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Calgary’s dining festival, Big Taste, kicked off last Friday. As a foodie, it is the event that I don’t want to miss. It is a great opportunity to sample dishes at new restaurants at a reasonable price. One of our friends is Muslim and can only eat halal food. To respect his religious dietary restriction, we decided to go to Mango Shiva on Stephen avenue as its lunch set menu is vegetarian friendly.
As soon as we stepped inside the restaurant, the smell of Indian spices assailed our nostrils. There was no doubt that we were in an Indian restaurant. We were greeted immediately by the waiter and seated near the bar. The restaurant is spacious and is roughly divided into 3 sections- the lounge area near the entrance, the bar area, and the dining area at the back. The decor is of the retro, upscale style, creating a relaxing and trendy atmosphere.
I ordered the 3-course lunch menu ($25) that came with Indian spiced tomato soup as appetizer, seafood or vegetarian thali as the main course, and kheer as dessert. Kev ordered the butter chicken ($24) so we could sample the quality of its curry bowl. All of our order were served with complimentary naan (butter or garlic) and basmati rice.
The tomato soup tasted different from the western tomato soup I’ve had. It is not as thick and sour. The soup is watery and peppery. Along with the soup, the appetizer included crispy rice crackers and herb sour cream on the side. I must say the crackers were a bit stale and the sour cream was quite tasteless though.
Thali is a steel platter with small bowls consisting of different dishes. The seafood thali came with beer batter fried cod, salad, vegetable lentil curry, spicy garlic sauce and mint yoghurt sauce. The portion might seem small, but it was actually pretty filling. The fried cod curry tasted good, but lentil curry was my favorite. The only disappointment was that the rice was a bit cold.
The naan was freshly made and tasted soooo soft and delicious!! I wish they serve bigger pieces of naan and let us trade the rice for more naan bread 😉
We were super excited that the butter chicken has finally arrived! It is the best butter chicken I have ever had so far. Different from other butter chicken, the tandoori-roasted chicken was served in a tomato cream curry. That way, the curry didn’t taste too buttery. The smooth, sweet, creamy taste just made us want to keep eating.
We finished our meal with the dessert, kheer. Basically, it was rice pudding with chai gelato. The rice pudding is watery with a hint of rose water taste.
Overall, our dining experience at Mango Shiva was enjoyable. The only complaint I had was that the service was slow. We waited for 15~20 mins for our desserts to be served. The food is a bit pricey, but the good news is that they offer lunch buffet every weekday at the price of $20.95 (or $12.95 for takeaway).
My review: It is like godiva, offering expensive, fine quality food. Somewhere you won’t mind to go with family/friends once in a while for a delightful food adventure.