The bouts of chilly weather have been making me crave sunshine, summer… and a whole lotta Thai food! I’ve been eating Thai for lunch, dinner and leftovers – but the one Thai meal that did stand out was my latest trip to the newest Mango Tree at Elements, which proved to be Thai cuisine at its best!
The ever-popular Mango Tree chain (which has branches across the world, including Bangkok, London, Tokyo and Dubai) first rooted itself in Causeway Bay a few years ago, and their newest restaurant has just been planted in Elements, right under ICC. With two lovely large private rooms, the bright and breezy restaurant can seat over 150 while still maintaining an intimate atmosphere. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer a stunning view – a rare find of a harbour-front view from the ground level in Hong Kong!
While some Thai restaurants tend to stick to the classic dishes of pad thai and prawn cakes, Mango Tree offers much more. We started with the crispy soft shell crab salad – the crab lacked any sort of flavour, but the spicy green mango salad underneath was refreshing and gave a great zing to start off our meal.
Next, we had the Thai crispy golden cups – cute fun-size bites of shrimp, minced pork and sweet corn all huddled into crispy sesame cups, which were a party in my mouth! They looked like little flowers and were so pretty I almost couldn’t bear to eat them.
For those who love some heat in their food, don’t worry, we’ve definitely got something for you! Be sure to order the lobster and galangal soup – this hot and sour soup is sure to please and definitely got us all fired up! Be sure to have a glass of water or Mango Tree’s signature cocktail, the deliciously refreshing Lychee Smash, ready in case your throat starts to burn; the fresh lychees and mint leaves in the drink will cool you right down.
Onto the mains, and their signature dish of fresh river prawns in clay pot was a table favourite. Even though the river prawns were a little bland, the glass noodles that soaked up all the delicious Thai herbs, spicy notes from the peppercorns and aromatic broth was a complete standout. If only I had multiple stomachs, I would have finished every last bit of this!
The final dish that arrived was the roasted cod curry; I’m not usually a fan of fish in curry but I just couldn’t say no to the deliciously rich and sweet flavours of this one. The cod was also cooked to perfection – creamy meaty flakes of fish that literally melted in my mouth.
Finally, the desserts! The mango sticky rice, always a Thai staple, lacked enough coconut cream for us, but the other two desserts didn’t disappoint. First, Thai pandan cake – ten layers of pandan and coconut cream steamed into cute little green cubes. Most of the pandan cakes I’ve had elsewhere taste extremely artificial (probably just a load of pandan essence… ick), but this cake was completely natural, boiling the pandan leaves from scratch to give a wonderfully piney, coconut-rich taste.
Our last dessert was the pumpkin custard – steamed egg custard cooked in pumpkin. For those who like a rich dessert to finish off the meal, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the luxurious flavours of pumpkin custard. The texture was smooth, reminding me of the sweet lotus filling in mooncakes.
Mango Tree is definitely an exciting addition to the food scene at Elements, which still suffers from a dearth of good but not wallet-busting restaurants. Prices are a bit on the high end for Thai food, with starters ranging from $90-$140 and mains around $250 – but the view and décor here is stunning (I especially love the huge “Mango Tree” column in the middle of the restaurant). It definitely satiated my Thai cravings – and will probably do just the trick for yours too.
Mango Tree, Shop 2032, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2668 4884; 5/F, Cubus, 1 Hoi Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2577 0828