Tel: +44 (0)20 7242 1544
Address: 113 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 6JJ
Cuisine Type: Indian
nearest tube station Holborn (CENTRAL, PICCADILLY)

The business districts of the City are strange places. Swarming with office workers during the week, they resembles ants’ nests, with thousands of creatures making their way via underground tunnels to emerge from the bowels of the earth around these hubs of activity. But at weekends, this industriousness ceases and the streets become deserted, unrecognisable.

It was in this sepulchral scene that The Bloke and I found ourselves on a Saturday night, in search of dinner before a party at the Cittie of Yorke pub near Chancery Lane. Nearly everything being shut, we ended up almost by default in Mango, a modern Indian restaurant a stone’s throw from Holborn tube. Apart from one other table for two and another group of four leaving as we arrived, the restaurant was empty – you wouldn’t have thought we were in one of the busiest cities in the world on what should the busiest night for the restaurant trade.

Undeterred by the rather creepy quietness, accentuated by the strange images painted on the walls, we surveyed the menu. From the varied range of predominantly north Indian food, we ordered mahi kebab (£4.75), a generous portion of marinated monkfish roasted until meltingly tender, sag paneer (£3.95), a creamy mix of spinach and curd cheese and Bharta, a mild curry of aubergines (£3.95) which we mopped up with naans and parathas (£1.75-£2.50). A side order of Bhindi (£3.95) was delicious, reminding me how good okra can be when cooked well.

There is an excellent bar, serving all manner of alcoholic drinks, but we opted for some cooling lassis with our meal, with fragrant passionfruit and lemon grass or spicy mango and ginger (£3) varieties providing an interesting twist on the traditional flavours. The lassis were prepared by a professional barman, swinging his cocktail shaker with a vigour that did him credit in such a moribund environment. Or maybe he was just enjoying not being rushed off his feet: I’m sure that on a weekday night, Mango is bursting to the seams with city workers looking for a more sophisticated take on the classic “beers and curry” combo.

– Tracy Yam, 8/2002