MANGO TREE’S SONGKRAN FESTIVAL - REVIEW - 17TH APRIL 2013
A couple of week’s ago, I was invited to visit Mango Tree on the evening they were celebrating Songkran Festival or Thai New Year, as it’s otherwise known.
The evening promised to be a night of authentic Thai food, special cocktails and entertainment and it was exactly that.
Songkran, or Thai New Year, is celebrated across Thailand in April and signifies the passage of the sun from one sign of the Zodiac to another.
The Songkran celebration is similar to those of the Indian Holi Festival, the Chinese Ching Ming, and the Christian Festival of Easter. In Thailand the festival is traditionally celebrated by the throwing of water, which originates from the idea of spring cleaning for the New Year, but fortuanately we didn’t have any water thrown over us during the evening!
On arrival my guest and I were presented with a silk rose which was pinned onto our shirts and were then guided to our table which was at the front of the restaurant. We were given special Songkran menus which featured a selection cocktails devised for the evening and a set menu of 3 courses, with the starter and main made up of a combination of dishes to share.
We chose a cocktail each and they were delicious - due to the ingredient of rose water, mine tasted like alcoholic turkish delight and my friend’s had a lovely taste of lemongrass and lime.
For starter, we were given a platter of dishes including a deep fried quail’s egg, barbecued pork, deep fried tuna and a crispy noodle salad. As I am not a fan of eggs, my friend sampled that and said it was delicious and worked really well. The pork was tasty but just slightly too spicy and I am glad there was pineapple on the platter to help cool my mouth down! The noodles were unfortunately quite bland and I didn’t really like the crispiness of them and I have never tasted deep fried tuna before, but I am not sure I want to again as it was rather odd and the batter was crumbly and almost like sawdust!
We ordered a bottle of white wine with our main and were presented with a towering platter of various bowls of different dishes - fish ball thai green curry, spicy beef, deep fried-fish fillet with sweet and sour spicy sauce, stir-fried king prawns with capsicum, garlic and pepper, stir-fried beef, rice with crab and tenderstem broccoli.
Our favourites were the deep fried-fish fillet, the beef and the prawns and the thai green curry sauce was really tasty. It was really nice getting to try a selection of dishes as normally with a thai meal, I would just go for one of my favourite dishes and not try anything new.
Unfortunately we weren’t fans of dessert, which came in a bowl and looked like a creamy soup with balls of melon floating in it. It was quite an odd taste, and sight, and not to our liking at all.
I would be interested to visit Mango Tree again and choose dishes from the A La Carte menu as it would be nice to taste some of the standard dishes on their menu.
The entertainment during the evening was really varied and consisted of thai boxing, thai sword fighting, fruit carving, Thai music and dance performances and there was also a live demonstration by the Head Chef of Mango Tree. I must admit, the entertainment was slightly off-putting at times when you were trying to eat and chat but it was really different and not something I had experienced before.
My friend had been to Thailand before, unlike myself, and said the entertainment was really evident of Thai Culture, so it was witness that during the Songkran Festival.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of Mango Tree.
Mango Tree, 46 Grosvenor Place, London, SW1X 7EQ.