It is funny how things change. I recently returned to Portadown some twenty plus years after having left it and, whilst much is very much the same, much has changed, which I suppose is to be expected. One example of this is what I remember being known as Bachelors Walk with the old Eden House mansion in it. The mansion is long gone and the whole place is now rather grandly titled, "Edenvilla Park and Secret Garden".
Actually, despite the grandiose renaming, it is a very pleasant park and very well set up for children of whom there were plenty the day I visited. Various sculptures adorn the site and the Secret Garden boasts a Koi carp pond and the chimney pot and pump handle, the only remnants of the old house.
I did allow myself a smile whilst walking about. Is it only me that finds the concept of a sign directing you to a "secret" garden amusing?
Update December 2012.
Well, it is all change on the restaurant front in the area between Portadown and Armagh. Mango, in that incarnation, is no more. The premises are now known as the Stonebridge Brasserie, run by the McNally family who previously had the Stonebridge restaurant which I have reviewed seperately here. In the interests of simplicity, I shall write a fresh review of the new operation and link it here as little has changed in the way of decor etc. I have also removed the now defunct telephone number and will include the new one in the updated tip. Should you still want to use the website link which I have kept here, it will automatically link to the new site.
Update November 2011.
Readers of my other pages will know that I like to keep my pages up to date, especially restaurant reviews where places come and go so rapidly. I am pleased to report that Mango is still producing food to a very high standard, although the recession really is hitting the restaurant trade in Northern Ireland and the evening my Father and I visited (admittedly a November Tuesday) it was virtually empty.
We opted for the Earlybird menu served Monday to Thursday 4p.m. to 7p.m. which offers two courses from a selection of four starters, four mains and three desserts. I opted for the brie filo parcels with a cranberry creme fraiche dip and a minute steak with chunky chips and mushrooms. both were cooked excellently and chef had cooked my steak blue as ordered, something not always done in Northern Ireland where they tend to cremate steaks.
All in all, very good and still recommended.
They say location is everything and if that were as true for restaurants as it is of property, Mango would really struggle being located in a filling station forecourt on the main Portadown / Armagh Road with a fine view of the scrapyard! However, ignore the vista and settle down for what is some very good food.
Mango has been completely refurbished from the old Ell's restaurant (more of a roadhouse really) in a fairly neutral modern style. Perhaps not eh most atmospheric restaurant I have ever been in but pleasant enough. You are greeted by one of the extremely helpful staff and seated. there is a fully stocked bar should you fancy an aperitif.
I am a firm believer that restaurants should be judged on the food, and Mango certainly does not disappoint. I had several meals there and they were all of a consistently high quality. the menu is not overly extensive but what is offered is of a high standard and not hugely expensive. Not that it is a criticism but, in the way of Northern Ireland hospitality, the portions tend to be on the generous side, so bring your appetite.
OK, so Mango is not ever going to win a Michelin star but it offers a very good option for a decent meal at a reasonable price. Hopefully, the photos will give you some idea.
Mango is very child-friendly and fully wheelchair accessible. It is open on Monday - Tuesday 10am – 8pm (Last food orders), Wednesday - Saturday 10am – 9pm (Last food orders) and Sunday 12pm – 8pm (Last food orders).
Favorite Dish: A difficult choice but I would have to plump for the pork medallions on a bed of pureed parsnip. Delicious.
Gaynor's in Portadown is an absolute institution as the title suggests. I don't just throw these tips together you know! It has been here for many years and apart from the odd paint job never seems to change too much, most importantly in the quality of the food served.
Certainly this is not haute cuisine, it will never win a Michelin star, it is just an honest to goodness Northern Ireland cafe serving breakfasts, grills, paninis etc. etc.
I am not much of a breakfast person ordinarily and the famous Ulster Fry, normally eaten at that time of day, defeats me until about midday. The very competitively priced Breakfast Special in Gaynor's, a sort of scaled down version, is therefore ideal for me and very, very tasty. Just have a look at the photo and I defy you not to salivate. At £3 it is a steal.
Service is quick and very friendly in that typically Northern Ireland way, and there is a daily specials board if you don't fancy anything on the fairly extensive menu.
Favorite Dish: The Breakfast Special as described above.