Monday, December 2, 2013

Mango Tree Restaurant

The al fresco dining pavilion of the Mango Tree Restaurant looks out over a small river stone pool and takes in the magnificent Petit Piton and views of the Caribbean Sea.  Located within the Stonefield Estate Resort in Soufriere, St. Lucia, the chef and culinary team use all fresh local market ingredients and build on Mrs. Brown’s home cooking recipes to make the freshest, most delicious St. Lucian flare.

All herbs and vegetables grown on property are organic and the former plantation still yields the seasonal citrus, mango and breadfruit which are incorporated into the daily menus. The Mango Tree presents a rotating dinner theme menu featuring the popular Barbeque Thursdays, a charming Creole evening with a live local shak shak band and the best baby back ribs and jerk bake on the west coast. Whether you dine under a full moon with Petit Piton cast in shadow, under the starriest of nights, or witness passing ships alight, the Mango Tree Restaurant brings diners the perfect marriage of location and gourmet Creole.

Since we stayed at Stonefield, we ate breakfast (included) at the Mango Tree every morning.  We also had lunch and dinner a couple times, so I will recap each experience below.

The basket lights created nice mood lighting on the pavilion.
THURSDAY DINNER:  We arrived on a Thursday evening.  Exhausted from the full day of travel, we freshened up and headed to Mango Tree for dinner.  We could hear calypso music playing and smell barbeque smoke in the air.  It was "Barbeque Thursday" with food served buffet style and live entertainment such as fire eaters and limbo dancers.  My first trip up to the buffet was to grab salad.  I loaded my plate with a mix of fresh salad, pasta salad, and plantain salad.  Everything was fresh and full of flavor.  I was pretty impressed with my initial taste of St. Lucian food so far.  Keith ladled himself a bowl of pink bean soup.  It was very smooth and velvety.  He returned for salad, while I was ready to start on the mains.


I sampled some calypso rice, potato gratin, macaroni & cheese, sauteed vegetables, steamed Kingfish with coconut sauce, and barbeque chicken.  Again, everything tasted much better quality than typical buffet fare.  I enjoyed the meaty fish with a texture akin to swordfish and the sweet barbeque glaze on the chicken. 


Keith enjoyed the same sides plus the Caribbean pork chop.  He asked for extra barbeque sauce and they were happy to accommodate.


Lastly for dessert I chose a slice of the Hummingbird Cake. It was a fruit-studded bundt cake with a sweet vanilla glaze on top.  It was moist and not overly sweet.  It reminded me of my favorite carrot cake.


FRIDAY BREAKFAST:  The next morning, we returned to Mango Tree for our first complimentary breakfast (included with guest accommodations.)  Now that it was light out, we could truly appreciate the amazing view of the mountains and the boats on the Caribbean Sea.  How about eating breakfast like these every day? Le sigh...


We started with a bread basket assortment of freshly baked (and piping hot) banana nut muffins and biscuits.  They were served with butter, housemade banana preserves, and mango-papaya jelly.  I loved the biscuits - super chewy and dense to really satisfy.  I ordered the Piton Special, which were two scrambled eggs, with potatoes, and choice of sausage or ham.  I chose ham, which was actually SPAM, but I didn't mind as I am very familiar with SPAM.  The eggs were a little too runny for me, but I enjoyed the potatoes and ate another biscuit.

Keith ordered the Stonefield Favorite, which was a large breakfast sandwich of scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, tomato, cucumber, and mayonnaise on a soft French baguette.  This sandwich lived up to its name, as we ordered again during the rest of our stay.


SATURDAY BREAKFAST:  For our second breakfast, I chose Mango Pancakes.  They were super moist and soaked up the maple syrup nicely.  Mango puree was folded into the pancake batter to give that tropical twist.


This time Keith tried the Piton Special, but ordered the sausage instead.  His eggs were cooked much better than mine were the previous day.


SUNDAY BREAKFAST:  This morning it sprinkled a bit, but as we sat to eat the sun broke through and a lovely rainbow appeared.  I took a shot form our table - again, a breathtaking view to greet you each morning!

Pretty rainbow!
This time, I tried the Weekend Special, which was scrambled eggs with a side of sausage, roasted mushrooms, fried plantains, and a side salad.  This meal was more like a brunch offering and was very flavorful.


