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Category Archives: Life in Bangkok
Despite being on ‘The List’ for over three years, my first visit to London’s well-renowned Thai favourite Mango Tree only took place last week. Boy, have I been missing out.
Not since living in Bangkok have I had such a pleasing array of authentic Thai dishes. A stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, nonetheless. My aesthetic eye quickly realised that Feng-Shui ruled the design process for Mango Tree, resulting in a timeless, beautifully lit and carefully-considered hideaway to dine for any occasion (or, in my case, non-occasion).
With incredible service from the first Sawadee ka (a pre-meditated nod to Thai traditions), the meal was a string of exemplary flavour and care. Flipping through the gargantuan menu over a Love Ocean (ketel one vodka, lavande syrup, passion fruit syrup, fresh lychee and dragon fruit, lychee juice, and fresh passion fruit juice) and a Thai Martini (wyborowa vodka, gabriel boudier lychee liqueur, fresh lemon grass, thai red chili, lychee fruit, and sugar syrup), an extensive and creative vegetarian menu almost pulled me out of my meat-eating ways…
…until I spotted Poonim yum mamuang. The starter – a tempura of soft shell crab with and sweet chilli sauce – is one of simplistic glory if executed in the right way. Thankfully, Mango Tree’s version was lightly battered perfection and the perfect introduction to the meal. Alongside a starter of Moo nam tok (a spicy north-eastern thai-style salad with sliced grilled pork mixed with dried chilli, shallots, mint leaves and a spicy lime sauce), my tongue was officially alight.
For mains, both my dining partner and I had the desire to see where their ‘traditional’ dishes would stand against experience. First choosing a first rate super-seasoned Ka pow gai (a spicy dish with stir-fried corn-fed chicken fillets, fresh chilli, garlic and holy basil leaves), we then opted for Pad thai goong yai. Unlike the bastardized versions of ‘Pad Thai’ that litter the Great British High Street, these thai rice noodles had been stir-fried with corn-fed chicken, chinese chives, peanuts, bean curd and beansprouts in a special homemade sauce, and were served topped with an egg net. Far too much food for me to handle, but far too great a taste for me not to attempt a plate-cleaning.
Having been defeated halfway through the Goong Yai, we had to take a short recovery break before giving in to the dessert menu. As I have mentioned in previous reviews, Asian desserts are not my thing. For this fact, it seemed to be fate that the only two things that could get me to order an Asian dessert were on the menu: Kow niew mamuang and Sang ka ya mamuang.
Sang ka ya mamuang – a mango creme brulee with pistachio biscotti – was delightful for the one or two bites I trialled but, in all honesty, my full focus was on Kow niew mamuang. Mango sticky rice means to me what Vita Coco (ahem, apparently) means to Rihanna. Mango Tree’s version, blended with honey and served with coconut milk and dry ice, was the most decadent I have ever tasted.
You know a restaurant has won you over when you start waxing lyrical about fruit and rice.
POSTED IN: authentic thai dishes, buckingham palace, food blog, living in bangkok, lychee liqueur, mango tree, mango tree london, soft shell crab, thai food london
Thanks to nine months of living in (and eating through) Bangkok I have become one of London’s pickiest Thai foodies. Don’t get me wrong, I taste and trial at every opportunistic corner of The LDN but sadly find that little compares to authentic Thai food.
Personally, a visit to Blue Elephant was the Ultimate Thai Test. Now open for over 25 years (having recently located from Fulham Broadway to a beautiful riverside spot at Imperial Wharf), many people consider Blue Elephant to be London’s go-to for excellent Thai food.
After previewing and gorging my way through their Valentine’s Day menu, I now feel the same.
Nestled in an exotic Thai-themed room of Asian antiques and objets d’art, we were first presented with a zakuski of Tom Yam Koong soup with tiger prawns and a flavorful hit of dong quai alongside a small sampling of Chef U-La’s homemade green-curry and vegetable-stuffed pastry. The familiar sour spice mingled beautifully with the herbal pastry and was right on par with every Tom Yam dish I sampled in the Thai capital.
As a Valentine’s menu, both the starters and mains are perfectly paired for two. As well as a surprisingly sumptuous steamed egg custard with foie gras (topped with homemade strawberry sauce), the large range of starters included deep-fried duck, black mushroom and celeriac spring rolls, steamed floral-shaped dumplings stuffed with minced free-range chicken and aromatic herbs “Chor Chom-Pu Black Chicken”, as well as a ‘Plah Koong’ avocado salad with prawns, lemongrass, coriander, mint and kafir lime leaves wish I would happily eat every day of my life.
Accompanied by crab-meat and celeriac-infused jasmine rice and pak choi, the mains kicked things up a notch…
1) A rich spicy lamb shank curry with black wild ginger (apparently known for it aphrodisiac properties).
2) Grilled black cod marinated with Korean ginseng, wrapped with banana leaves, and accompanied by caramelized golden tamarind and crispy shallot dip
3) “Love Drunken Prawns” so large you could keep them as pets. The stir-fried dish featured a homemade paste of bird’s eye chilies, shrimp paste, black wild ginger, kaffir lime, sweet basil leaves and a hint of rice whisky, culminating in my favourite dish of the evening.
By the time dessert arrives, you will be more than happy to split the heart-shaped treats in two. Their Panna Cotta – flavured with Royal Jelly and vanilla pods from The Royal Project Farm – was the only thing I was able to polish, but the eclairs (filled with rose-flavored cream) and young coconut jellies proved to be popular among my dining companions.
If you are interested in a spicy evening this 14th I highly recommend this £69.00 per person menu (with vegetarian options available).
POSTED IN: blue elephant, blue elephant london, Nooror Somany-Steppe, thai food, thai in london
The Summer of 2011 marked the end of an eight month stint living in Thailand for The Manfriend and I. Our decision to move there stemmed from a frustrating day of flat hunting in Chelsea, and – in retrospect – I couldn’t be happier that I was so…deliriously…frustrated.
I love Thailand. I am itching to leave the familiarity of these London streets behind once again to dive into the wild and charming culture of Bangkok and beyond. I am having a barbaric Asian love affair via memories.
Time for blog therapy! Though I wrote my book and continued to build my business while living in Bangkok, I certainly didn’t take advantage of LelaLondon.com to document my Southeast Asian adventures. Click below for eights months of life highlights in photography. (more…)
POSTED IN: asian adventures, bangkok, breakfast on the beach, chao phraya river, Koh Samui, ladyboys, life in bangkok, life in thailand, living in bangkok, living in thailand, photo diary, rayong, thailand, thailand expat
The study found that a face with any makeup whatsoever is perceived as more likable, competent, and trustworthy than a face sans slap. The only time this trend went off-course was in the ‘trustworthy’ category when it came to women in the “glamourous” category (but they were still perceived to be hotter and more competent!)
Are these results shocking to anyone? I do wonder how different societies would respond…
POSTED IN: balmain, christian dior, fashion houses, fashion news, fashion sense, female faces, gray hairs, kate middleton, l oreal, lanvin, living in thailand, paris fashion week, princess siriwanwaree, procter gamble, professional makeup, societal standards