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If you’ve ever spent any length of time with me, you’ll know there’s one thing that’s always on my mind: FOOD. There are two types I love even more than the rest: one, as you can probably tell from my Instagram feed, is brunch, and the other is Asian. Mmm.
Mango Tree falls into the latter of those categories, but it’s a little bit more special than your average Thai place. Its main branch is a luxury Thai restaurant near Victoria station, which is full Bangkok glamour and which I was lucky enough to be taken to by my parents a couple of years ago. Without a doubt, it was the most authentic – and delicious! – Thai food I’ve had outside of Thailand, so I was excited to relive the tastebud heaven and see what the Harrods branch had to offer.
When you think of department store food, you probably think of a small coffee shop or lunch stop – perhaps a fancy patisserie at most. Harrods is changing all that, with in-store restaurants offering everything from frozen yoghurt to fancy fish and chips, as well as four (yes, FOUR) of the standard department store cafés. It’s a wonder they still have room for all the clothes…
Mango Tree is more of a walk-up mini restaurant tucked away in a corner of the food hall than a ‘real’ restaurant. It’s so well-hidden that we walked right past it at first, and I was worried the buzzy environment behind us, where customers shopped for deli treats and tourists ogled the beautiful cakes, would be a weird setting for an evening meal – especially as Mango Tree serves the kind of food that’s usually reserved for fine dining.
As it turned out, the hustle and bustle behind us quickly faded into the background and I completely forgot where we were… so much so that it was a bit surreal when we got up to leave and I remembered that we were in the middle of Harrods. In such as a maze of tourists, customers and shop floor sales, Mango Tree has done an incredible job of making its restaurant feel very private, maintaining the exclusive vibe that it’s known for.
We pulled up a seat at the bar – there are 24 in total, so I’m told – and perused the menu with a glass of champagne (pink champagne – because it happened to be Valentine’s Day!). We started with a selection of dim sun, including a range of the different spring rolls. One was duck and cucumber, another contained crab and pumpkin, and the final (and best!) was the sesame prawn.
The highlight of the course – and the whole meal, in fact – was those little balls on the right. They’re nothing other than “lobster popcorn” and they’re one of the tastiest things I’ve ever tried. I’d happily go back just for those.
We followed the first round of starters with lobster and coriander dumplings and beef wagyu parcels. The texture of both was perfect – the beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender and the dumplings were lovely and light but full of flavour. It’s the kind of food that makes it impossible to ever fully enjoy a takeaway again.
Next up, we moved on to a couple of main dishes. Despite being pretty full already, we ordered two dishes because we couldn’t choose between them. They were both duck-based even though I really wanted to try another type of meat, but they just sounded too good to not try. And there’s nothing worse than food envy, right?
The first was Ped Makham, a dish of sliced roasted duck served with exotic sweet and sour tamarind sauce. It was pretty good, but it had nothing on the other dish: a red curry with roasted duck, grape, pineapple and cherry tomatoes, served in a pineapple shell. Yes, it was served in a pineapple, complete with pineapple art that took me straight back to a fruit carving class I once did in Vietnam.
And it didn’t just look amazing – it was absolutely delicious. If you like creamy curries with a little bit of a kick, don’t order anything else.
There’s much more available at Mango Tree than the sample menu would have you believe. It’s obviously not the cheapest place, but the good thing about the casual location is you can easily go up and have a flick through before you commit to eating there. That said, you definitely won’t regret it if you do.
Have you ever eaten at Mango Tree? Which Thai restaurants would you recommend?