This summer’s mango harvest promises to be sweeter than last year’s. And we have our eye on one particular fruit, that recently ripened at Juhu.
Originally from Bangkok with branches in Tokyo, Hong Kong, China, Tokyo, Manila and London, The Mango Tree is now in Bombay, serving “Thai-inspired Asian cuisine”.
A sea shell’s throw away from the beach, Mango Tree is located at the Horizon Hotel that recently got a second life. Despite being just a few days old, the Tree is already teeming with chirpy visitors, pecking at sticky rice and scampi and cooling off with coconut water.
We find a place to perch too.
Like many good Asian restaurants in the city, Mango Tree isn’t much to look at. Perhaps the idea is to let the food be most photogenic. And it is.
The menu is extensive, intriguing and adventurous; and the service is impeccable, if a bit over-enthusiastic. On the mocktail menu (the liquor licence isn’t here yet), ATFL is a wheatgrass green that is surprisingly summery, with notes of celery and apple, but Coco Loco is decidedly prettier and more in keeping with the theme, serving fresh coconut water with chia seeds and water chestnuts.
If you’re in the mood for a little bit of old-school, be sure to ask for a portion of Tom Yum soup with scampi that’s so fresh, the flesh tastes almost sweet. Meanwhile, the fiery broth is fragrant with galangal, kaffir lime and lemongrass.
A pomelo salad with grilled scallops – a combination that should be divine in theory - is the only dish that disappoints. The cold fruit makes the hot scallops limp and lukewarm, and it doesn’t help that the portion-size is so small, you need to whip out a microscope to actually see what you’re eating. Topped with soggy peanuts – is there anything worse? – we’re rather glad for the small portion at the end.
Splay Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee
The main course, however, starts with a flash of drama – Fish Two Ways is pyrotechnics on a plate. Indian salmon splayed like a butterfly, with its head still intact, is cooked with galangal on one half, and crispy garlic on the other. A sprig of pepper mimics a string of roe, and the fish itself tender and flaky, with perfectly crisped skin.
Although this is a tough act to follow, Lamb Massaman curry manages to impress – slow-cooked mutton bathed in a sweet-spicy gravy fortified with chickpeas and potatoes, served alongside intense coconut rice that is delicious enough to eat on its own.
Bellies full, we order Tub Tim Krob nonetheless: jellied water chestnut, slivers of jackfruit – our first of the season! – with house coconut ice-cream, this Thai equivalent of a classic sundae really hits the spot.
We’d love to return to this Tree soon, but when a meal for two sans alcohol costs almost Rs 7,000, we’d have to find an occasion to celebrate under its shade.
Getting there: Horizon Hotel, 3rd floor, 37 Juhu Beach, opposite Juhu Church, Juhu, call 8655551277. A meal for two without drinks costs approx. Rs. 6,700.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
Accessibly: A flight of stairs leads to an elevator.
This review was conducted by Anisha Oommen, food journalist and co-founder of The Goya Journal.
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