My friend took me to Veni Mangé in Port of Spain, Trinidad last week for lunch. Here was my experience. Sign paying homage to Allyson Hennessy above.
“Veni Mangé came into existence in December 1980. The name Veni Mangé is French Patois for ‘Come & Eat’ Now located on the popular Ariapita Avenue, the restaurant is housed in old Colonial home, clay colored with demerara windows, local art, tropical plants, colorful décor and overhead ceiling fans. It epitomises Caribbean ambiance. Veni Mangé is run by sisters, Allyson Hennessy (deceased – pictured above), a Cordon Bleu Chef and sister, Roses Hezekiah.” – from Veni Mange website.
We were warmly greeted by Roses (I think it was Roses) who was the epitome of the Caribbean woman, beautiful, warm, felt like family, and a beautiful smile. She escorted us to our seats, asking us where we preferred and opening the windows for us to enjoy the breeze.
Before placing your order you are greeted by beautiful and delicious coconut bake! This is a Trinbagonian past-time. It was and still is one of the most comforting things for me to eat when I come home to Trinidad. My grandmother’s coconut bake was unforgettable. In addition to the bake looking so inviting, I loved the checkered towel it was placed in. Oh so homey!
I ordered grilled shrimp in chadon bene sauce (chadon bene is a family to cilantro) and my friend ordered the West Indian stewed beef with dumplings. Our entrees were served with (pictured above) bhagi rice (from top left), potato salad and fried plantains, vegetables (which was really pak choi) and red beans. Oh it was a feast!!!!!!!!!!! It looked and smelled sooooooooooo good! But the pièce de résistance was about to arrive..
Close up of the bhagi rice
Potato salad and fried plantains
Stewed red beans
Now for the entrees…
Stewed beef with dumplings. Five-finger a.k.a star fruit a.k.a carambola for decoration.
Another view with some watercress too.
This was my baby, my darling, just looking at this and my mouth is watering again…grilled shrimp in chadon bene sauce
Now, if memory serves me right the menu said “grilled shrimp.” I didn’t taste the grill on the shrimp, BUT the shrimps was one of the most delicious tasting shrimps I have ever had! It tasted like a chadon bene ceviche or a shrimp chow! BEST THING EVER!!
Another view! I ate my sides and left the majority of my shrimp for last.
We left room for dessert. I had the rum trifle and my friend had the prune dessert with custard (I can’t remember the name).
Inside the run trifle
A closer view of inside the rum trifle.
The prune dessert
Inside the prune dessert
The desserts were great! If I were Veni Mangé however I would place the trifle in a clear glass or bowl. The beauty of a trifle lies not just in its taste, but also in its layers. Glass dish – yes. I would also put a lighter layer of custard atop. The entire thing was a little too sweet and I felt the custard overwhelmed the delicious fruits and cake below a bit. I would do the same for the prune dessert. They were both great however. Now for the decor…
The brightly colored furniture, windows, ceiling fans, demerara windows, colorful artwork depicting Caribbean life and Caribbean people. The seat covers are reminiscent of the dresses worn by bélé dancers in the Caribbean.
Brightly colored furniture and jalousie windows (with louvers).
The artwork and plants…
A close up of the painted table top and beautiful tile
More of the interior
White painted ceiling, demerara windows, wooden floor and furniture at the bar
A wall of famous Trinidadians
View of Veni Mangé from the outside
I thank Rose and the young lady who waited on my friend and I. This was fantastic! The food was some of the best I have ever tasted. The service was PERFECT! I felt comfortable, they kept asking us if everything was alright and if we wanted anything else. I am a sucker for fantastic service and they gave it to us, all with that beautiful Caribbean smile and warmth.
- Food – GREAT
- Service – GREAT
- Ambiance – GREAT
Here’s a ink to the restaurant – http://www.venimange.com
Have a great one!