Mango Tree (Thai) – Belgravia, LondonHALAL STATUS Halal chicken, lamb & beef • Prepped & cooked separately • Alcohol served
The last time we visited Mango Tree in Belgravia back in December 2016, we were left impressed enough to rate it 4.5/5 ROARS.
As a fine dining Thai establishment, the class that it exuded, with its huge, exquisitely decked out dining hall area that accommodates for 160, is just as striking now as it was the first time we visited.
Since then, there have been a number of dishes that have been introduced to the menu, which we’ve indicated below.
As usual, we bring you a comprehensive review of one of the best Halal-friendly Thai restaurants in London.
The question is: have they maintained those high standards a year and a half later?
The Aloe Cooler is one beverage that’s only recently been introduced to the menu. A light, palate-cleansing drink, which, while being fairly subtle, had the lasting aroma of the aloe coming through, was nicely balanced, and had long shreds of cucumber therein which, when nibbled on, provided a refreshing contrast.
We were happy to find that the Virgin Mojito still delivered on that tangy, eye-squinting, introductory kick we fell for the first time round. What makes this version different from most others is the use of shredded mint, which managed to provide a delicious textural contrast while effortlessly marrying against the citrusy lime therein. Our only quibble was with the ratio of ice, which resulted in short-lived enjoyment. Nonetheless, one of the better Virgin Mojitos we’ve had.
While the Virgin Colada was fairly thick, it wasn’t quite as well balanced as we remember. Having said that, while one Lion considered it a “gorgeous concoction”, the others thought it to be a sweet and creamy, and perhaps lacking in enough pineapple. We were all agreed, however, that the tiny bits of coconut flesh gave the drink some surprising texture.
Presented in a traditional bamboo steamer were an assortment of five attractively made and appetising dumplings in this Dim Sum Platter.
Arguably the most satisfying in terms of taste, was the Mixed Seafood & Baby Spinach dumpling which, in spite of its daintiness, managed to pack enough of the flavour of the sea, with the freshness of the lime leaf lingering in the background, to impress all three of us.
Although the fishy taste of the lobster was certainly there, the soft textured Lobster & Coriander dumpling, revolving as it did around subtlety, was very nice.
The Chilean Sea Bass & Prawn version was interesting in the way in which the delicately salted seabass played against the softly textured prawn therein.
The Prawn dumpling had the most texture though, with the cucumber providing some fresh crunchiness, and the roe pleasantly popping about as expected.
But it was the Vegetarian dumpling that turned out to be the most deceptive. Following the initial mellow hit of the wasabi, there wasn’t much else thereafter.
Nevertheless, a fantastic selection that we’d recommend.
Wow wow wee! Not sure how they managed to execute this dish so well. Whatever the case, it was absolutely fantastic, and the best of the starters for sure.
While the subtle aroma of the ginger and soy sauce was appetising, it was the texture in this Pla Muk Tod Ta Krai that had us sold.
With a familiar springiness so indicative of a perfectly cooked squid, this cephalopod was encased in an airy almost Rice Krispies like batter which, courtesy of the sticky soy sauce glaze, had taken on an addictively chewy texture that helped in prolonging the experience of sheer enjoyment.
This wasn’t only about the textures though, because taste-wise, this was superb, with the subtle tones of the lemongrass, ginger, and coriander combining with everything else to deliver a sweet overtone offset by a touch of the sour.
With 10 pieces at £8.50, this is the starter to get!
BAKED, GRILLED & DEEP FRIED
When you have meat that’s been this well seasoned and tastes this good, it’s simply criminal to present fat that’s not crisped up as it should be.
Otherwise, this was presented with a really delicious sauce, that was watery in consistency, subtly sweet, with decent heat to it, and with plenty of crunchy onions.
Peculiarly, however, the “assorted mushrooms” were missing! Instead, there was an attractive line of chilli powder and some sea salt on the side which, if we’re honest, didn’t really bring much to the plate.
Unlike its neighbour, the lamb, this poussin was perfectly executed. As soft and as tender as you’d like, these wings were marinated in what tasted like a peanut butter marination, with gentle heat to it that lingered pleasantly on the palate.
Equally impressive too was the salad accompaniment made up of carrots, papaya, and lightly pickled baby tomatoes that acted as a sort of palette cleanser.
Whats more, the crunchy sweetness and evident heat of the signature chilli sauce went well as an accompaniment.
In fact, dare we say, this has to be the best red curry we’ve had in a long time.
Its secret? The perfect balance achieved between the sweetness of the fruit and the gentle heat of the red and green chillis, with a subtle touch of the sour running through the background, was sublime.
But it was also the little bits and pieces added to the curry sauce, which included grapes and pieces of lychee, that combined to go so well with the fatty pieces of perfectly cooked rich, meaty duck.
And once you’ve finished, you’re left with the delightful task of scraping out and enjoying the soft pineapple flesh at the bottom.
This was a well executed dish, with tender strips of chewy sirloin beef, cubes of red, green and yellow peppers, and a good amount of beefy sauce that had the heat of the pepper coming through well enough.
This would have been perfect with some rice; but, on its own, this was sayisfying without being anything out of the ordinary.
This Kow Pad Pu was the poorest dish of the evening!
Not much happening other than the sticky nature of the rice, pieces of asparagus, thinly sliced spring onions, that didn’t bring much of anything, and egg.
Yes, there was crab somewhere in there. However, the whole thing was so bland, that the only way of knowing there was any crab was the familiar aroma we managed to pick up when… wait for it, breathing out (that’s right!).
While a pleasant toffee-like subtlety defined the overall flavour of this pale looking Thai tea sponge cake, it was its ultra-soft and light creamy texture that we found so satisfying.
With whipped cream on top, this would be a really good dessert after a heavy meal.
Arguably the most ambitious of the desserts had, this pudding revolved around the humble banana.
Of all the elements making up this dish, it was the peculiar texture of the two slices of pudding, what with their almost gelatinous like texture coupled with a crispy edge, that we found most intriguing.
And while this did take a bit of getting used to, the banana therein wasn’t overly sweet, bordering instead on the very subtle, and went well with the equally lightly flavoured banana ice cream, which was smooth and surrounded by an inconsequential crumble. We did enjoy the intensely flavoured fruit droplets though.
A good dessert without being anything spectacular.
This sticky rice pudding, and it certainly was sticky, split the crowd. While one Lion enjoyed its simplicity and clean flavours, especially with the mellow coconut milk poured all over, the other two weren’t quite as convinced, with one adjudging it as being a little too simple, and the other considering it good without being anything special.
In any case, we were all agreed that had the soft layers of diced mango been on the sweeter side, the dish would have been received far more readily than it was. As for the pretty Aztec lines of mango sauce, then this was more for aesthetic purposes than anything else.
A Crème Brulee whose flavours didn’t come through as distinctly as we might have expected, but one which was really well executed. Not only did it have that crispy caramelised top, but the smooth textured custard below was gorgeous.
Add to that the deliciously crunchy-cum-nutty pistachio biscotti accompaniment, and this was a good Crème Brulee, though one which could have been better had the white chocolate been stronger in flavour and the pandan – Southeast Asia’s equivalence to vanilla – more obvious.
That blissfully soothing fragrance of jasmine was just as captivating as we remembered.
And given its sheer quality, as well as the quantity served, this should be a no brainer at £4.95.
An excellent end to a memorable evening.
- YES/ YES
- CHILD SEATING
While there were one or two dishes that weren't quite as well done as they could have been, the quality and execution of the others were really well done.
Having said all that though, and on balance, Mango Tree remains one of London's top Halal-friendly Thai restaurants.
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