This Thai restaurant just off Hyde Park Corner offers it diners a quite different experience: Thai High Tea. Instead of cucumber sandwiches with their crusts cut off, Mango Tree has served up High Tea with a Thai twist. From 3pm – 5.30pm on Mondays to Fridays, diners can fill a gap with a Thai platter of miniature bites, along with a steaming pot of tea.
We decided on pots of steaming hot mint citrus and jasmine green tea to accompany our platter. Normally £15.00 will guarantee you a platter each, accompanied by a pot of tea, but as we were daft and had only just finished eating lunch an hour beforehand, we restricted ourselves to one platter for sharing.
Our pots of tea arrived in clear glass teapots, complete with clear glass cups and saucers for slurping and admiring our brew. Hot water was also set down on the table so we could top up our teapots as and when, and before we’d taken our first sip, the Thai platter arrived on a huge wicker stand. Brimming with cute little morsels, we started off with a few savoury bites. First up was the salmon-topped toast bread, adorned with what looked liked some neon lime green caviar, and accompanied by its very own wasabi kick. We also ate our way through little pastry cases stuffed with pickled aubergine (which tasted much better than they looked), spring rolls and chicken parcels.
Savoury is always a good way to start a platter, but inevitably once you’ve bitten into the sweet stuff, you can’t go back. We topped up our teacups and set to work devouring the banana cake and the mini, lemony Madeleines. The banana cake had us divided, with I for one loving its moistness but my mother deciding against it. Soul singer Beverly Knight has been quoted on the back of the menu as also loving the banana cake, so perhaps it’s like the Marmite effect – you either love it or hate it.
Whilst we were eating through the rest of the platter (me with the banana cake, my mother with the lemony Madeleines), the waiter came along armed with another sweet course. “Sticky mango pudding” was announced and two beautifully crafted dishes were laid out in front of us. Both plates offered up two little stacks of Thai mango rice pudding – the sticky rice pudding being gorgeously light but indulgent in flavour, and the mango lending the dessert a balancing freshness. By this point we were more than full, but the pudding tasted good enough to push the waistline out even further. Thankfully there was plenty of time for a breather afterwards, and we sat there for many minutes, waiting for our greedy stomachs to deflate a little, and sipping the odd mouthful of tea to fill in any gaps that were threatening to appear.
As high tea goes, Mango Tree’s Thai alternative makes for a tasteful change to a British tradition. Just make sure that you make the most of it and eat lightly at lunch, or not at all!
Mango Tree: 46 Grosvenor Place, London, SW1X 7EQ. Tel: 020 7823 1888.
Reviewer: Helenka Bednar