Mango Tree Belgravia
46 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 7EQ
020 7823 1888/www.mangotree.org.uk/
La Hedonista and I visited the Thai restaurant Mango Tree in Belgravia on a cold and snowy February day hoping for authentic flavours and some chilli heat to warm us up. She grew up in Thailand as an American expat and on entering the room commented on how the restaurant felt like the kind of place you might find in a top end Bangkok hotel. This is not meant as a criticism as the best food is to be found either in the hotels or at the opposite end of the spectrum on the streets at the vendor stalls.The original Mango Tree is in Bangkok and there is another outlet to be found in Harrods. The executive chef is an Australian called Ian Pengelly who specialises in pan-Asian food and whose C.V. includes E&O and Gilgamesh.
There was the smell of jasmine in the air and the sound of Miles Davis playing on the sound system as we ordered drinks. The cocktail list was very tropical-80s retro with Piña Coladas, Mai Tais and Sex on the Beach on the menu.
A Bangkok Fizz (£8.50) was refreshing with coconut, cranberry and lime flavours. If you are in the mood for a tropical Champagne cocktail try The Mango Tree Fizz (£9.50) with Amaretto and fresh mango juice. With our drinks we wolfed down freshly made prawn crackers.
The menu has an Ian Pengelly selection as well as the regular a la carte and vegetarian menu. Being greedy types we chose three dishes for our starters.
First out was the Seafood Satay (£9.95), a mix of skewered barbequed fish and seafood, succulent and beautifully cooked with a rich and spicy peanut sauce.
Tom ka goong (£8.25) was a coconut milk soup with king prawns, Shimeji mushrooms and galangal. This dish was beautifully presented, creamier than you might find in Thailand but still delicious.
There was a deftness of touch on display with the Soft shell crab tempura (£9.50). It had a light batter that didn’t mask the crab flavour and came with a sweet chilli sauce and a zingy green papaya and shallot salad.
Pla Pow Sea bass
After three starters we didn’t want anything too heavy for our mains. Pla Pow Sea bass (£19.95) was lightly steamed in a banana skin with lemongrass. This is one of my favourite ways to eat sea bass with the lemongrass infusing the fish with its flavour.
Goong Pow Prawns with lime sauce (£26.50) were very tasty with the seared prawns flavoured with chilli, lemongrass and lime juice. Matching Asian food with wines is not straightforward and our choices, a Riesling, Dopff au Moulin, Alsace 2011 (£12.75 250 ml) and a Pinot Grigio, Bellussi Valdobbiadene, Italy 2010 stood up pretty well.
For sides we ordered authentic tasting Sticky rice (£3.90) and Parcels of Chinese kale,broccoli and asparagus in a garlic oyster sauce (£6.50) which were crisp and not masked by the sauce.
One of the joys of visiting Thailand is the quality of the fruit and especially the mango which has a flavour of its own.
So it was a real treat to eat Fresh Thai mango- rich in flavour and very juicy. The Mango creme brûlée with pistachio biscotti was suitably creamy with the bitterness of the burnt sugar offset by the sweetness of the fruit. The biscotti were a nice touch.
Mango Tree offers a real flavour of contemporary Bangkok with service from the Thai staff that is charming, efficient and friendly. The food is excellent and well presented providing a contemporary twist to classic dishes. The room can get busy in the evenings so if you prefer a quieter less buzzy atmosphere lunchtimes may be a better bet.
The Hedonist was a guest of Mango Tree.