On a tropical summer evening in the heart of the Southbank, we turned the corner into Coin street to be greeted by the late and very great chef & travel writer, Anthony Bourdain, immortalised on the wall of Sticky Mango. The quote “Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.”
With this in mind my date and I set out to be food tourists in our own city. Sticky Mango, from the imagination of chef Peter Lloyd is alike a private holiday island I can’t bear to keep secret. Peter honed his passion for South East Asian cuisine as Executive Chef at the 5 Star Sanderson Hotel and Suka Restaurant. At Sticky Mango, he has created an exotic getaway atmosphere in this twinkly lit, gold embellished yet relaxed dining room.
Much like a Thai holiday we wanted to try a bit of everything so the tasting menu was definitely for us. This 10 course feast is also one of the best value in London at £39.50.
We began with an Asian slaw. Crunchy, sharp and sweet all at once, the flawless flavour combo to freshen the palate between bites of the Malaysian chicken curry puffs we munched along side. Generously filled, richly spiced mouthfuls of buttery chicken curry, pocketed in pastry, a texture of which I can’t describe with any earth adjectives but can dreamily taste all over again.
A dish of enormous black pepper prawns with dehydrated colourful pineapple cubes, Mexican jicama (root vegetable, I had to ask!) and pea shoots was our next exotic treat. Almost caramelised in their spicy sweet sauce, these grilled delights filled the mouth with a gentle barbequed flavour. Then there were little pieces of chewy pineapple, cut delightfully through the viscous, lip smacking sauce.
Next, flavoursome chunks of meaty monkfish, expertly pan fried in a not too spicy Malaysian chilli sauce allowed the fish to be the highlight. Served with Bok Choi and utterly beautiful little apple blossoms, they were as tasty as they were pretty. Broccoli florets of forest green jewelled with crunchy whole water chestnuts absorbed the sauce they had been stir fried in.
At this point, we were so involved in licking the plates clean in the most sociably acceptable way, we ordered two cocktails. A refreshing sweet and sour Bangkok Margarita and a spiced mango martini. Fruity and rich and so strong, I would’ve moved any candles to the other side of the table!
I will now dedicate an entire paragraph to Sticky Mango’s truffle egg fried rice. Unassuming in its description, it arrives in an equally humble manner. But there is ceremony to this ordinary sounding side dish. We were instructed to break the shiny orange yolk, allow it to trickle, like a tide through the fried rice then chop it all up together in a scrumptious mess. Like children in a sandpit, we joyously obliged. Moist from the unctuous egg yolk, ribboned with savoury leeks and bathed with truffle paste, a gentle wash of flavour kissed the grains. Not to be dramatic but I would swim oceans for this plate.
Pudding arrived in a impeccable pair. A fluffy globe, poured with a cascade of warm coconut cream to reveal a luscious puddle of bonbon sweet, black sticky rice and fruity fresh mango sorbet and a mint green pillow of a Pandan macaron sandwiched with kaya jam and filled with a soy caramel ice cream, reminiscent of a rich salted toffee. Both so different and so delicious for their differences.
This pan-Asian paradise really is a welcome sojourn. Better still, the Eat out to Help Out is being extended by Sticky Mango so they will be offering their nine-course tasting menu for £29.50 (usually £39.50) throughout September.
In the absence of an exotic holiday this year, save your airfare and eat at Sticky Mango every night for two weeks!
To discover more, visit stickymango.co.uk
All imagery courtesy of Sticky Mango.
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