Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mango Tree's Grand Launch in Bonifacio Global City

Fresh from the success of its two previous outlets in Quezon City and Makati City, Mango Tree has finally arrived in Bonifacio High Street Central in Taguig, a mark of its widening popularity with foreign branches in Bangkok, Dubai, London, Tokyo, Hongkong and Doha.

I was lucky to be invited on its Grand Launch last March 27. I couldn't pass the chance to sample Thai food again. And judging by the dishes that night, their promise of showcasing authentic Thai cuisine is off to a great start.

Arriving in Mango Tree’s launch, guests like me were greeted in  the red carpet (yes, you're reading it right, red carpet ala Oscars) by Thai-costumed men and women. Inside colored lights bathed the restaurant's high ceiling while elegant cocktail tables dotted the place.

Servers also walked around with red wine and champagne. And when most guests arrived, a steady flow of cocktail food followed. I can't recall all of the spoonful and bite-sized Thai appetizers that were served. But I liked and remembered the Shrimp Pomelo salad heaped in a white spoon, those juicy shrimp bits with pomelo strips and tangy herbs and veggies. It was quite refreshing.

Shortly after the cocktails, we were ushered to the buffet table. First stop was the Por Pia Phak and Gai Thod, similar to our fried lumpia and mildly spiced fried chicken. The Por Pia roll had vermicelli noodles inside, something that reminded me of a Vietnamese spring roll while the chicken tasted like it was marinated in spices. It‘s not your typical fried chicken maybe more similar to a buffalo wing.

Then I moved on to the shrimp and chicken satay. The grilled shrimp and chicken were cooked well, they were tender and blended delicately with the satay sauce. The satay sauce meanwhile, was a collusion of spices, herbs, peanut sauce, creating a depth of flavors I can’t fully decipher. It’s a Thai signature dish I hope I can recreate someday.

Then I was bowled over when I saw the Pad Thai Goong, my favorite Thai noodle dish. Unlike the usual long noodles I have encountered in my quest for a good Pad Thai, this one had shorter noodles with beansprouts and shrimps that can be topped with crushed peanuts, chili flakes and squeezed with a piece of lime.

In my excitement or ignorance, I think I topped my Pad Thai with a little more chili flakes than I’m used to because my tongue singed.  But still, their Pad Thai was better than other Thai restaurants I have tried. The Thai mixture interlaced tastefully with the noodles, making the combination of herbs, veggies, noodles and shrimps a delightful meal.  

Then I got distracted by their Thai cultural dance number. It was a pleasant surprise in the middle of a meal, a well-presented visual and cultural treat.

Going back, I don’t know if it was the chili flakes or I absently ate a red chili on my rice but the shrimp curry rice came off as a little spicy for me. Maybe my spicy threshold is a little low. Nonetheless, to those who can bear a little more heat than I do then this specialty rice dish is for you. It is filling and the curry flavor is not overbearing.

Mango Tree offers many authentic Thai dishes. And if I come back, I think I would gladly try their Poo Phad Phong Ka Ree (Stir-fried mud crab with onion in yellow curry) because I love curried crabs and their Yum Pla Duk Fu (Crispy catfish flakes with mango salad) for its contrast of texture and flavor.

Lastly, I would also like to sample their Gaeng Phed Ped Yang (Roasted duck with fresh pineapple in red curry) to find out the fusion of roasted duck, pineapple and curry. 

Leaving Mango Tree, I noticed some celebrities about to go inside, adding sparkle to an already glittery launching night.

And while waiting outside, I also noticed the backdrop of the restaurant, what with the red-lined building at its side and other lighted buildings. It was a piece of the Makati skyline.  

A lot of restaurants maybe sprouting in the metro every year but Mango Tree proudly stands on its own. It may be one of the newer Thai restaurants around but with over 27 years of Thai cuisine experience courtesy of its seasoned Chef Siwat Korsem and its solid promise of “Thai cuisine at its best”, Mango Tree may be the next Thai restaurant to watch especially in terms of providing authentic Thai cuisine in the city.

Mango Tree (Thai Cuisine at its Best) 
7th Avenue, Bonifacio High Street Central, Global City, Taguig, Philippines
Tel: 2172367