Nestled in a little strip mall along Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge, BC lies a hidden gem that we have recently discovered, and it is not the type of discovery one keeps a secret! Mango Moka is a fusion destination the whole family can enjoy, and has a little something for every person, every mood, and every taste. From cold, vitamin-packed healthy smoothies to steaming cups of ethical fair-trade coffee, from authentic spicy Indian samosas to gourmet paninis and sinfully sweet desserts, this East meets West, cafe meets juice bar serves it all up with a genuine smile.
Founder of Mango Moka, Suki Bassi, grew up in India on a dairy farm and spent a lot of time on his Uncle’s mango farm in a nearby village. His entrepreneurial spirit ignited at a tender age while selling milk, and later vegetables in the local farmers market; Suki loved selling their goods in the market so much that he began to dream: One day I am going to have my own restaurant or bar to serve delicious, healthy, home grown products to my friends. Many years later, having seen immigration to Canada, ‘life’ and the death of his father, Suki made that dream a reality; on February 14, 2015 Mango Moka had their grand opening.
Recently we were invited, along with some other bloggers and their junior testers, to Mango Moka for a tasting of some of their offerings, and they did not disappoint! We were greeted like family and welcomed into a clean modern atmosphere where large chalkboard style menus listed their yummy offerings and display cases tempted. We started off with beverages, both hot and cold. We were very pleased with the taste and richness of the coffee and my chai tasted absolutely authentic. But, when the smoothies arrived, that’s when eyes really began to light up…something for the kids to try too! Their Mango Mania is to die for and should really be eaten with a spoon, while their Berry Healthy smoothie manages to blend avocado in so well that *I* had no idea they were in there. Yep…I think avocados taste like soap unless in a good guac…but I would drink this any day. It’s the perfect balance between healthy and tasty, and the texture is so smooth and creamy. And, speaking of beverages, we just had to have fresh squeezed OJ to watch Suki’s snazzy juicer in action!
We were treated to a variety of food; Paninis in Ham, Turkey and Grilled Cheese with Bacon for the kids, and a Butter Chicken Naan Wrap. If you think one person Instagramming a picture of their meal is funny, you should see several bloggers taking pictures of the same plates! Not a bite went uneaten, and it was hard to pick a favourite. In fact, I don’t think it would be fair to play favourites without trying more on the Mango Moka menu, and I will definitely be back to take on that challenge.
It wouldn’t be a tasting without sampling some of the fresh desserts made locally in Maple Ridge and I had my eye on a Naniamo bar. Or maybe it had it’s eye on me. Either way it was worth waiting for and savouring; not too sweet, but with a thick chocolate top layer and a nicely textured crust with nuts and coconut you can see. It was pretty scrumptious and I was beyond delighted to find one in my car when I got home!
Mango Moka isn’t just about the food (amazing) and drinks (incredible) and service (warm). One of the first things you’ll notice when you walk in is that there are no ‘private tables’; not a 2-top or 4-top in sight. What they do have are 3 large, long tables with lots of chairs, encouraging conversation between old friends and friends-you-haven’t-met-yet; reminiscent of a big family dinner. And family is exactly what Suki would like you to feel like when you walk through the door.
We’re so grateful for the invitation to this event, to be welcomed with wide open arms and to help Suki reach his dream – we are in such need of locally owned restauraunts that are passionate about offering whole, nutritious food to families. With over 10 of us in attendance, not a single one of us left food on our plates, not a single smoothie cup was left full – and we are sure you’ll feel the same when you visit!
Visit: 20836 Lougheed Highway, Maple Ridge