If you’re looking for a more unusual take to Christmas menus and fine dining, and are looking to dine somewhere central, sophisticated, but not too expensive, then Mango Tree is just the ticket. This bustling, bright and contemporary Thai restaurant in Belgravia has long been popular with lovers of good Thai food and great cocktails.
The restaurant is situated just across from Victoria station in Belgravia, so it’s very easy to access by public transport, and although it’s on a fairly busy road, you wouldn’t even know it once you’re sat inside.
I was particularly intrigued by their Thai Christmas tasting menu (with a Thai twist to turkey and brussel sprouts), and thought it would be fun to try it out whilst catching up with some old friends in the run up to Christmas.
I waited for them in the bar area, which funnily enough feels a bit like a waiting room, but it wasn’t long until all of us were happily seated (with cocktails in hand) at our table.
The restaurant is a large and lofty minimalistic space with sleek decor, dark woods and dim lighting. It was fairly busy without being noisy or crowded, with a few groups of friends, a handful of couples, and a few business types enjoying client dinners (I assume).
The staff seemed very attentive and eager to please, and gave our table some water, the menus and a large bowl of fresh prawn crackers, and asked if we wanted any more cocktails whilst we looked at the menu.
The answer was obviously a resounding yes. Although they have a fairly comprehensive cocktail list spanning four pages, Mango Tree has, as you’d expect, a rather fabulous mango cocktail (the mango colada, served inside a pineapple) that is absolutely not to be missed.
We scanned the menu but were pretty set on the Christmas tasting menu (just £48 per person) as it offers a little taste of everything.
The appetisers consisted of a series of generously sized dishes; smoked turkey breast (which had a strong woody and smokey taste), slow- cooked lamb marinated in thai spicy honey sauce (delicious), deep-fried sweet prawns tossed with garlic, chilli and spring onions (these were by far my favourite), light and crispy vegetarian spring rolls, and some grilled king scallops served with a butter and garlic sauce (they were probably my least favourite – they tasted fine but I didn’t like the texture).
Once we’d finished devouring the appetisers, the mains arrived; sticky slow-cooked beef brisket with a rich panang curry sauce, stir-fried turkey with sprouts and parsnip in a garlic sauce, stir-fried duck in a chilli and basil sauce, baked salmon steaks which were wrapped in banana leaves, and a classic pad thai with beansprouts, noodles and crushed peanuts. We all tried a little bit of everything, until we couldn’t eat any more!
We barely had any space left for dessert, but the thick and creamy mango mousse was just as delicious as our mango colada cocktails, and was a gorgeous light, sweet and creamy end to the meal.
Mango Tree, 46 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, SW1X; 020 7823 1888; www.mangotree.org.uk