Nestled in Belgravia, just a stone throw away from Buckingham Palace sits Mango Tree, an award winning Thai restaurant, renowned for its authenticity. Here you will find dishes spanning all spectrums of the region, from classic concoctions to distinctive regional offerings; you’ll be invigorated with the interplay of exotic flavours, fragrances and aromas.
The spacious, sleek interior with plush red leather seating and wood panelled walls enhanced by the Feng Shui concept, offers a relaxing, fine-dining experience for an intimate dinner whilst also spacious enough to accommodate large groups.
Our meal began with a selection of starters. On the recommendation of our maitre d’hotel, we tried the “Soft-shell Crab Tempura”, which was light, airy, and subtly crunchy. The Thai mango salad was a sharp and cooling contrast against a marvellously non-greasy battered crab meat, whilst the sprinkling of chilli salt ignited the tempura to sheer gastronomic enjoyment.
The “Mixed Mango Tree Satay” consisted of 2 skewers of chicken satay, 1 beef satay and 1 seafood satay. The beef and chicken skewers were succulent, with the inherent charred flavour coming through. The accompanied peanut sauce projected a mild peanut flavour, whilst the Thai sweet vinegar sauce was outstandingly potent, sweet and sharp with an infusion of heat that tingled the tastebuds towards the end.
The “Tom Ka” soup arrived on the table releasing its sensual aromas. With its rustic burnt orange colour and droplets of chilli oil; the tom ka soup was creamy, sweet, sour and spicy all at the same time and the absolute epitome of Thai cooking at its best.
From the stir fry section we tried the “Talay Pad Cha”and “Pu Pad Pong Curry”.
The talay pad cha is a spicy wok-fried mixed seafood selection with fresh chilli, garlic, Thai herbs, peppercorn and kachai root. A multitude of flavours and textures from the individual seafood components were enlivened by the divinely glossy and aromatic broth; which was bold, mildly spicy with hints of ginger and a sprinkling of peppercorn and basil exerting additional flavour dimensions, which worked surprisingly well.
The “Pu Pad Pong Curry” consisting of stir-fried Alaskan king crab legs with double cream, egg, mild curry powder, celery, spring onion and fresh chilli, was an outstanding dish. From the very first bite we were instantly mesmerised. The double cream with egg and curry powder introduced a juicy texture to the overall dish whilst the curry flavour was subtle with a very slight hint of chilli coming through, which added depth rather than heat. The Alaskin king crab leg was generously meaty, perfectly cooked and melted effortlessly in the mouth, and the whole dish was a true testiment that mild does not have to be boring.
From the signature steamed, grilled and deep fried section we sampled the “grilled rack of lambs”and “grilled sirloin of beef”.
The grilled rack of lamb was wholesome and meaty and prepared well; juicy and perfectly charred, whilst presented on a bed of straw mushrooms and accompanied with a delicately balanced sweet and citrusy sauce. What elevated these chops to outstanding was the infusion of exotic Thai flavours, mainly lime which emanated through each bite, adding a citrusy tang against the natural meaty lamb flavour. We would highly recommend this dish.
The grilled sirloin of beef was accompanied with a Thai green curry sauce. A rather insightful and unique combination, which surprisingly worked. Whilst the Thai green curry sauce was milder than you would expect, it simply allowed the natural umami flavour of the beef to be enjoyed without being overpowered by the Thai green curry flavour. Although we enjoyed the dish, it failed to leave a lasting impression, somewhat sitting in the shadow of some of the other unexpected yet surprising hit dishes we had the pleasure of trying.
From the signature curries we tried the “Massaman Gae with Slow-Cooked Beef Ribs”. This was a visually colourful, vibrant dish. Massaman curry is intended to be mild and that it was. The peanut flavour was subtle and lightly prepared so to not overpower the meaty and meltingly tender beef rib, whilst the crushed nuts and crispy onion flakes scattered seeminly around the dish added a crunchy and nutty texture. The sauce was delightfully creamy and although it is intended to be a mild dish, we would have preferred a stronger hint of the peanut flavour.
No meal in a Thai restaurant would be complete without trying the ubiquitous Pad Thai and so our final dish in our royal Thai odyssey was fittingly the “Royal Pad Thai” consisting of Thai rice noodles stir-fried with lobster and tempura Alaskan king crab and topped with the intact lobster shell and Mango Tree’s signature egg nest. Visually this dish screamed panache, and taste wise it delivered the inherent Pad Thai flavour with an ingenious royal twist. Both the lobster and kind crab, although coated in a tempura batter, retained its juiciness whilst the batter was light and non-greasy. The golden king crab pieces were meaty and seasoned in a sweet chilli glaze adding an additional taste dimension.
For dessert we tried the “Chocolate Sphere”, the Green Tea Fondant and one of the sharing platters.
The dessert platter contained crème brulee, chocolate cake and layered caramelised banana and coconut pudding with caramel sauce and banana ice cream. Unfortunately crème brulee is one of those desserts which you either like or you don’t and unfortunately the latter is true for us. However, we could appreciate that it was a well prepared crème brulee with a thick glossy caramelised topping that achieved “that crack” and a creamy centre. The chocolate cake with a crushed oreo biscuit base was decadent, chocolatey, indulgent yet not sickly. The layered caramelised banana and coconut pudding with caramel sauce and banana ice cream was not quite to our tastebuds and its texture just did not sit well with us. On this occasion, the individual cakes stole the limelight.
The “cake cho co late” was a dark chocolate fondant served with vanilla-pandan ice cream. You know you are in for a treat when the smell of freshly baked sponge fills the the air around you. A perfectly cooked, moist, soft and slightly gooey sponge revealed an oozing and vibrantly green liquid centre. Having tried green tea desserts elsewhere and having not enjoyed it before, Mango Tree’s green tea chocolate centre was mild and so good that it has completely changed our opinion on green tea flavour. This is a must order dessert.
Last but by no means least was the phenomenal chocolate sphere which goes down as one of our favorite desserts. Warm, sweet caramel sauce drizzled over a cholate sphere on a bed of luscious white chocolate shavings, revealing a vanilla pandan ice cream core and scatters of fresh fruit. A truly decadent and gob smackingly delicious dessert that one’s visit to Mango Tree would not be complete without trying.
Mango Tree embraces all that is loved in Thai food, harmoniously layering the hot, sour, sweet and salty flavours in a seemingly inexhaustible combination whilst not substituting its authenticity. For a fine-dining establishment using high quality, imported ingredients in the heart of Belgravia, the prices are reasonable whilst the portions are generous. Often you have to substitute one for the other. Moreover, when you stumble across an establishment that has mastered both savoury and sweet delights equally, you know you are in for a treat. The desserts at Mango Tree were exceptionally phenomenal and worth the extra calorie intake.
Mango Tree has a flare for flamboyantly attractive, bold and colourful dishes that are at the same time humble and understated. Whether you are looking to celebrate a special occasion or not, your first encounter to Mango Tree will not be your last.
Disclaimer: All meat is halal except Duck. We were invited to review Mango Tree.