Showing posts with label mango salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mango salad. Show all posts

CLOSED: Mango Tree Thai Fusion & Sports Bar (Markham)

Thank you to Parv.ca for a number of these photos
If you visit Mango Tree Thai Fusion & Sports Bar expecting authentic Thai food, you may leave disappointed. Really, their name should be a dead giveaway there’ll be a deviation: there’s a fusion element and Thai restaurants aren’t known to be sports bars. Once you get off the elevators, on the second floor of the commercial building, and walk into the huge dark space, you know authenticity doesn’t matter. With the black walls, colourful mural, large television screen, and huge bar, it seems like it’ll will morph into a club at any moment.


There are certainly “sports bar” offerings on the menu such as obligatory fried chicken wings ($13 a pound) or burger sliders ($12) that get a Thai twist with the tamarind sauce used on them.

Some dishes tread the line between bar and Thai food. The MT spring rolls ($10) filled with a ground beef and pork mixture dotted with finely chopped carrots, onions, and coriander, the denser filling reminding me of Filipino lumpias. Or the coconut milk fried shrimp ($15) where you could really taste the coconut, but the cream they dip the shrimp into before coating the shrimp could be thinned  as the crust was a tad thick. In both instances, the filling and batter would benefit from more seasoning as by themselves the finger foods were plain, but improved with sauce. 


Then, there are dishes you’d expect from a Thai restaurant. The starter tom yum soup ($6) was a large bowl of hot and sour broth teeming with lemongrass and other aromatics. It’s certainly spicy, but not overwhelmingly; the heat balanced off with vegetables like bean sprouts that also add a bit of crunch. Opt for the vegetarian version, as the deep fried tofu is great for soaking up the spicy soup.


The mango salad ($9) takes relatively sweet green mangoes and tosses it in a light shrimp paste for a savoury element. I enjoyed the fried shallots garnishing the salad, which adds a nice earthy crunch.


Of all the mains, the chicken green curry ($14) was perhaps the most authentic tasting and our favourite main of the evening. As a warning, Mango Tree uses dark meat giving the dish a gamier taste. It also contains chunks of eggplant (great for soaking up the liquid) and peppers. If you like it spicier, dig to the bottom as the chopped pepper pieces seems to sink to the bottom of the rich coconut curry.


My friend’s description of Mango Tree is great: it’s like a HK-style Thai restaurant (similar to HK-style Western cafes or cha chan tangs). Essentially, they are Thai dishes but with a Chinese influence. For example, the khao soi ($14) switches out the spicy yellow broth for a milder soup base that has a heavier coconut element. Moreover, the egg noodles are replaced with flat chewy ones that almost have a hand-pulled quality to it. 



To cap the bowl off, a fried pineapple ring that gives the noodles a sweet element. I would have preferred the khao soi spicier; but then the menu, which showed no chili peppers beside the name, was accurately depicting the dish. In retrospect, had I known I would have asked for it to be made at the spicy level - Mango Tree offers customization options for most mains where you choose the protein as well as the spiciness level.

The MT boneless pork chop ($20) didn’t have much of the lemongrass and garlic flavours I expected based on the menu’s description. Rather, the sweet tamarind barbeque sauce flavour was prevalent and sparked the whole HK-style Thai caf√© discussion to begin with – it had that thick sweet and sour sauce flair that’s not unlike the Cantonese style pork chops (except less sugary). Personally, I’d prefer the pork chop thinner to allow the marinate to permeate the meat more and the barbeque glaze toned down to let some of the herb’s flavour shine through.


No meal should end without an order of the Mango Tree sticky rice ($11). It takes time to prepare but the wait is worth it as the sticky rice arrives warm and when combined with cool sweet mangoes and thick coconut cream, I felt momentarily transported to Thailand. Had I known how delicious the dessert would be, I’d skip the appetizers and have an entire order of the sticky rice to end.


Kevin, co-owner of Mango Tree, explains they wanted the restaurant to be different. Of course, they serve food. But, it’s more than that. They want a space where people can visit, hang out, and enjoy each other’s company. Indeed, that seemed to ring true for our visit; while the food arrived quickly, we were left with our mains well after the forks went down so we could just relax and lounge.

