46 Grosvenor Place
Tel: 020 7823 1888
With its polished concrete floors and luxurious tan leather banquettes this award winning Thai restaurant is firmly of the modern variety. It’s a groovy swinging kind of place even mid week. My dining companion L had not been before but I had, so was able to show her the ropes.
We met in the bar at the front of the restaurant, which has the feeling of a nightclub just about to turn the lights down and music up. Thankfully you can hear yourself think and a chat over a cocktail or two was just the thing after a days work. L was impressed that as we were shown to our table the drinks were carried separately. It’s a good sign that the staff all have earpieces and are coordinated by some mysterious being telling them exactly when to do everything. It’s a busy place and it works with a swish.
L is a vegetarian but that’s no problem for Thai food and Mango Tree is no exception. The menu is large so we took time to cover it all. The soups were tempting especially as the weather outside was decidedly autumnal. L chose spring rolls from the extensive vegetarian menu added to the end of the main. These were crispy with pastry that had so much crispiness they were in danger of flying into a thousand pieces when pierced with a fork. They tasted good when in the mouth. I had yum muer; thin slices of pink sirloin beef served with cherry tomatoes and a lime and chilli dressing. This just sang in my mouth. They are not afraid of spice here and this tasted strong and sharp.
Next up for me was gai yang, a roasted corn-fed poussin marinated in coconut milk and a plethora of Thai herbs and spices and a little papaya salad on the side. Poussin is unusual to find in an Oriental restaurant and it’s worth trying, giving just a bit more bang for your buck than chicken.
L enjoyed her plate of mix fried vegetables or pad pak ruam mitr which held together sugar snaps, broccoli, carrots and baby corn with soy sauce. Don’t worry if you can’t get your tongue around the names as everything is numbered and the staff are so polite they display a knowing patience when listening to your order!
The Mango tree is a cool place just to hang out. We watched families, couples and birthdays being celebrated. It has that ability to be a place where something special can happen as well as a great restaurant. Its proximity to Buckingham Palace lends an air of exclusivity.
Desserts are a little more adventurous here than at most Thai restaurants. We decided to share a selection for two that had variety as well as being a sweet end to a spicy meal. The mango and sticky rice will appeal to some with its sweet fruit and the chocolate ticked the right box for L – she devoured it claiming it is her given right to have first refusal on all things chocolate. The banana and coconut pudding with superb caramel sauce was the winner for me. To be honest the portions are large and this platter would have done for four people.
So our night was at an end and it felt good to have introduced L to Mango Tree. I think it just may have found a new disciple in L as she was talking all the way to the station about what cool place it was. They had added a few new dishes since my last visit and this is what a good restaurant should be doing, keeping the favourites and experimenting with new ideas and tastes. But the one thing that Mango Tree is consistent about is authenticity. Don’t change that Mango Tree please, I’ll be checking to make sure as I don’t think I can keep away for too long either.