Pan Asian Dining for Ladies who Lunch at Mango Tree, Harrods:
Moving from West London away from the seductive shopping opportunities of Knightsbridge has done wonders for my budgeting. One thing I do miss though is wandering through the Food Halls at Harrods. Somewhere I generally go to look but not buy, simply because I’m never sure when I will be at home to eat again. Occasionally, if I’ve been shopping a lot, I indulge myself by eating in one of the in-store restaurants.
I’ve never had a bad experience at Harrods – so I was pleased to be invited along to review Mango Tree – especially as I’ve already eaten at their main restaurant in Victoria and had looked longingly at the Harrods outlet a few times before. One of my main challenges, though, is to find my way to particular restaurants. Mango Tree is in the Food Halls themselves, tucked away tidily in the corner so that it is all too easy to miss the place.
I arrived at 1pm when the restaurant was probably at its busiest. But the staff were still coping admirably and seating the walk-in customers without too much effort. Food seemed to be appearing very quickly too, despite all being made to order. A pot of Jasmine blossoming green tea was perfect as a post-shopping pick-me-up while I checked the menu. Unlike the Victoria restaurant, Mango Tree in Harrods really does serve a broad range of pan-Asian dishes. You’ll find a mixture of Chinese, Japanese and Thai dishes – there’s both Pho and Ramen for example – and even some Vietnamese Chicken Spring Rolls.
The dim sum is freshly made from scratch. Wrappers are made in-house every morning and there’s a dim sum chef preparing every order. I asked for recommendations and was happy to go along with the suggested Alaskan King crab and baby spinach and the prawn dumpling with white truffle oil.
The Crab and spinach tasted really good, with tender chunks of crabmeat and a spinach wrapper, all topped with a few morsels of caviar. I loved the prawn dumpling too, with its delicate wrapper. The truffle oil was imperceptible to me, but the dish didn’t suffer for that. Dipping the crab and spinach into the hot chilli sauce was an option, but I found it overwhelming and didn’t even try dipping the prawn dumpling. These were two very delicate seafood dim sum.
A plate of aromatic duck and cucumber spring rolls was truly delicious and would make a perfect snack for anyone not looked to eat a full meal. The wrapper was crisp and full of flavour from the generous duck confit filling. Cucumber added a nice crunch through the centre of each roll. And the sticky sweet hoi sin sauce was the perfect complement.
Black Cod Ob See-eew was the suggested main course – with a side order of steamed jasmine rice and steamed choi sum. It arrived, neatly wrapped in a banana leaf.
Perfectly cooked, the flaky fish meat was coated with a light soy glaze. A great lunch dish that was satisfying yet not overwhelming.
Rather surprisingly there are no desserts on the menu at Mango Tree. Not that I needed one, and if I did I’d simply have used the excuse to take myself off to Ladauree and indulge in a Macaron or two.
I was more impressed with Mango Tree than I’d expected to be. Good quality, fresh ingredients are the de-facto standard at this level of dining, but the quality of cooking isn’t always something you can take for granted in a small in-store outpost of a rather larger restaurant. If anything I found the food at Mango Tree, Harrods rather better than at the Victoria restaurant, perhaps because it is genuinely cooked from scratch and to order and because the turnaround is so fast that nothing gets overcooked and spoilt. It’s not an option for a budget lunch though unless you really don’t want to eat more than a couple of dim sum. Expect to pay around £40 a head for food, more if you want to order the specials on the menu
Mango Tree at Harrods