Having been to Mango Tree in Bangkok and absolutely loved it, upon hearing that it was adding to its repertoire of cities including London and Dubai by opening another branch in Hong Kong, I was desperate to try it. For me, I’m not sure it completely lives up to the high standards that its Thai forefather has set, however.
Whereas the Bangkok restaurant exudes a warm, casual feel, set in a beautiful old Thai house and courtyard, adorned with lanterns hanging from the namesake mango tree, the Hong Kong counterpart speaks of contemporary elegance, decorated in teak wood, ceramics and glass, which I suppose is fitting, given it is housed in the modern Cubus building in Causeway Bay.
Don’t get me wrong, the set-up is beautiful; candles line the entrance as you step out of the lift, and elegant lights hang from the ceiling, but it was certainly not what I was expecting.
The food, however, was exactly as I was expecting it to be. For nearly 20 years, the Mango Tree brand has held an excellent reputation for serving authentic and delicious Thai food, and thankfully this reputation stands strong at its new Hong Kong venture.
Our meal kicked off with some delicious Thai fish cakes served alongside an amazing sweet chilli, peanut and cucumber dipping sauce. I could have eaten a whole pot of this sauce.
To follow, a lamb shank massaman curry was served, beautifully presented and divinely fragrant. However, whilst the first bite was heavenly, full of incredible spices, it was just far too rich and too sweet and became almost impossible to eat.
The basil and chilli rice noodles with assorted seafood were almost perfect; deliciously fresh hot basil and a punchy chilli kick, however there were only three measly prawns.
A side dish of garlic and chilli morning glory, however, was utter perfection on a plate. This is one of my favourite vegetables and Mango Tree knows exactly how to execute it.
Although nearly bursting at the seams, we shared a mango cheesecake served with incredibly mouth-watering fresh mango imported from Thailand. Whilst the cheesecake was lovely and light, the portion was enormous, particularly if anyone were to order it for themselves.
Service on the whole was far below average, meaning we often had to prompt the waiters and wait too long between courses. However, when they were tending to us, the waiters, who were are mostly all Thai, were exceptionally friendly and smiley, giving the place a much more authentic feel than many Thai restaurants in Hong Kong.
The price, to put it simply, outraged me. For one starter, two mains and one dessert, without even touching the wine list, we paid nearly $800! Mango Tree in Bangkok is a relatively inexpensive restaurant, but I had to keep reminding myself that the move to Hong Kong was always going to mean a move to Hong Kong prices. Would I go back? If I found myself in Causeway Bay, craving authentic Thai food, then yes; otherwise I would probably hold on to my cash and look no further than Koh Thai.
1 Hoi Ping Road
Tel: +852 2577 0828
Date visited: Monday 21st November 2011