Thursday Food Picks A Julie Mango
Foodie News...Thursday, October 22, 2020
Husband-and-wife team Rajiv Harpalani and Julie Ramchandani-Harpalani are the proud owners of Julie Mango Restaurant. It's their first such venture. “We were scheduled to open in March 2020. However we had an unwelcomed visitor (Mr Covid), so we put everything on hold. We started things up again in July 2020 and hosted a couple weeks of tastings for a selected few for feedback on our menu items. With the grace of God, we officially opened for business on August 10, 2020,” shares Julie Ramchandani-Harpalani.
Indeed, it is her name that inspired that of the restaurant's. “It was my husband Rajiv's idea,” she says. “We knew the idea we wanted for the restaurant, something fresh, something islandy/tropical and something fun. We came up with many names, none of which we both agreed on. The a-ha moment came one night! 'What do you think about Julie Mango?' he asked. We both knew right away that that was it. It was close to home for our Jamaican people, it was a representation of something we all know and love, it was fun and it went with our ideals. We also wanted to have a healthy and fresh spin on our menu items. So the name encompassed all that. And my name being Julie was the icing on the cake, or I guess in this case the 'seed of the mango'.”
Julie Mango is a casual breakfast and lunch spot with about 1,000 sq ft of dining space. There are plans to start dinner, international themed nights, maybe on weekends, and afternoon tea but with curfews still in place it's a wait-and-see approach. Located right next to a swimming pool, the view from inside is lush and green. It's deliberate and designed to lift spirits both in terms of location and bright with colourful furniture (yellow and green to represent the Julie mango) and a couple of garden swings and mango tree branches to give a casual, backyard, relaxed feel.
“What we wanted to bring to the culinary scene was something different. Clean eating, fresh local produce that can be used creatively to create an exciting dining experience. We knew from the get-go that we wanted to utilise as many of our local suppliers, as possible. I mean, these are tough times and if we can support one another, even in the slightest way, why wouldn't we? Our lamb, chicken, beef, pork, produce, even our teas are all from local suppliers,” adds Julie. “We also wanted to incorporate fresh ingredients as best as we could. Instead of using canned beans and tomatoes for our sauces we buy everything fresh from the market. Instead of french fries, we offer chilli garlic breadfruit. Instead of fried tacos, we do breadfruit tacos. We want to serve people what feels like a home-cooked meal. It was always a philosophy of ours that if we aren't comfortable eating it, how can we serve it to someone? Because of that, everything is cooked fresh and done to order. We don't believe in frozen sauces or reheating food. We don't even have a microwave in the restaurant. We want it to be clean eating: Fresh Meals & Good Feels”.
We also serve wines and beers for those who like to indulge a bit with their meal. We have tried to pair our flavours with selected wines, thanks to the guidance of some wonderful wine connoisseurs.
Our desserts are quite popular, as well. They are served in shot glasses to satisfy the sweet tooth, but not to overpower the meal.
COVID has also taught us a whole new level of hygiene awareness. We have limited dine-in and observe strict protocols regarding sanitisation. We clean our tables, chairs and serveware several times throughout the day.
I had a friend come in to dine a couple weeks ago and she mentioned that this was her first restaurant experience in seven months. I asked what made her choose here over anywhere else and she said, I've been to your house and I know your standards there, so I knew it would be safe to come here. That was one of the best compliments I've ever received!
We wanted the menu to be a fusion of different cuisines. No single cuisine was to be the star of the menu. We both cook quite a bit and like to try different things. Throughout all of that we managed to perfect a few recipes which we knew we wanted as staples on our menu.
We spent a lot of time trying different combinations to see what worked well together. We also wanted a reasonable menu that would be easy to manage the inventory for with our local supply and demand. Because of all that, we decided to keep the everyday available items fairly limited, and then have rotating daily specials in addition to our regular menu.
We wanted to bring to reality our motto “Fresh Meals & Good Feels”.
Customer feedback has been very positive. The variety and flavours have been greatly appreciated. The positive feedback has kept us motivated despite the times. We try to add a couple new items every few weeks to keep things fun.
What has been great is that most persons that have had a meal there have come back for another (or a few more) and that means a lot to us.
There has also been significant appreciation for our vegan and vegetarian options. There is a growing demand for this and we have been able to cater to this demographic with our creative options such as a beetroot & chickpea burger, a vegan club sandwich, a roasted veggie & goat cheese wrap or a curried pumpkin bammy.
What has also been very much appreciated is that we are able to cater to those persons who have specific requirements. Some want quinoa instead of rice, some prefer cous-cous, some persons want gluten-free pasta, some persons prefer their breadfruit roasted rather than fried. We try our best to cater to each person's requests so that they leave satisfied with their experience.
Several persons have told us that when they usually go out to dine in the middle of the day, they leave with a feeling of lethargy. However, when dining here, they feel clean and light. And that's great for us to know.
JULIE MANGO FAVES
The most popular dish has been the Jahpotle Bowl. This is a combination of jasmine rice, black bean & corn salsa, guacamole, fried plantain and your protein of choice, drizzled with a cilantro aioli. Options for this dish are seasonal vegetables, tofu, chicken, fish or shrimp. These items are cooked with a homemade Jamaican chipotle marinade and showcase how well two different cuisines can come together to create a wonderful taste experience.
Another favourite would be the Basil Mother Clucker. I think most people initially try this dish just because of the name, but then grow to love it. This is finely chopped chicken breast cooked in a succulent basil sauce, and served over fried rice and topped with a fried egg. It is definitely a crowd favourite.
For vegan options, the Herbivore Delight is one of the top sellers. It is a vegan club sandwich layered with fresh veggies, avocado and cilantro chutney and served with a chilli garlic breadfruit. Another favourite which is one of the newest additions to the menu is My Big Fat Greek Platter, which is seasoned rice, fattoush salad, falafel and hummus. This dish can also be done with chicken, fish, lamb or shrimp for the meat-eaters.
Julie Mango Restaurant:
Eden Gardens Wellness Resort
Suite 15, 39 Lady Musgrave Rd
Tel# 876 728-2039
Tuesday to Friday - 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Saturday - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday (Brunch) - 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
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