The Mango Tree restaurant is situated in the heart of Belgravia, a short walk from Victoria Station, London. It is quite easily my favourite Thai restaurant, with Sukhothai being a close second.
My friend and I had arrived a little early for our reservation, so we decided to begin our Mango Tree experience with a refreshing fruity cocktail. With our cocktail menus, we were given a generous bowl of spicy peanuts which the waiter frequently topped up as we schlurped slowly between conversing the latest gossip. The menu was so extensive and interesting that the waiter came over to us a good few times before we could eventually decide on our choice of cocktail.
I went for my favourite cocktail - the Singapore Sling.
Sadly, my Singapore Sling tasted purely of watery orangeade, sorry Mango Tree. I should have known not to order a Singapore Sling from anywhere else but the Raffles hotel in Singapore, southeast Asia. I regret that my friend and I both cannot remember the name of her cocktail, however, it was beautiful!
As we gazed over the menus, we were given a bowl of fish crackers. Unfortunately, unlike Sukhothai, they did not accompany the crackers with any sauce to dip.
We decided to share all of our dishes. For our starters, we had Yum Talay (mixed seafood salad with spicy lime and tamarind sauce) and a Tom Ka Goong (spicy prawn soup with coconut milk).
The Yum Talay was composed of mussels, chunks of white fish, squid, scallops, prawns, sliced cherry tomatoes and spring onions. It had delicious salty seafood flavours that contrasted well with the refreshing acidity of the lime and heat of the chilli.
The prawn soup was cleansing and also refreshing. Lots of flavours in this soup took me back to Thailand.
For our mains, we decided to go for two dishes from the grill section. Firstly, we had the Pla Pow Lui Meung (char-grilled swordfish steak with a garlic chilli crust, on a bed of wok fried green and cream sauce).
The sauce had a balance of creamy, sweet and savoury attributes. The meat was also creamy and very soft. The combined components of the dish gave an incredible explosion of unusual, yet stunning flavours. There was a distinct warmth of chilli and the crunch of the pak choi contrasted well with the soft texture of the fish.
The second main we shared was the Gai Yang (roasted corn fed poussin marinated in coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric and kaffir lime leaf).
The sauce that accompanied the poussin had similar flavours to the Yum Talay. The poussin was juicy and tender and had great flavours but was not as exciting as the swordfish. My personal preferences lie in wetter dishes, but that is just me, not everyone.
After we stuffed every last speck of food into our drooling mouths we were given some warm wet towels to clean our hands (and mouth!) with.
As always, it was inevitable that I couldn't make a decision on one single dessert. There was a sharer platter, so of course, no question.
Going clockwise starting from the cheesecake of the left...
The Cake Ma-now (lime and lychee flavoured cheesecake with lychee jelly) had invigorating flavours, yet the texture was revolting. No one should ever make a cheesecake with gelatine. They should always be made with eggs and baked to give a softer texture. The base was quite plain, which is fair enough as the flavours in the cheese were so bright, but it was also too soft. A crunch was definitely needed, and even more so with the gelatine body. The lychee jelly didn't go down too smoothly either. It tasted quite watery, but perhaps it just may not be for me.
The pistachio ice cream was rich and smooth. Each spoonful filled your nose with fragrant pistachio notes. This was probably my favourite dessert of the five.
The Guay Ob Ma prow Sod (layered caramelised banana and coconut pudding with caramel sauce) tasted almost of pure cooked banana, with a slightly cakey texture. The layers of banana were still firm, so your teeth were able to sink into the pudding. I didn't taste much coconut, though.
The Cake Ta-krai (chocolate brownie) was a little too dry on the outside, but the centre was slightly moist, being more acceptable. The sauce on top helped as it was quite rich.
The Kow Niew Mamuang (honey mango served with coconut milk and sticky rice) was sweet, creamy and delicious.
Finally, a complementary chocolate to complete yet another exquisite meal at Mango Tree. I hope to see again you soon!