I love JK Rowling, the Harry Potter series is damn near perfect and the Cormoron Strike series introduced me to crime fiction in the best possible way. She’s a fantastic author, no one can doubt that but did you also know she had great taste in restaurants? No, me neither but apparently she does as she lavishes praise upon the Mango Tree, where I dined last week, by including it in passing in The Silkworm.
‘They do reasonably good food,’ said Matthew. ‘Thai. It’s not the Mango Tree, but it’s all right.’ Strike smiled without warmth. He had expected Matthew to be like this: name-dropping restaurants in Belgravia to prove, after a single year in London that he was a seasoned metropolitan.
Arriving 15 minutes early we were seated at the bar and given the extensive cocktail list to choose from with a fantastic range of mocktails too which was pleasing to see! I’d rather have a mocktail over a coke any day!
Forget Michelin star restaurants, I think this is the best meal I’ve had since moving to London and that’s saying something. Unable to decide on what we wanted to try (everything please!) we took the easy option and went for the Taste of Siam menu. Four courses of their most popular dishes served with a complimentary glass of champagne – we knew we were on to a winner.
The first course consisted of three different starters and we were expecting them to come in sharing dishes so were surprised when we were actually presented with our own little platters each. Not having to worry about being too greedy about one particular dish over another like I would be when sharing food was great!
We had fresh steamed king prawns with tom yum sauce, poached king scallops in spicy lime & chilli and soft-shell crab tempura with mango salad with a chilli & lime dressing.
Each of the dishes came with a heat warning and while the prawns were deliciously juicy they didn’t have the same kick that the scallops did with the same two out of three chillies. That’s not to say that they weren’t good, they were perfectly fine.
The plump little scallops had much more of a fire to them which was delicately balanced with the strong hint of lime.
The real winner of round one however, was the crab tempura. The light and crisp batter allowing the flavour of the crab to shine through. Combined with the mango salad it was utter perfection and the small bowl was all but licked clean! I’d definitely order this again.
The second course was a deliciously light Thai coconut milk soup with prawns. Now I’m not usually one for creamy soups but this was lovely. I think I always expect something creamy to be heavy but this was the complete opposite.
Perhaps the standout dish for me though was the chicken satay of which we got two skewers each. Although I could quite happily have eaten a dozen of them so long as they provided me with the best peanut sauce I have ever eaten. My mouth is salivating just remembering how good it was.
Instead of more satay though it was time for the mains and as part of the set menu you get a choice of three; beef, prawn or Chilean seabass. Not wanting to get the same dishes Jen opted for the sirloin beef which came served on a bed of spinach and aubergines and accompanied by quail eggs, my favourite vegetable asparagus and of course Thai jasmine rice.
I on the other hand wasn’t quite prawned out and opted for the giant prawn with choo chee sauce. Now when they say giant, they mean GIANT! Look at the size of this bad boy:
Yes, that is a single giant prawn. It was as ridiculous as it was delicious. It came served with a perfect pyramid of sticky jasmine and a red curry sauce that wasn’t overpoweringly spicy.
Dessert – honey mango with sticky rice and coconut milk served with vanilla pandan leaves ice cream – was probably my least favourite dish of the evening and almost not necessary after the delights of the previous three courses.
The mango was perfectly ripe which I find to be quite difficult to achieve (they’re like avocados in that you have a very small window between them being too hard to them being just mush) but I found the fact that the rice was warm to be a tad odd for my senses.
Now I have no idea what pandan leaves are but I’m guessing that’s what contributed to the bright green colour and I can tell you now they make a fantastic ice cream. A couple more scoops of this would make a much better end to the set menu in my opinion.
The set menu costs £62 per person which while not something you would spend every week on a meal out is great value for money given all the food that you get included and that it comes with a glass of champagne. You can also of course choose from their a la carte menu which is what I will do when I return now that I know what some of the dishes are like.
46 Grosvenor Place