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Navigating the enormous Elements shopping mall can be confusing and it takes us some time to find the restaurant, hidden at the end of a row of luxury fashion shops. The design is contemporary Thai, with high ceilings, tree-like structures and a large column in the middle of the room, which acts as a divider. By day, the section to the front is light and airy, with Hong Kong skyline views, while the section behind is somewhat gloomy. Most diners appear to be Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese shoppers taking some retail time out.
Mango Tree is a chain of Thai restaurants popular with those who can’t handle high spice levels. It is extremely disappointing to see shark’s fin soup on an otherwise safe menu, which runs the gamut of familiar favourites including fish cakes, green curries and pad thai. Our mini seafood soufflé looks more like escargot and is firmer than the usual mousse, but is an enjoyable mix of diced prawn, squid and scallop in mild red curry fish paste. An aromatic tom yum goong is steeped in lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf and galangal and comes with two large river prawns, though flavours are slightly off-balance and more sweet than sour. Also too sweet and lacking in punch are soggy Chiang Mai-style yellow curry noodles, which is served with river prawns instead of the usual chicken. A mild yellow crab curry is better, and features big, meaty pieces of stir-fried crab smothered in a thick, eggy curry. Unfortunately, the baby pork ribs are dry and stringy, and there is barely any chilli in the accompanying Isaan sauce. A simple dish of stir-fried morning glory in belachan is also one of the best, the vegetables cooked to perfection, though it could have done with more of the pungent prawn paste. We finish with sticky rice with mango, a deliciously sweet, salty and chewy dessert topped with coconut cream and fresh Thai mango.
The concise wine list features new and old world wines mostly in the $300-$700 range, as well as expensive Cristal and Dom Perignon. Unfortunately, vintages are not shown for any wines or champagnes. Two Thai wines, a colombard and a shiraz from Siam Winery Monsoon Valley are available.
Service is a mixed bag. The waitress who took our order is knowledgeable and efficient but some of the other staff less so. Dishes came out too quickly and in the wrong order, with mains appearing before starters. Our dessert was also sent to the wrong table, and we had to wait a long time to get ours.
A meal for two with a starter, soup, curry, stir-fry, vegetables, dessert and a glass of wine each comes to about $1,200, which is fair.