Mango Tree – masterclass with Ian Pengelley & a Royal Thai dinner

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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We ended the meal with a mango crème brulee, which was light but creamy and had chunks of mango running through it. Gorgeous, created memories of holidays in Goa and a perfect way to end the meal.

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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!!!

Twitter: @MangoTreeLondon

Cookery masterclass with Ian Pengelley:

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About goantolondon

International food and travel blog by London based British Goan duo: Jason and Chiara Pinto. Twitter: @goantolondon @jasonpinto100 @chiarapinto About Goa: Goa is a small state on the western coast of India. Though the smallest Indian state, Goa has played an influential role in Indian history. Goa was one of the major trade centers in India, thus it had always been attracting the influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries since its earliest known history. Throughout its history Goa has undergone continual transformation, leaving an indelible impression on various aspects of its cultural and socio-economic development. History of Goa: The East-West symbiosis of Goa makes it different from other parts of India, more than the historical and social niche. The history of Goa is a sweet and sour story of colonial heritage, oppressive rulers, a glorious culture, and uneventful immediate past. As a land with the identity of its own, Goa was brought into focus when it was liberated of Portugal from its oppressive rule of around 450 hundred years in 1961. Goa was captured and annexed to the Portuguese in 1510 following the urges of trade and demand of spices and also cottons and indigo. But, Goa has a history that starts much before Portugal even thought of Goa being where it is. Goa was coveted and ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards. The first kingdom to rule Goa and Konkan were Bhojas, who were the feudatories of Ashoka in 4th and 5th centuries AD. The city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) was founded by Prince Chandraditya, son of Chalukya King Pulakesin from 566 to 597 A.D. after this, Goa was ruled consecutively by Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas from 1022 to 1342 A.D. From the 14th century onwards, Goa became a great trading center on the west coast, especially in the vast trade of horses imported from the Middle East. This was the time for bigger empires to move in and Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1344. But there empire was not going to last too long and in 1347, Bahmani Sultans defeated Vijayanagara forces in 1347 and controlled Goa. Afterwards, it was a time of great prosperity and peace for Gpa, especially during the rules of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They created beautiful houses, fortified Goa, and encouraged local craftsmen. Their liberal and progressive rule was not going to last too long and situation changed in 1510 A.D. Goa for all purposes was not on the Portuguese Radar even after a long time of their presence in India. When the Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque were sent with a powerful fleet in 1503 on the orders of King Dom Manuel I, the purpose was to defend the cargoes of spices, mostly pepper, against Arab Muslim raiders. The center of spice trade was Calicut at that time and Portuguese had built forts in Cochin and Cannanore. It was in 1506-08 that an opportunistic pirate, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa and acquire a better land base. This made Goa, Portugal's first real territorial acquisition in Asia. After a brief period of recapturing by the Muslims, Goa Albuquerque finally captured Goa in 1510. The inquisition of Goa in 1540 reversed the previous liberal policy of Albuquerque and imposed strict censorship of literature and new laws to forbade non-Christians from professions. Forced conversions took place continuously, censorship was established on literature, the temples were destroyed, and non-Christian priests, holy men, and teachers were evicted. This led to continuous fleeing of Hindus from Goa to other parts of India. It is not that the relationship with Portugal brought only destruction for the Goans. Portuguese also built great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians from around the world. But it is also true that pre-1961; Goa was a highly impoverished region very backward and primitive. It is after the liberation that Goa of today has emerged and it has surprised even the locals many of whom had left their homeland before its liberation. Portugal and India are today friends and Goa continues to be a fascinating blend of Latin and Oriental. Information sourced from:
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