The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Delectable Thai @ Mango Tree (Elements), Hong Kong

It seems that we just cannot follow through with our plan to "eat light" whenever it comes to dining out. Our recent dinner at Mango Tree as supposed to be a small meal, but as you will see, we ordered a lot of food for 2+1. We even got two desserts! That Sunday evening, I wasn't feeling well nor motivated enough to cook dinner (and then wash up afterwards too), but there were two hungry mouths to feed, so I booked us a table at a restaurant in the mall downstairs that was opened a few months ago. The original Mango Tree restaurant is in downtown Bangkok, and this Kowloon branch is one of two Mango Tree restaurants in Hong Kong. The restaurant wasn't located with the other dining establishments in Elements, but amongst the haute designer brand shops. The restaurant fitted right in appearance-wise in its area with high ceilings, gorgeous wooden interior and a nice view of Victoria Harbour. Given its location and appearance, I must admit that I was a little concerned that it might be a bit costly for a small meal out with a kid, but was pleased to find that the dishes were well-priced and that this was a popular dining spot for other families too. We were there pretty early at a reasonable family-friendly period, but I can imagine this restaurant transforming upon nightfall with the sophisticated crowd sipping cocktails and enjoying the beautiful night lights across the harbour.

Sleek and classy interior:

Nice harbour view from our table by the window - a great spot for watching the nightly light and laser show:

The service we received was good - attentive and friendly but unobtrusive. Our table was in a quiet spot by the window away from the main dining area, but we didn't have any trouble getting staff's attention. Our waitress was quite enamoured with our 4.5-year-old boy, but I'm sad to say the kid was too busy enjoying the food to notice the attention. The food was really good, so it was no surprise we ordered as much as we did. The menu was quite extensive with a range of traditional Thai dishes to choose from, and the food wasn't very expensive considering its location in the mall and the view it offers.

Fresh young coconut juice (HK$45) that was just refreshing:

Larb with Chicken (HK$120) - a spicy salad with minced chicken tossed with shallots and fresh mint in Esan-style lime sauce. This was our first opportunity eating larb, and we ate it by placing a small amount on a lettuce leaf and rolling it up to eat (sang choy bao style, for those familiar with Chinese cuisine). On first taste I was quite underwhelmed, but I grew to like it the more I ate it, and wished for more when it was all gone. We ran out of lettuce leaves about halfway through, and the kitchen abundantly replenished our supply upon request:

The boy chose Fresh Crab Meat Fried Rice (HK$128), and we approved of his choice. It was simply delicious, delicately flavoured to allow the sweetness of the crab meat to stand out. Hubby and I only got a small taste of it before our boy claimed it for his own - and he did well to finish the whole plate!

Crispy Rice Crackers (HK$88) - served with minced prawn and pork, peanuts and fresh coconut dip. This was hubby's favourite savoury dish of the meal. It was very flavoursome, and the rice cracker gave a nice textural contrast to the dip, but it got too rich for me after the first couple of bites. Hubby was only too happy to eat more:

Thai Pandan Layer Cake (HK$75) - steamed layered cake flavoured with pandan and coconut cream. Similar to my beloved Nonya kueh lapis from my childhood, except that I couldn't separate the layers from these ones. The taste was lovely, and it was very easy to eat:

After polishing off the layer cake, hubby decided to indulge and order the Sticky Rice with Mango - fresh Thai mango with sticky rice topped with coconut cream. The mango flesh was top quality, very smooth and sweet. This was a very good version of the traditional Thai dessert:

All of us enjoyed the food, including me who was not feeling so well to begin with. I can see us going back there for more family meals, and also with out-of-town guests.

[Prices quoted above excludes the 10% service charge]

Mango Tree (Elements)
Shop 2032, Elements Mall
1 Austin Road West
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon,
Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2668 4884

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