I was invited to lunch at the Mango Tree London in Belgravia, on the corner of Grosvenor Place (behind Buckingham Palace) It is easy to get to, being close to Victoria Station and down from Hyde Park Corner. The Mango Tree also have restaurants in Bangkok and Doha, as well as in the Food Hall of Harrods, you you can already appreciate the level of food quality they must have.
We were shown to out table by a smartly dressed Thai waitress, the tables nicely spaced apart, and well presented.
The Mango Tree prides itself on traditional Thai food, but they also mean traditional Thai cooking. That means experimenting with tastes and flavours, colours and presentation, to keep the menu options true to Thai values and always changing depending on the season and sources of fresh food available.
This inventiveness is also apparent in the Mango Tree Cocktail Bar, where the barstaff regularly make up different drink mixes to see what works and is new.
The menu is in three sections:
the Banquet Menu, for large groups or set meal choices, ideal for the quick and affordable business lunch
the a la carte menu where you can choose from a wide list of mouthwatering authentic Thai cuisines
the Ian Pengelley selection, comprising special dishes personally selected crafted by the Mango Tree London’s renowned chef
Whilst looking through the menu we nibbled of some really tasty complementary Thai prawn crackers, and chose one of the best bottles of wine I have had all year from a very impressive and affordable wine list. I chose the Magrez Tivoli Médoc, a really superb wine that went would go well with the range of Thai food on offer.
For starters my Date ordered Hoy Shell grilled scallops in a spicy Thai sauce, served in theirs shells. they were perfect, with rich sticky sauce covering very tender scallops. I ordered the Yum Nuer; medium grilled sirloin beef slices, served with cherry tomatoes and a lime and chili dressing. Very well presented on the plate, the beef was succulent without any chewy texture or fat, the chili and lime sauce spicy but not hot. This is exactly what I want from a Thai starter – something that builds you up to a spicy main dish, and this did that well.
My Date, having decided that the scallops were her dream, followed it up with a main of “Goong Pow”, which is fresh giant king prawns grilled with garlic and served with green salad and spicy lime sauce. They looked divine and simple fell from their shells. They were definitely a meal in themselves.
It was hard for me to decide my main, given the range of dishes in meat and fish available (as well as vegetarian) In the end I decided to go for the “Goong Mung Korn”; Canadian lobster cooked in ginger and spring onion sauce, then cut and presented in tempura glaze. Other sauces can be had if you wanted. The Lobster arrived, cut into eights, each piece lightly battered, and sitting on a bed of freshly cooked vegetables. The lobster meat could be pulled easily from the shell using just a fork, and the mix of the meat, glaze and ginger sauce really brought out the subtle flavour. The Mango Tree have a number of different lobster dishes on the menu – if they are all of this quality then all will excite, and are sure to expose the real taste of lobster better than anywhere else.
We took a small portion of Jasmin Rice to go with the mains, but they were sufficiently tasty and filling that you would not need to order any other side dishes.
Still having just a little room left for dessert, I decided to round the meal off with a Thai Mango Crème Brûlée or “sang ka ya mamuang” as it is called. This was a very wide flat bowl with a Crème Brûlée body and small chunks of mango blended in. It was unusual in it having mango and not vanilla, but this reminds you not to have preconceived ideas about dishes. It was smooth and not heavy, wrapping up a superb meal. Apparently the pistachio biscotti were very nice – they were grabbed by my partner and nibbled with her coffee.
Whilst we were there, there was a steady coming and going of lunchtime diners, but it was never crowded and the seating was well spaced. Some came in for their hours break with colleagues, others, including mothers (without children) and shoppers came in for a leisurely lunch and chat over a bottle of wine.
The Mango Tree Thai restaurant is a superb place to stop by for lunch or dinner. With 2 course lunches at £15 and 3 courses for under £25 it is superb value too.
46 Grosvenor Place
020 7823 1888
Note: You can also hire out the Cocktail bar and restaurant areas for private functions, either in part or completely, so this is an extremely affordable venue to entertain at, that punches well above its cost.