Using a blend of Asian spices and fresh ingredients, the delectable flavors of Thai food dance on the palate. In fact, the cuisine has garnered so many fans that almost every big city in Indonesia features Thai restaurants.
In the capital, one eatery in particular, Mango Tree Bistro, aims to delight fans of Thai food with traditional dishes in a trendy atmosphere.
“[Thai food] fans [in Indonesia] are increasing these days,” said Mango Tree Bistro public relations officer Kartika Zulfiani. “It’s probably because the flavors are familiar to Indonesian palates.”
With spacious indoor and outdoor dining areas, Mango Tree features a simple industrial design with an exotic twist. Metalwork in beautiful coral reef designs accent the restaurant’s gray plastered walls. Colorful paper lanterns and terracotta rooster plaques create a warm, homey ambience.
“They’re imported directly from Thailand,” said Kartika. “They’re a reminiscent of the Sky Lantern Festival held in Thailand every year.”
Diners can relax in the outdoor area, which boasts low-backed sofas with plush cushions, or sit at a table in the dining room, right near the wooden bar with a black marble counter top.
The menu offers a wide variety of Thai delights. The pomelo salad, served with grated coconut and shrimp, provides the perfect start to any meal — it’s a beautiful combination of sweet, sour and savory flavors that tantalize the taste buds.
Or choose from one of Mango Tree’s hot appetizers, such as pandan chicken — poultry cutlets wrapped in small, brownish packets made from pandan leaves, with a side of sesame-speckled soy sauce. Just after opening the warm packets, a sweet-smelling aroma wafts above the plate, enticing diners for the next course.
“It takes us quite a long time to prepare this dish,” said assistant sous-chef Ahmad. “The chicken is marinated in various spices for four hours, before it is wrapped in pandan leaves and cooked.”
For the main course, Mango Tree offers a wide selection of rice and noodle dishes. One menu highlight, stir-fried beef with rice, consists of minced beef marinated in spices for three to four hours and cooked with fresh basil leaves. The result is a dish full of appetizing aromas and flavors, but perhaps a bit too spicy for some.
“Please tell us if you’d like to tone down the spiciness of your dishes,” said Ahmad. “We can prepare them according to your preferences.”
As for noodles, the pad Thai is a feast for the senses. The dish looks very appealing, blanketed with a thin, lightly-browned omelet and a pair of green leeks provide an interesting garnish.
Under the omelet, a couple of plump, pink shrimp sit atop the al dente Thai rice noodles. Each bite boasts sweet, savory and slightly tart flavors. To add a touch of piquancy to the dish, it’s served with a side of chili powder, ground peanuts and a squeeze of lime.
No meal at Mango Tree is complete without a sample of its famous tom yum seafood soup. Shrimp, mussels, scallops and sliced fish fillet swim in fresh coconut milk, making for a rich broth.
“We’re quite generous with the spices and fresh ingredients for our dishes,” said Ahmad. “That makes our dishes very delicious and special.”
To quench diners’ thirst, the restaurant also mixes up a variety of refreshing cocktails and mocktails.
One favorite, the Mango Tree Bellini, consists of vodka, peach schnapps and orange juice blended with fresh mango. Served chilled in a martini glass, the saffron-hued cocktail is a perfect choice for a balmy afternoon.
In the mocktail category, the Rose Berry None’tini is a sure standout. Fresh lime juice, strawberries, red fruit tea and lychee syrup blend into a sweet, icy concoction. The diced strawberries at the bottom of the glass are perfect to nibble on after slurping up the last drop of the beverage.
Mango Tree Bistro also offers live music on weekends. On Fridays, a live acoustic show starts at 7 p.m. On Saturdays, bands entertain guests with Top 40 songs starting at 8 p.m.
During its promotion period, which runs until December, parties who reserve a table for 10 or more people will receive one bottle of red or white wine for free. Mango Tree is also running specials on beer on weekdays, so be sure to ask your server for more details.
For a taste of Thailand, look no further than Mango Tree Bistro. Its fun, relaxing setting makes it the perfect place to kick back and have a bite of the spicy, delicate cuisine.
Mango Tree Bistro
Epiwalk Ground Floor
H.R. Rasuna Said
Kuningan, South Jakarta
Tel. 021 2994 1303
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