We took that opportunity to sip on cocktails, my mango Bellini ($10) went down so easily, a concoction of mango puree with soda water, balanced out with citrus but so fruity that the rum melts away. For a unique drink, the Phulay sunset ($11) sounds like a tropical explosion of orange and pineapple juice with coconut cream, but the addition of ginger gives the cocktail an interesting zip.


The weekend crowd was so varied from a boisterous table of women celebrating an occasion, families, couples, to other groups of friends catching up. A lot of tables stayed for a long time, ordering more bites and drinks to keep the night going. Just like Mango Tree intended.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.


How To Find Them
 Location: Markham, Canada
 Address: 7850 Woodbine Avenue (2nd floor)
 

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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Sukhothai (Ottawa)


According to Wikipedia, Sukhothai was once a thriving Kingdom in central Thailand and translates to "dawn of happiness".  There’s something wishful about using that name for a restaurant: hoping to bring happiness to all your customers. By no means am I implying this is why the Ottawa owners chose this name, it’s simply my own romantic notion.

Tomato and red spices are left out of the restaurant’s tom yum goong ($5.50) so the broth remains clear … rather deceiving … until you take a sip. Instantly, the spicy, sour, salty and even mildly sweet flavours flood the mouth – how is such an innocent looking soup so powerful? Even without the red spices the soup has a nice heat level and lemongrass essence. As a warning, it’s a tad salty so this goes best with rice.


Green curries are one of my favourite Thai dishes and Sukhothai’s doesn’t disappoint. The gang keaw warn ($16.95) has great rich flavours and the sauce light enough to spoon liberally over rice. The mixture of crunchy vegetables (bell pepper, carrot, bamboo shoot and baby corn) kept it fresh and the drizzle of extra coconut milk on top an additional creaminess. I’d caution against ordering the beef as it was a tad chewy, I still enjoy this dish best with chicken, shrimp or simply in its vegetarian form.


If you can’t handle spicy curries, the gang khua sap pa rod ($18.95) is a safer alternative. Coconut milk, tomatoes and curry are combined with shrimp and chunks of pineapple. The sweetness from the fruit mellows everything, making the dish a mild approachable curry. The shrimp's texture is different: not the crunchy consistency found in other dishes; something about the acid makes it meaty and tender but not rubbery.


If you thinking the gai pad med ma muang ($15.95) is like kung pao chicken, then you’re correct. This Thai dish is said to be derived from the popular Sichuan version, except substituting the creamier cashew for peanuts and incorporating a stronger heat. Overall, the cashew chicken has a decent spiciness but not overwhelming.  


During the warmer months, a lighter cold dish such as the yum-pla ($17.95) is ideal. Despite the menu noting this Thai salad is generally served as a hors d’oeurve, it’s so substantial that you should consider it a main. A large piece of grilled trout is topped with green mango salad and cashews for crunch.  


Sukhothai’s pad Thai ($15.95) was the first I’ve had that grinds their peanuts into fine pieces so you experience its texture without too much crunch. Overall, a good rendition of the popular dish: the stir-fried rice noodles were springy and well covered in spices without becoming too wet; the chicken and shrimp not over cooked; and the bean sprouts and red cabbage served on the side so you can customize the amount of crunchy raw vegetables.


To end, we were treated with a dessert typically only served on special occasions. The thong ek, which translates to “gold prime”, is meant to bring wealth and advancement with a person’s career.  The dessert is generally carved into a flower shape; at Sukhothai, they’re simplified into a leaf beautifully adorned with a piece of gold foil. Made with sugar, coconut milk reduction and egg yolk, the thong ek reminds me of Chinese New Year cake, except softer and stickier.


Sukhothai, being the last restaurant we went to that day, was a great ending. Not exactly the “dawn of happiness”, but I certainly departed in good spirits having enjoyed a lovely indulgent meal with a group of great people.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.


How To Find Them
 Location: Ottawa, Canada
 Address: 134 Robertson Road

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Sukhothai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato