My first job after leaving university (nearly 10 years ago!) was selling delegate places to financial events. Oh the glamour. Our office was in a old tower block in the heart of Victoria. Cardinal Place was just being finished and the area looked nothing like it does today. The Nova complex has transformed the area. When I worked here, there was literally nowhere good to eat. Except for Mango Tree, just moments away in Belgravia.
I remember for birthday team lunches on a Friday we would sometimes come to Mango Tree. This was before I knew anything about Thai food and so I would always order a Thai green curry. Since then I have tried so many more Thai dishes and spent a few weeks traveling around Thailand last year. The food was one of the best parts of the trip; so much flavour and so much vibrance in the food.
So when I was recently invited to come in and review the restaurant I happily accepted the invitation. I couldn’t wait to see how much it had changed and what the food would be like. As I walked the few minutes from the tube station I went past my old office and memories came flooding back. It felt like a whole other lifetime ago!
Mango Tree is situated on a rather busy and ugly looking road and honestly, it doesn’t look like much from the outside. But as soon as you step inside you are given a warm welcome and calm falls over you. It’s a big space: there is a large bar area with cosy seating before you wander round into the large, open restaurant.
Modern Thai food bursting with flavour
Mango Tree is not like the Thai food I ate from stalls at bustling night markets, no, this is a luxury restaurant serving serving modern Thai food. And there is definitely a place for both!
We started the meal with two fruity cocktails from their extensive cocktail menu: mine champagne and his a little elderflower and gin number. Whilst sipping on our cocktails we started to browse the massive menu, trying to decided what we should order.
The menu ranges from starters to soups, salads, dim sum, stir fry, noodles, curries and the grill. There is a lot to choose from!
We began with a selection of starters including soft-shell crab tempura, barbecued pork and grilled king scallops.
The pork was lovely and sticky served with sliced cucumber and a wonderful tangy and spicy nam jim jaew sauce. The coolness and texture of the cucumber really made the dish for me. The biggest disappointment of the meal for me was the soft-shell crab tempura. I loved the Thai mango salad and citrus soy sauce that accompanied the crab, but the crab was a little dry and over-cooked.
Our favourite dish of the whole meal was the scallops with a spicy Thai garlic sauce. If you go to Mango Tree you have to order them! They were cooked to perfection (which is often not the case) and that spicy sauce is insane.
Next arrived 6 steaming little parcels from their special dim sum menu. We ordered the selection and I wish I could remember what was in each of them, but I can’t! Very bad I know, but they were delicious thats for sure. Our favourites were the truffle and prawn dumplings. We definitely didn’t need to add these to our order, but I’m very glad we did.
When we arrived I asked what their signature dish was: I always like to know which dish a restaurant thinks is their best. Our lovely waitress said the duck red Thai curry. I absolutely love a red curry and it comes served in a pineapple, so I was sold.
The rich duck red curry is a rather fruity affair with grapes, pineapple and cherry tomatoes. The curry was bursting with flavour and although it may not be traditional I did enjoy the pineapple. I wasn’t such a fan of the tomatoes or grapes, though that wasn’t really a problem and I just spooned the duck and delicious gravy out over my sticky rice until it was all gone!
The waitress also recommended we order the Pad ka pow. The stir fried minced chicken is served with fresh chilli, garlic and holy basil. It’s spicy and deep in flavour and you’ll keep wanting to go back for more.
Yes, we were stuffed by this point. But even after a big meal I like to end on something sweet. Mango Tree have great selection of refreshing sorbets on offer. We chose the juicy pineapple and basil and the crisp green apple. A great sweet treat to end our meal.
I really enjoyed the food at Mango Tree and the staff are very welcoming. The food is full of interesting flavours and the portions are big too. But it is expensive and there is a slight business feel here – I assume both are due to the restaurant’s location. If you can afford the price tag (our meal came to about £150) and you are looking for modern luxury Thai dining then you will love Mango Tree.
Feeling full and slightly tipsy from that second glass of wine we headed off into the glorious sunshine to walk off the delicious food. We ended up wandering through St James’ Park, across the Thames and to Waterloo. It’s a lovely walk if you’re in the area!
46 Grosvenor Pl
*I was a guest of Mango Tree, but as always views remain my own.
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