Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Wandering up a very cold and frosty Fort William main street on a dark winter night, the cheery windows of Café Mango beckoned me inside. This interesting cultural mix-up of Thai and Indian food, served by an incredibly friendly and efficient Bangladeshi team, was just the thing. The free wi-fi access is also a bonus for tourists and travellers who have come in from walking the blessedly connectivity-free highland mountains surrounding the town.
The menu is comprehensive, with all the usual Indian curries, tandooris and side dishes including delicious nan breads, along with selected 'chef recommendations'. Most entrees and side dishes are around GBP4.95, with mains around the GBP10-11 mark. I opted for the Thai, which included a good selection of red and green curry options, along with noodles and rice dishes, as after a week of monotonous mountain food, I was desperate for some crunchy vegetables. While the salad leaves in the mango and peanut salad could have been fresher, the plate of stir fried vegetables with chilli and home made peanut sauces on the side was fabulous. With a particularly Scottish/winter twist, there was plenty of cabbage in it, but also lots of other lovely fresh veggies. The spices and flavouring were spot on. Green tea was served in a proper teapot and there is a good wine/beer selection.
The café offers good value deals at both lunch and dinner: the 2-course dinner option is GBP10.95 or GBP12.95 for 3 courses. Servings are generous and the food comes out very quickly, though not before you are ready for it. The staff are genuinely interested in their customers, which is refreshing, and happy to discuss the various curries and what might best suit your taste. In a Highland town with plenty of pubs to choose from, Mango Café offers a delicious and affordable alternative.