YOHO‘s not done with you yet. Hot on the heels of our last Yuen Long adventure at ANA Sushi, we dive back into Western New Territories‘ foodie paradise to go shopping mall dining. The Mango Tree concept focuses on a unique medley of preparing Thai cuisine using traditional ingredients and French techniques, as well as applying Thai cooking techniques to Western ingredients. It‘s a bit of a mix-and-match type of approach, really, but we were eager to sample the results, so we marched our taste buds through a seven-course menu featuring dishes exclusive to Mango Tree Café‘s new YOHO Mall location.
The interior itself is worth a mention. Floor-to-ceiling hand-painted murals and lofty ceilings dominate the initial dining area, replete with mood lights and some semi-private corner booths, but a quick step further into the restaurant reveals a more café-like, casual setting, decked out in walls of verdure with generous natural light.
Deep-fried seafood and vegetable cake
Five-spice crispy chicken
Most of the highlights of the day came at the head of the meal. Large balls of deep-fried seafood and vegetables cake ($88) made for a light and crunchy starter without the guilt of eating excessively oily food. But little could compare to the pinnacle of our lunch, the fragrant five-spice crispy chicken ($138). Aromatic, tender chicken meat wrapped in crisp, lightly charred skin was served with perfectly salty prawn crackers. The lemongrass, garlic and kaffir lime seasoning of the chicken made each flavourful bite memorable and had us fighting our tablemates for more.
Crab and river prawn with pad thai sauce
Deep-fried breaded pork fillet
Digging into the deep-fried breaded pork fillet ($88) spoke to the German in me (yes, I am aware the schnitzel is actually Austrian), and though we commend it for its adequate execution, we did consider its inclusion on the menu to be rather out of place as there was very little about it that screamed Thai at us, despite the side of Thai tomato salad and spicy potato wedges. We usually prefer our schnitzel slathered in a hearty gravy as well. As crunchy and tender as this version was, it didn‘t quite match up; we think it may need a trip back to the drawing broad.
Another dish that fell flat for us was the crab and river prawn with pad thai sauce ($228). Though the flavourings had all the makings for a sound dish, the time and effort it took to coax out whatever meagre meat was to be found in the crab ultimately turned us off any further attempts. We contended with piling our plates high with the saucy vegetables instead and let others have a go at the crustacean. If making a mess at the table and slopping sauce on your daywear sounds like a dream come true, well, we have the place for you.
Read more: Cheap Eats in Yuen Long
Luckily, the last dessert dish redeemed our meal. Big fans as we are of tiramisu, little else could make it better or more enjoyable, but Mango Tree Café had some impressive tricks up their sleeves. Folding the sweet, delicate flavours of Thai milk tea into ice cream form and coupling it with creamy tiramisu made their Thai-tea-ramisu ($58) an unforgettable treat. In fact, a look at their dessert menu brought out the greedy in us. From lychee momo to choco rocky road and mango tango, there‘s an abundance of ice cream, brownies, mousse, panna cotta and jelly that have the power to sway us to return for a second time.
We dug the atmosphere and the tasteful, labour-intensive decor at Mango Tree Café, and even though the food itself was tasty enough to hold us over, it didn‘t deliver that much-needed kick to help it to stand out from other Thai eateries of the same calibre. Though we were keenly informed about the French influences in the creation of the dishes, we saw very little of it on our plates. We would recommend it for its experimental Thai tiramisu and downright delicious five-spice crispy chicken, but little else stuck with us after our visit.
Shop 1035, 1/F, YOHO Mall I, 9 Yuen Lung Street, Yuen Long, 2602 2878
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author's.