Last week, while in London for Adele’s concert, I had the pleasure to enjoy lunch at Mango Tree, a stylish Thai restaurant in the heart of Belgravia, minutes away from Victoria train station. I have passed by many times while walking towards Hyde Park and I have always peeked in, through the large windows, out of curiosity. Did you know that even JK Rowling has mentioned Mango Tree in her novel, The Silkworm?
As soon as we stepped into the restaurant we were greeted and asked if we wanted a drink before the meal. The restaurant is divided into the bar area, where you can enjoy a large selection of cocktails, and the main dining room, beautifully decorated in white and grey, with brown leather chairs, low lamps coming down out of the ceiling and large fresh flowers vases on the window sills.
We decided to go straight for the food so we were shown to our table, next to a window. Our waiter brought the menus immediately after we sat down and before we decided on what to eat, we were brought a bowl of prawn crackers. We thought to accompany them with a Thai beer, which was very refreshing.
If we could we would have probably ordered the entire menu, everything sounded so delicious and it was a very hard decision to choose only as much as we can eat. In the end we decided to try something from each section of the menu.
For starters we ordered the Mango Tree Seafood platter, a selection of signature seafood appetisers which included fresh king prawns in tom yum sauce, prawn satay, soft-shell crab tempura, grilled scallop with garlic butter sauce and a Thai mango salad to clean the palette.
I love prawns and I have eaten them in many different dishes but I have never tasted anything so good before. In the first dish, the prawns were perfectly grilled and I could taste the gentle smoky flavour combining with the marinade. Dipped into the crunchy but creamy satay sauce made it easily my favourite plate on the table.
The fresh king prawns steamed in tom yum sauce came on a bed of lettuce and tasted delicious. They were both sour and a little bit spicy in the same time. I tasted an amalgam of herbs out of which I recognised the lemongrass.
The tempura crab was very good as well, crispy with a non-oily batter and a soft middle. It went really well with the citrusy sauce and the kick of the mango salad.
Another highlight of the starters was the grilled scallops served with garlic butter. This simple dish was cooked to perfection (I know how easy it is to over or under cook scallops) and presented in such a visual delightful way – on the shell. The garlic butter complimented the flavour of the scallop so well, giving it a slight spiciness but maintaining its unique sweetness.
We couldn’t have passed to the mains before trying the dim sum as well so we chose to try the platter: mixed seafood and baby spinach dumpling, Chilean sea bass dumpling with gold leaf, lobster and coriander dumpling, tom yum chicken siu long bao, and prawn dumpling with white truffle oil. What a treat this was! Each dumpling had its own unique and delicate flavour and I simply couldn’t choose a favourite. They were all delicious.
For the mains we went for the Gaeng Phed Ped Yang Pon Lai Mai, a roasted duck red curry with grapes, pineapple and cherry tomatoes accompanied by traditional Thai sticky rice, the Gae Yang Sa Mun Prai, grilled herb-marinated rack of lamb served with a north-eastern spicy sauce and the Neur Phad King, grilled sirloin beef stir-friend with onions, peppers, ginger, garlic and oyster sauce.
I love curries and I have tried many different varieties during my trips to Asia. I have developed my curry palette, if I can say so, and I know exactly how the perfect dish should taste to be to my liking. I could have never imaged thought that I would experience the best curry ever at a restaurant in London and not somewhere in Asia. First of all, the presentation of the curry was majestic, inside a pineapple bowl. I called it the pineapple of hidden treasures! I could recognise the curry taste in every mouthful but at the same time there was an extra flavour because of the variation of the ingredients: sweet, spicy, smooth.
The lamb was another journey of flavours. Chargrilled, with a smoky taste, salty and succulent, it was probably one of the best lamb dishes I have ever had in my life. The spicy sauce, onion based, had a nice lemony touch to it which complimented very well the slight saltiness of the lamb. I wouldn’t say the sauce was very spicy, it had just the right amount of chilli to make you notice the kick.
Compared to the first two mains, the beef stir fry was good but it didn’t leave such a memorable print on me. The meat was very tender and juicy, beautifully presented on a bed of stir fried vegetables.
For desert we had a selection of puddings: the three layered chocolate cake, the banana bread and the coffee cake, accompanied by fresh strawberries and a scoop of homemade ice cream. The chocolate cake was very rich and tasty, with a creamy texture that was rather light. The banana bread was served warm and it paired very well with the cold ice cream. I found its taste to be very close to the banana bread I used to eat for breakfast while traveling around Malaysia. The coffee cake was a very nice surprise because of the creamy filling of mascarpone cheese and white chocolate. It was like having coffee in the form of a cake.
I would definitely recommend you to visit Mango Tree if you are searching for an authentic Thai experience in London or even if you simply want to take a tasteful journey through of flavours of Thailand. I was surely impressed and I will definitely return for more of that delicious red duck curry.
You can find Mango Tree at 46 Grosvenor Pl, Belgravia, London SW1X 7EQ, a 2 minute walk from Victoria Train Station.
Disclaimer: Please note that I was invited to Mango Tree for a complimentary lunch, to review the restaurant. However, all the comments and opinions in the article are my own.