Keith ordered the breakfast sandwich again, as well as a fruit plate.  The fruit plate was pretty standard with local bananas, watermelon, pineapple, orange, and papaya (missing from this picture).


SUNDAY LUNCH:  We ended up staying at our villa all day enjoying the hammock and private pool.  We swam, played games, lounged in the sun, and swam some more.  We liked being lazy and decided to order "room service" from Mango Tree for lunch.  We simply called in our order and they brought it over within 15 minutes.  I ordered the Chicken Roti, since Keith really liked the fish version he had for lunch the other day at Sugar Beach.  This version was not as fancy as Bayside's, but had just as great curry flavor.  The filling was generous with chunks of chicken, potatoes, and carrots.  It came with a side salad, and was overall a very filling lunch.


Keith tried the Bacon Cheeseburger that came with French fries.  The meat was a little overcooked, but was satisfying.  He also had a small side salad on the plate.


SUNDAY DINNER:  Continuing with our lazy theme, we stayed "local" and ate dinner at Mango Tree.  They had steel drum players performing live music, which was very festive and fun.  We were able to order a la carte from the "Island Fantasy" menu. There were many options ranging from lighter salads to full meat entrees to pasta.  As an amuse bouche, we were presented with a piece of dorado fish on a housemade sweet & spicy sauce.  I appreciated the complimentary gesture, as an attempt to give a more upscale feel to the dinner, however the fish was way overcooked and super dry and chewy.  Keith liked the sauce though, and later wanted to by a bottle of it to bring home.


As an appetizer, Keith ordered the Callaloo Soup. The main ingredient is a leaf vegetable, traditionally amaranth, which is known locally throughout the Caribbean as callaloo.  This soup was blended so creamily and topped with crab meat.


For a palate cleanser in between courses, we were treated to a banana and turmeric sorbet.  Both the banana and spice were very strong.


For my main dish, I ordered the Seafood Pasta with a blend of mussels, jumbo shrimp, and fish in creamy herb sauce served on a nest of linguini pasta.  The best part was the chunks of fish, as the mussels tasted frozen and were very chewy.  The pasta was overcooked and a bit mushy, but I ate most of the dish anyways.


Keith ate Mango Tree’s Lamb Curry that came with rice, carrots, string beans, and a ginger puree.  His lamb was cooked perfectly and was tender and very flavorful from the curry spices.  He really enjoyed his dish.


MONDAY BREAKFAST:  For our last breakfast, I opted for the sandwich, as I had not had one myself yet.  Keith ordered the daily special, which was a Spanish Omelette.  He didn't think there was any meat inside - just tomatoes, onions, and cheese.  We also ordered another bread basket and fruit plate to share.


MONDAY LUNCH:  We were checking out this day, and our flight did not leave until later in the afternoon.  So after one last dip in our pool, we showered, packed up, settled our hotel bill, and then went to the Mango Tree for one last meal before our taxi transfer arrived to take us to the airport.  I chose the St. Lucian Fish & Chips.  The fish was heavily battered, but lightly fried.  I am not sure what kind of fish it was, but it was a very fishy one.  I also ate a small side salad.


Keith ordered the Chicken Kebabs with a side salad.  The skewers were decent with nice chunks of meat and fresh vegetables.  It was covered in a tropical glaze that was more sweet than spicy.


Overall, the breakfast options at Mango Tree are much higher quality than the standard complimentary breakfast at most hotels.  They were the perfect way to start your day of adventure in St. Lucia.  The view from the covered patio, of course, was the best part.  Service was always given with a smile, and I appreciated the formality with serving (full sets of silverware and glasses on the table, plates presented to the left and removed from the right, and constant filling of water).  Suggestions for improvement include offering refill of drinks at dinner (Keith always had to flag a server down to ask for another beer) and being a little more attentive when tables are done.  We realized we were on "island time" but we were also ready to go about the day and often had to wait long to receive our bill.

Total Rating: 3.68
Food: 3.5, Price: 3, Service: 4, Ambience: 5, Accessibility: 5

2 comments:

  1. It looked like a wonderful time with great food. <3

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I am still daydreaming about that view!

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