Dancers performing a sizzling dance on opening night.
RESTAURANTS, cafes and bars along Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, come and go with a regularity clockmakers admire and few possess staying power. The newly-opened Mango’s Tropical Café seems to latch on to a fail-proof formula with its tropical theme.
Mango’s Tropical Café is owned by veteran restaurateur Sebastien Haegel who found fame and fortune with Flam’s in 2001 in Bangsar and branched into Changkat in 2009, wowing foodies with its delightfully crispy thin-crust pizzas. Haegel rode the crest and in quick succession opened The Loft, Space Club, Cynna Bar and Bermudas & Onions.
Currently, Flam’s is next to Elixir, a high-end club also owned by Haegel while Mango’s Tropical Café is upstairs.
Each level occupies 3,500 sq ft. “Before I opened Mango’s Tropical Café on Dec 28, 2013, it was my office as I was running so many restaurants. Then I decided to concentrate only on my Changkat outlets and sold the rest.
“I moved to a smaller office and the entire 3,500 sq ft first floor above Elixir and Flam’s became empty. I started thinking of a concept to suit the space which comes with its own balcony with panoramic view of the street.”
Almost every main cuisine and theme is represented in Changkat Bukit Bintang. “If you notice, most restaurants offer fancy European and foreign food with mat salleh names and concepts. These restaurants can be anywhere but we are in Kuala Lumpur in the tropics. In fact, some American and European tourists told me they didn’t feel like they were in Malaysia since the foreign restaurants made them feel like they were back home!
“That was when the idea hit me. I wanted a tropical themed joint to reflect the area we happen to be. I also wanted a name that is easy to remember and pronounce. I thought of ‘Durian’ and ‘Rambutan’ but tourists wouldn’t know what they were. So I chose Mango which is universally known and enjoyed.
“The name ‘Mango’s Tropical Café’ says it all and we serve a mix of Malaysian, Asian and popular western dishes like spaghetti and roast chicken. The décor is very woody with bamboo and even kampung touches like the bamboo fishtrap now turned into a lamp. We also have a Phoenix darts machine very popular with the younger set.”
Mango’s Tropical Café also boasts a full band of three singers and four musicians. “Sky High is the only band playing on a permanent basis in Changkat and offers value for money.
They play rock classics as well as contemporary hits. Inbetween the resident deejay spins popular evergreen disco hits from the 80s and 90s.
Mango’s Tropical Café is the only place with live entertainment so it is bound to give us an extra edge as it is always a bonus to be able to enjoy live entertainment.” said the affable Haegel who hails from France.