More Bonifacio High Street Central Restaurants:
- Sariwon Korean Barbecue: Authentic Korean BBQ now in BHS
- 'Cue Modern Barbecue: A Carnivore's Meat Paradise
- Village Tavern: American Comfort Food at BHS
- The Cake Club: Weekend Brunch Offerings and More
- SLICE: A Slice of Sweet Life at BHS
However, this trip to Mango Tree was even more meaningful than what I expected. Sure, I enjoyed just being inside the restaurant with its high ceilings, modern yet elegant interiors, cozy leatherette chairs and banquet seating, as well as its al fresco and mezzanine dining areas. But beyond the facade, there was another reason why we were at the thanksgiving lunch. Apart from celebrating its successful first year, Mango Tree is giving back by supporting a cause that truly matters.
Project: Brave Kids
From March to May, Mango Tree will be helping the kid beneficiaries of Project: Brave Kids -- a non-profit organization assisting children with cancer (and their families) to improve their quality of life by enhancing their social, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being, celebrate their birthdays. And during that fine lunch, I was very honored to have witnessed how these angels wore happy smiles as they blew their birthday cakes.
I may not know what struggles these children are forced to battle with, but that afternoon was very touching and inspiring for me, especially to see how these brave kids face their affliction with such courage and optimism. So I'm really glad to see Mango Tree's initiative, since aside from bringing happiness to these kids through a birthday celebration, they will also be donating part of their proceeds to Project: Brave Kids, to support their activities and projects lined up for 2013. So to Mango Tree, I salute you for this decision, for choosing to give back to a very important cause.
Now, while the kids celebrated with good food, sweet treats and happy cheers, we also had our fair share. So, let me take you on a gastronomic tour, through the dishes we had.
We first had the Yum Mamuang (P280) which is a green mango salad with peanuts and grated coconut. Just one forkful and I was sold! The harmony of the sweetness and tang from this appetizer was just beautiful. Unlike other green mango salads which will leave you with a crumpled face, this dish's balanced flavor will definitely do otherwise.
We then had the Tod Mun Goong (P380) which are deep-fried shrimp cakes served with a sweet-chili sauce on the side. Although I'm not a big fan of shrimp (or even crab) cakes, I liked that these babies were fried to a golden-brown crisp without being too oily. Every bite was very flavorful too, so this is good not just for adults, but also for the kids.
Next, we had the Tom Yum Goong (P450) which is a hot and sour prawn soup infused with lemongrass, kaffir lime, galangal, mushrooms and red chilies. Now, I'm a big fan of tom yum goong so I was excited to try Mango Tree's version. While it has the sour, refreshing flavor that I love, and not too mention a surplus of prawns, I found the overall taste a little too salty and lacking in heat. I think this is perfect though for those who are new to Thai cuisine, or perhaps to those who are not big fans of spicy foods.
Then came my most awaited dish, the Pad Thai Jay (P350) -- Thai stir-fried rice noodles with mixed vegetables and tofu. As a huge fan of this Thai favorite, I was very excited to get a taste of Mango Tree's rendition. From the plate, it already looked delicious...
More so when you get a taste of it! The rice noodles from this Pad Thai Jay were moist, chewy and very elastic which makes munching every strand an enjoyable experience. The beansprouts and nuts also added both an addicting crunchy texture and a nice flavor which complements the sweet, savory and sharp notes of the dish. Seriously, this is one of the best pad thai noodles I've had, and I'd definitely order and re-order it again!
For more carbs, we had the Khao Ob Supparod (P380) which is pineapple fried rice with chicken, peas, corn and raisins beautifully served in a halved pineapple boat. Since I grew up eating at Chinese restaurants, I thought this would be something similar. However, it was interesting to find out that this Thai version has a delicate sweetness and more savory flavor. And in all honesty, I so prefer this over the Chinese counterpart!
We also had the Pla Krapong Neung Ma Now (P850) which is steamed sea bass with fresh garlic, chili and lime sauce, and served on a nice fish-shaped platter with a burner at the bottom. I'm not big on steamed fish, but I have to admit that I like the blend of subtle flavors and the very clean taste of this fresh sea bass. However, the texture of the fish itself wasn't that moist and soft anymore. Maybe it's because we left the burner to heat up the fish for long. So friends, learn from our mistake! Eat this up upon serving.
Another viand we had was this Gai Phad Med Ma-Maung (P400) which is stir-fried chicken pieces with cashew nuts, capsicum and onions. This is the first time I've had this kind of chicken dish and I can say it's quite good. It wasn't as strong-flavored as I expected, but the cashew nuts really gave an enjoyable taste to the already-sweet and savory sauce. I think I would've enjoyed this more though if it had more heat.
For seafood lovers, the Talay Ruam Mit (P1,700) is a set you don't want to miss. It's pricey alright, but the grilled crabs, prawns and squids were as fresh as they can be. They were also served with Thai glass noodles, as well as a trio of sauces which perfectly complement the grilled seafood treats. Among these, I enjoyed the crabs the most even though they were the most difficult to eat. The squid were tender too and very tasty. My least favorite would probably be the prawns (despite my love for them). Although they were moist and flavorful, some parts were unevenly cooked (a little raw).
Desserts and Drinks
Above my love for Thai salads, noodles and entrées is my inclination for Thai desserts.
And to start our Thai dessert session was the Tako Khao Phod (P220) -- pieces of pandan leaf-encased coconut custard with sweet corn. Compared to other tako khao phods I've had, this serving is probably the most plain when it comes to appearance. However, this is also my most favorite out of all takos I've tried. The custard itself is very soft, smooth and creamy with a generous filling of corn and coconut bits. It also has a slight saltiness which goes really well with the coconut cream, and which I really love.
Since one dessert isn't enough, we also had the Tub Tim Grob (P250) which is a glass of red ruby chestnuts and jackfruit with Mango Tree's homemade coconut ice cream. Whenever a Thai dessert has red ruby chestnuts, I'm almost instantly sold. However, in this dessert's case, although I love the red ruby chestnuts, it was the coconut ice cream that stole the spotlight. Unlike most coconut ice creams around, this one is slightly salted which makes every spoonful a pleasurable taste of Thai dessert heaven.
For drinks, I had the Fresh Carrot & Orange Juice which was the Drink of the Day. It was very refreshing, energizing and had my preferred sweetness level. I also got a taste of their Thai Iced Tea (P90) which was creamy and had just the right balance of sweetness and that distinct Thai tea taste (from star anise and crushed tamarind seeds).
Everything we had from appetizers down to desserts were all of great quality. Whether you're a beginner at Thai cuisine or an experienced one, you'll find something to love from Mango Tree's wide array of offerings. You can even have your dishes adjusted to your liking. Price tag might not look friendly, but with an excellent selection of food, a set of courteous, alert and knowledgeable staff, and a cozy yet posh casual fine dining ambiance, I think spending, dining and returning to Mango Tree is well worth it!
Taste - 4.5/5
Ambiance - 5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Ambiance - 5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Mango Tree, Bonifacio High Street Central
G/F Bonifacio High Street Central, East Superblock,
7th Ave. cor. 29th St., Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Metro Manila, Philippines