A Taste Of Thailand In Mango Tree London
Thailand conjures an image of golden temples, bustling markets, idyllic islands,
epicurean delights and er…ladyboys. If you can’t get to Thailand, Thailand will come to you in Mango Tree, an upscale restaurant in prestigious Belgravia just behind the garden of Buckingham Palace. It is the standard bearer of haute cuisine of “The Land of Smiles”.
There was a time when Thai cuisine was eclipsed by Indian food, the nation’s favourite nosh and there were more Indian restaurants than any other restaurants in Britain. But the tables are turned now with more and more British travelling to far-flung places especially to affordable Thailand. Their tastes for foreign fare have widened and they have become more adventurous in their palate.
Thai cuisine is now the new Indian as a plethora of Thai restaurants have opened everywhere in London. They are mostly café style or run-of-the-mill Thai eateries. But Mango Tree has elevated Thai cuisine and its popular street food to a new height of sophistication. Since its opening as a London branch of its sister restaurant in Bangkok sixteen years ago, it has enjoyed great success and popularity attracting an upscale clientele.
The restaurant is a lovely vision of space and elegance with its long dining hall and huge picture windows accented by large vases of fresh flowers with subtle Thai aesthetics. A Buddha clad in mirror mosaics stands sentinel at the entrance.
The funky bar makes the best cocktails using exotic fruits, herbs, lemon grass, mint and even chillies in addition to the great selection of wine.
Mango Tree – Art On A Plate
Mango Tree is celebrated for its exquisite authentic Thai cuisine that is visually and orally pleasing with every dish beautifully presented as art on a plate. The extensive contemporary menu is creative without losing its epicurean heritage from the four culinary regions of Thailand – “rich and mild from the north; spicy food from the east; mild dishes influenced by the Chinese cooking style from the central region and hot and spicy from the south”.
The basis of Thai cuisine is the subtle blend of fresh herbs notably mint, lemon grass, Thai sweet basil, coriander and chillies with lashings of fish sauce enhanced with smoky palm sugar to create a fresh and vibrant taste. They are packed with flavours of fragrant lemon grass romancing sweet basil spiced up by hints of chillies. It is culinary marriage made in heaven.
At Mango Tree, popular Thai staples such as red and green curries, Pad Thai and other noodles, seafood and meat dishes are prepared with passion for authentic taste and presented with artistry and style that only the Thai would know how.
The Ladyboys Are Back In Town
Mango Tree may be a fine dining restaurant but it is far from being stuffy and formal. In fact, it is the party central to many occasions such as Songkran the Thai New Year and the much celebrated transgender beauty contest every year.
When Mango Tree decided to throw a party, it was carnival time with cocktails and champagne on tap and DJ spinning the decks all night. We had a high-octane fiesta in this year’s event when a bevy of gorgeous Ladyboys descended on London for the annual beauty pageant. The transgender beauties had more make-up than most women put together. Sequins, high heels, big hair and ultra glam attire of evening gowns and swimwear were the order of the day.
The restaurant was packed with audience for the highly anticipated event of the year when transgenders were given the same right as female beauty contest to celebrate their sexual orientation in a beauty parade. The “Queen” of the night was crowned after a parade of gloriously camp but stunning Ladyboys. I will never look at a beauty pageant in the same light again. Proceeds from the event were donated to a Thai charity.
Eddie Lim, the owner said with pride, “We are proud to win so many awards especially when we were voted London restaurant of the year in 2003 beating major names like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver in all categories not just oriental category. We have also won the prestigious award of Tattler Test of Time Restaurant.” Celebrities and well-known personalities are among Mango Tree’s regular patrons. It is a favourite haunt for the glitterati and the well-heeled in London attracted by the sumptuously delicious food, great atmosphere and a sleek and excellent service. It has well and truly presented Thailand on a plate.
Mango Tree is at 46 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X 7EQ www.mangotree.org.uk