looks pretty good!

  5. ken's been here before.

    i know waht u mean. i have a tendancy to associate people with places. I went to sky tower the other week .. that place def. reminded me of someone who was once special.

  6. ugh I find sweet tomato sauced bolognese disgusting.

  7. I have passed by this place numerous time but the menu didn't excite me to try this place.

  8. Liked some of them.
    and me too having many such memories, so ca understand how you feel.

  9. isn't it funny how we associate people, places and food... a strange but profound connection.

  10. I can totally understand that feeling and connection. strange but sometimes can be quite comforting.

  11. Well that's kinda timely as I also just went to CNY (the cafe not the festival)

    Big jugs? Remembering and forgetting, they both hurt more than knives

    "Just a man failing to reappear" - Tom Stoppard

  12. You know, considering it was called Mango Restaurant and it's Chinese, I was so no expecting the dishes that I saw in this post.

    I'm not sure if condolences are in order but condolences all the same, for the loss to the family if anything else.

  13. I do dig the look of that puff pastry lid! I would have gotten thta as well! What you say about people and restaurants you take them to rings true. I used to take my ex-workmates to this one place to celebrate birthdays. When I walk past, it brings back good memories.

  14. Thanks Rita- this was a really blatantly honest post, something that would ring true with at least a few people in everyone's life- but only the very brave would admit after someone has passed on.

  15. I like this place, and ordered quite similar dishes to you. Love a good Portuguese baked pork chop or chicken rice mmm

  16. I'm sorry for your loss :(

    On another note, I love Hong Kong style cafes especially ones where they have a set menu where you get a soup and drink included ^^

  17. Very interesting thoughts! It's a certain connection to a 'sense of place' you're talking about, I suppose (sorry if that sounded too cultural geographic to you, just couldn't help myself ;-)) Good to know about places in Chatswood as that's where I'm now based most of the week.

  18. Love, love the domed pot on the soup. Been thinking of trying something similar.....inspired. I hope all's well with you!

  19. I'm crazy about Puff Pastry! so that picture of the seafood soup made me drool. Think I'll check Mango Restaurant out soon since It's close to my work :)

  20. I'm not sure if I would be enticed by an asian restaurant cooking western meals with an asian twist.

  21. Hey Joey, the food is ok here but I've had better at other places.

    Hey MissPiggy, it just makes you wonder...But I definitely agree that any relationship needs to be a two-way thing.

    Hey Sara, I find my relationship with food much simpler than with people! =p

    Hey Bel, not so much regrets as curiosity over things which will now always remain as a hypothetical.

    Hey Dolly, because memories are such a strong thing.

    Hey Fiona, it's weird, I know, and it reminds me of the "bolognese" my mother makes!

    Hey Ellie, it's ok but the food at Victoria Noodle Restaurant across the road.

    Hey nitrous chargers, amazing how seemingly insignificant details can trigger strong memories.

    Hey Thang, I pretty much always remember with whom I last ate at any place.

    Hey Penny, certain food/flavours always make me think of my mum's cooking, for example, even when it's food I don't like! =p

    Hey Ninja, must remember to carry some knives with me in future to offset the pain of memories =D

    Hey Simon, I have no idea where the name came from!

    Hey Adrian, I seriously wonder how they get the pastry lid to puff and dome like that!

    Hey Gastronomy Gal, it's sad...but not in a heartbreaking way, if you know what I mean.

    Hey mashi, love a saucy baked rice dish on cold days!

    Hey Vivian, thank you =)

    Hey Maria, I'm most irked when someone walks past me and the scent they're wearing reminds me of someone whom I haven't seen or thought of in years!

    Hey Kitchen Butterfly, pastry is a big love of mine!

    Hey Isis-Rae, please do!

    Hey chopinandmysaucepan, haha, but it's been around for years in lots of Asian countries with western influence - think Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia!


Thanks for leaving a comment!


Related Posts with Thumbnails