I used to live in Hove and I really miss it because there are so many great restaurants and pubs within walking distance from each other. One of the few places I didn’t try out during my year of living there was The Green Mango, a Thai restaurant with five years service on Church Road.
Six weeks ago the restaurant had a rebrand and is now trading as the Cafe Chilli. The owner told me that they’ve tried to move away from the generic Thai menu you’d expect to see in a Thai restaurant and incorporate more fusion dishes, which are becoming increasingly popular in Bangkok. Based on this claim I decided I had to ditch my planned massaman curry and go with something a bit different…
Before I get into the food I have to tell you about the delicious Blueberry Sparkle – £2.50, a fizzy non-alcoholic cocktail with real blueberries brewed into a syrup with lemon and a spring of thyme to finish. As someone who is often driving, this is exactly the sort of drink I’m happy to swap my wine for.
To start we had the Spring Roll Duo – £5.95 to share. These normally come as crab & spinach and duck, but we asked just for duck rolls with hoisin sauce which the waitress arranged without any trouble. The rolls were really tasty, not at all greasy and most importantly crispy and packed full. One of the duck rolls had three bones in it, which was unexpected and we weren’t warned of this. However, the owner assured me that they always buy boneless, duck and that they would follow this up with the supplier.
We also ordered the Mixed Grilled Skewers – £5.95, which included chicken breast marinated in satay seasoning and a peanut satay sauce, and marinated pork with a spicy and salty fish sauce dip, served with a cucumber and peanut ajaa. The meat could have been more succulent, particularly the chicken, but the satay sauce with this dish was very tasty. It was subtle and not overpowering and very smooth.
Next up was my main of Tuna Steak – £13.95 – topped with a red curry sauce and served with fresh egg noodles. I struggled with this dish. The red curry sauce was delicious, but the tuna was overdone and tough, making chewing it a big effort. The egg noodles were also congealed and stuck together, making it tricky to separate the noodles and eat. Personally I would have preferred these served on the same plate with the tuna and the curry sauce. I like my noodles a little softer and saucy.
Megan had the vegetarian Stuffed Peppers – £10.95. This course came with just one red pepper, filled with a stir-fry of vegetables, tofu, cashew nuts and roasted chilli paste, and served with pineapple fried rice and Thai soup. Our thoughts were this was a great veggie dish, even if a little pricey. The red pepper was flavoured well and the soup was also strong in the flavour department. Thai soups can often be a bit watery and flavourless but this was beautifully infused with onion flavours and we both liked this a lot.
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend either of the desserts we had. Both were inedible and we left these. I had wanted the mango sorbet as it’s a lovely light way to end a big meal but it was sold out. Instead, we had to go with the more traditional Thai desserts. I chose the Thai pancakes which are deep-fried with condensed milk drizzled on top and a scoop of coffee ice cream. Sadly, the ice cream was the only bit I did like and could eat, the rest of the pancake was very oily and overly sweet. Apprently that’s how it’s supposed to be but I wasn’t a fan.
Megan chose the fruit cocktail with coconut ice cream. The fruits were tinned and served in syrup (again as they would be in Thailand, but apparently minus tinned sweetcorn) but again neither of us liked this. My advice is to skip desserts and save your pennies for the wine.
PRICE: £42.70 for 2 courses + £22.95 for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc
RATING: Must Go | Worth A Try | Give It A Miss
The trouble with this night was the food was inconsistent, so I can’t give it a very high rating. The staff were really friendly and welcoming and took on board my feedback, but to raise the bar they need to pay a little more attention to some of the details. For instance, the plates needed to be warmed to ensure the dishes remained hot whilst we dined.
Also where we were sat was tucked away round a corner, because of this we completely missed the specials board and the waitress didn’t highlight this offering to us.
I would also be curious to see how some of the other more traditional Thai items on the menu compare too. Have you been and what did you think? I’m keen to know if some of the other dishes were any better and if it’s worth a second visit.
*Disclosure my meal and drinks were complimentary. However, this has not affected my review which is an honest and impartial account of my dining experience.