Once upon a long time ago, a boy was trying to impress a girl and he took her to Mango Tree for one of their earliest dates, almost 8 years ago now. Although the girl was new to London and its foodie scene, she’d heard of Mango Tree, but perhaps since it was the beginnings of falling in lurrrve, she couldn’t remember her meal there and now, 8 years later, she was very excited to be going back! Unfortunately this time, my now husband couldn’t make it, but I took one for the team and a friend & I set off to try it out.
It’s in a bit of an odd location, but nevertheless one that is really convenient to me as I work in Victoria and am a slave to the commute also from Victoria so a quick walk sees me settling into a stylishly dark interior, cool and inviting, although a bit quiet for a weekday lunch.y
I may not be able to recall what I ate, but I do remember tucking into a few cocktails so of course that was the first order of the day. Overly sweet cocktails are my pet peeve and so I was thrilled with my very refreshing ‘Mango Tree Paradise’, a cacophony of fruit juices amply cooled by a crushing of ice. My friend went for the Mango Tree Fizz, an appropriate take on the traditional bellini!
We’re stumped by what we should order and this is where we’re really grateful for the lovely staff, who take over and order for us! I’m glad they do because I would not have ordered half the things and that is where I would have gone wrong!
After a refreshing amuse bouche, we tuck into BBQ Pork, a dumpling sharing platter and soft shell crab for starters. I confess that the BBQ Pork isn’t quite to my taste, served up with cucumber and a sort of sweet/spicy sauce, it was just a little too chewy for my liking. But that’s where my complaints end and I can’t say a negative word about the Dumpling platter or the Soft shell crab which as per usual featured on my ordering list (I am nothing if not predictable!)
The dumplings are a mixed lot, seafood & spinach, prawn with white truffle oil and a lobster & coriander, Tom Yum chicken siu long bao and decadent Chilean sea bass dumpling, complete with a piece of gold leaf! They were all delicious and the staff sensibly suggested we eat these first to take advantage of the fact they were steaming hot, which makes sense!
The soft shell crab was light and crispy with a slightly spicy better and washed down with a mango sauce – I actually didn’t even end up dunking as the crab was so flavourful in its own right it didn’t need any more! We also shared a couple of scallops – one with a garlic sauce and one with a spicy sauce. The one with the spicy sauce was definitely my favourite, but if you are not chilli-inclined, then the garlic one was just as good!
Now it probably sounds strange to admit this in a review of a Thai restaurant, but I am not really a fan of the traditional Thai curry but luckily there was plenty to choose from! Not wanting to stretch our already distended bellies any further after all those starters, we tucked into giant grilled prawns with a spicy lime sauce and some soft as butter wagyu beef with another one of those spicy garlicky sauces that I’m beginning to see are the Mango Tree’s specialty.
Despite our constant refrains over how full we are, it’s quite telling that neither of us relinquish our cutlery and are constantly grabbing ‘just the one more bite’ until it’s all over and all that’s left is my spicy garlicky tastebuds tingling.
We’re talked into dessert as they assure us they’ll pick the light and refreshing options and they don’t disappoint. My favourite is the Pineapple & Sweet basil sorbet and it’s just the perfect amount of sweet and refreshing to cleanse the palate and put a little spring in my step. The vanilla pandan ice cream is a favourite of my friend and so we happily divide and conquer our ice cream selection. The honey mango with sticky rice was a little bit less successful as I found it a bit dry even with the side of coconut milk poured over it, but it could also be that I was just too full to really appreciate it!
Since my visit, a few of my fellow bloggers in the Twittersphere have talked about their hit and miss experiences at Mango Tree and I probably would have said the same based on my lack of memory from all those years ago, but for me, this particular visit was definitely closer to the ‘Hit’ list of my favourite London restaurants.
They’ve got a Valentine’s Day special menu on the radar (just in case the husband wants to take me back there, hint hint) and with its proximity to work, my favourite ever musical ‘Wicked’ and the home of Southern Fail, I can see myself returning there very soon!
Mango Tree is located at 46 Grosvenor Pl, Belgravia, London SW1X 7EQ, which is only a very short walk from Victoria station. I’d recommend making prior reservations but there would probably be room for walk-ins during the week for lunch!
I was a guest of Mango Tree, but as always, opinions are my own.