Mango Reef Restaurant Providenciales (Provo), Turks & Caicos IslandsReviewed Spring 2019
Fried Whole Red Queen Snapper
Treat yourself to a different dining diversion and a new culinary perspective at Mango Reef Restaurant. Located on Little Diddle Cay in Sellar’s Pond, it’s right in the heart of Turtle Cove, at the marina of the same name.
Relax and enjoy the panoramic view of the harbour and the day-to-day boat traffic in this bustling marina. Or cruise right in aboard your own vessel and tie up at the restaurant dock. Evenings, the Mango Reef is aglow with tiki torches and lights. A newly constructed deck over the water at the back of the restaurant overlooks the historic vestiges of the Third Turtle Inn, circa 1967. Mango Reef is probably the island’s largest restaurant that is not part of a resort, and can accommodate 250 diners. That may sound large, but the expansive al fresco space is comfortably ‘divided’ into several dining areas and two lively bars.
Head Chef Florent Sourmont brings the delicious decadence of many French specialties to your table, while Philippino Sous Chef Reynaldo Abao adds his Asian influence to this multi-national, comprehensive menu. It’s an out-and-out fusion of international cuisines, including many local dishes.
Calamari Rings at Mango Reef
A large cocktail list tempts you with many creative libations. Rum Punch is a tropical, Caribbean classic and the Mango Reef recipe features our local Bambarra rum. But for me, nothing refreshes like a Mojito. Mine was stuffed with lime and fresh mint, a tantalisingly tart drink with just a hint of sweetness.
Service here is always attentive, friendly, efficient and fast. Many long-time staff have become very familiar faces you know by name, and vice-versa. A few will impress you with a rather uncanny talent. They can and do recite your order (no matter how large,) without writing anything down.
Aumoniere of Scallop
This menu is jam packed with choices and daily specials and special meal deals. Take your palate to exotic locales with dishes like Mee Goreng, Spicy Yellow Madras Chicken, Spicy Ikan Curry Grouper. Try the steaks, Jerk Chicken or a Dominican Paella. Tuna Carpaccio, Fresh Tuna Rolls in rice paper, Salmon and Tuna Sashimi await you. And yet there is still more seafood, with scallops, shrimp and conch. And one of the most decadent escargot dishes I have experienced, served by the dozen. Great for sharing. Mango Reef has not forgotten to include delicious vegetarian dishes and pastas.
Chef Florent admits the seafood and curry dishes are very popular. A local deep-sea fishing company has been a great source of wahoo, a mild, sweet tasting yet firm fleshed fish. He prepares it simply grilled with Caribbean spices, “to keep the taste and texture of the dish,” he adds.
We enjoyed tearing into those familiar warm, crusty baguette slices as we browsed the seemingly endless menu possibilities.
Blue Cheese Salad
Purely unintentional on our part, tonight’s dishes evolved into a seafood feast.
Calamari à la Provençale was an appetiser special of stir-fried calamari rings with shallots, garlic, basil. These sweet and tender rings were submerged in a beautiful tomato concassé. Fresh tomatoes are blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped. Seasoned and simmered, they become a rich, savoury sauce with just a hint of sweetness. “The concassé makes it,” my husband confessed Look for other dishes featuring this delicious sauce, like chef Florent's Octopus Appetiser Special. I wish it were on the regular menu.
Crispy Aumonière of Scallop is probably my favourite dish, and tonight, my fellow diner beat me to the punch. Picture a completely edible and delicious pastry stuffed with sautéed jumbo scallops, mushrooms, and spinach, smothered inside and out with a smooth and velvety Parmesan cream sauce. Your parcel is topped with decadent crispy shallots and truffle oil. “It’s the sauce that makes this. The French have a way with sauce,” he said with a contented smile.
The Shrimp Tempura is equally fabulous. Six super-sized succulent shrimp, cocooned in a delicate yet decadent crispy, finger-lickin’ good tempura batter. Included are two dipping sauces, a to-die-for creamy sriracha and a simple, soya sauce. Seaweed salad and pickled ginger add a cooling crunch.
Organic green leaves tossed with fresh, crunchy apple, tomatoes, croutons, whole walnuts, and large chunks of crumbled blue cheese make up the generous and healthy Blue Cheese Salad.
We can never resist Meomi Pinot Noir. It’s an incredibly food friendly wine with exceptional body for a Pinot. If you are a white wine drinker, and ready to take the leap to red, this is the one to try.
Pan-Seared Atlantic Salmon
’Tis the season to indulge in our popular and famous local delight. The Spicy Thai Lobster Curry was calling my name. Divinely sweet and tantalisingly tender lobster chunks were stir-fried in a red curry paste together with ginger, scallions, lemongrass, lime kaffir, galangal, chili, cilantro and basil. This heavenly union was simmered in coconut milk with vegetables and served with steamed white rice and cucumber yogurt on the side.
My favourite dining companion speaks few words when ‘working,’ but one of them is, ‘awesome.’ Tonight she was referring to her lovely fillet of Pan-Seared Atlantic Salmon. Perched on a bed of parsley mashed potatoes, it was accompanied by sautéed mixed vegetables with a cherry tomato cream sauce on the side.
Our local snapper never disappoints. Tonight’s Whole Red Queen Snapper came with a choice. “Would you like that grilled or deep-fried?” Okay, I know the importance of making healthy food choices, but if you have never experienced a deep-fried whole fish before, this is the one to try. The meat literally fell off the bones. So much richness and flavour, and the crispy skin. “Pretty darn good,” my husband cooed. I reminded him: “Don’t forget to eat the cheeks,” those absolutely tender pockets of meat just below the eyes.
The Pepper Tuna Steak is pan-seared rare and served with a velvety garlic butter sauce. My fellow diner enjoyed the spiciness of the pepper crust, adding it was complementary, not overpowering. “Rare, like a steak. The only way it’s good,” he said. Topped with those ridiculously addictive crispy shallots, now those are completely complementary.
Pan-Seared Pepper Tuna Steak
There are desserts, and then there are desserts. Veritable works of art, decorated with spun sugar, wafer thin biscuits and artistic designs ‘drawn’ with sauces. It’s clear to see that pastry Chef Gary Siquioco likes to play with his food.
Think apple tart, French style, and you have Apple Tarte Fine. Caramelising the apples intensifies their sweetness and flavour. This elegant fruit and puff pastry dessert was served with a scoop of ice cream and a dreamy caramel sauce. My fellow diners could not resist the urge to dip anything they could find into it.
Apple Tart Fine - Mango Reef’s desserts are a work of art!
An individual Mango Cheesecake was a delight with a palm tree biscuit planted on top. Three creamy layers of cheesecake filling, between blankets of mango jam, are topped with fresh slices of mango.
The Warm Chocolate Cake with that trademark luxuriously soft and gooey centre, was baked in a ramekin and served with vanilla ice cream in an edible cookie bowl on the side.
Mango Reef Restaurant situated in a picturesque waterside location in Turtle Cove
. There’s also a selection of homemade ice creams. Tonight’s offerings were vanilla, cinnamon, coconut, rum raisin, mocha, strawberry, chocolate and pistachio. Or take it light and refreshing with a lime or mango sherbet.
The Mango Reef simply never disappoints. It’s a longtime favourite of locals, residents and returning visitors, including a very wise and well-fed resident night heron.
Photos by Lisa Adara Photography
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