We were invited to Mango Tree, the European flagship Thai restaurant for the Asian Cocoa Restaurants Group, for a special Thai and Pan-Asian cookery masterclass with the legendary Ian Pengelley (Executive Head Chef at Mango Tree) and a Thai meal after dining from the Royal Thai Dinner Set Menu.
We were greeted by the lovely, bubbly Amy (PR for Mango Tree). We made ourselves comfortable in the bar settling down to chat with Amy and Eva-Luise (E-i-c, Four Magazine) over their fabulous Mango Tree Thai Mojitos whilst we waited for their masterclass to begin. The Thai Mojitos are a great pre-meal cocktail with their signature flavours from the amber-coloured Mekhong’s (Thai Rum liqueur) aromatic Thai herb, sugar cane, molasses and lemongrass notes, and decorated with a lemongrass stick. Ian made the time to pop over and welcome us to Mango Tree, and encouraged us to be masterclass participants.
During the masterclass, interspersed with a Thai ingredients quiz (involving a lot of guessing from all of us!), Ian taught us how to make Urumaki (inside out rolls). These were made with avocado, cucumber and spring onions, decorated with fish roe.
We then served them on Pandan leaves over bowls of dried ice – which was very impressive with the lights dimmed, with ice clouds billowing out over the table!
Veera then taught us (with his years of experience) how you can make roti canai at lighting speed – creating beautiful, paper-thin, crispy, flaky, multi-layered, Indian-influenced flatbreads which went perfectly with the thick coconut curry.
It was totally moreish and we all agreed we could have devoured just this all night and been in seventh heaven! We had Thai Mojitos free-flowing during this lesson thanks to the lovely waiting staff; which helped calm my nerves when asked to participate in the masterclass!
We settled down at our table devouring our roti canai whilst we waited for our Royal Thai dinner to begin.
We kicked off with starters of succulent corn-fed chicken satay with peanut sauce, tod mun pla (spicy Thai fish cakes) with sweet chilli sauce, goong hom pa (prawn spring rolls) and deep fried filo prawn wontons. All the starters were good, except that the filo prawn wontons had a miniscule base of diced prawns and a massive crown of filo pastry which overwhelmed the flavour of prawn – slightly disappointing, especially after I (Jason) had raved about Mango Tree after my previous lunch visit.
After a welcome break between courses, which gave us time to find out more about our fellow diners and our common interests, we dived head first into a flavour explosion of dishes: gai yang jeerapan (grilled chicken thighs) – which had lovely, fresh flavours of garlic and coriander; gai pad med mamuang – with the sweetness from the peppers and the heat from the chillies merging well with the flavours from the moist chicken fillets; nuer pad nam-man hoi – the sweetness from the soft, stir-fried marinated beef balancing out the saltiness from the oyster and soy sauces; spicy gaeng kiew wan (thai green chicken curry); pla boran – perfectly cooked seabass fillet with a light, crispy skin and flaky fish inside, complemented by a spicy mango salad and a thai chilli dressing; kow neaw – traditional Thai sticky rice; and mee pad (egg noodles with spring onions). Our favourite dish was the deep-fried seabass fillet.
Also, during the evening, I (Jason) asked Amy to surprise me with a non-alcoholic cocktail as I had an early start the next morning – and the bar team did not disappoint with the fruity Mango Tree Thai Surprise made of mango and raspberry purees served over ice and decorated with a slice of star fruit! A perfect drink to take away the heat from the Thai Green Chicken curry.
Thanks Ian for a fun and interesting masterclass, and Amy and the Mango Tree team for an enjoyable evening and looking after us so well. Veera, one day you will need to teach us how to make roti canai for ourselves, so we can recreate our Mango Tree experience at home.
Mango Tree, we had a wonderful evening and will be back again very soon!!!
Cookery masterclass with Ian Pengelley: http://www.mangotree.org.uk/events-calendar.html
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