Restaurant Review: Sticky Mango, Lambeth in London
Serving up a progressive style of delightful South East Asian cuisine is London’s Sticky Mango.
With a menu inspired by street food from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore, the restaurant site has been serving diners for over 40 years and happens to be the oldest restaurant on the South Bank. It has seen many owners but none so salubrious as Peter Lloyd. He previously worked as the executive chef for 5 years at the renowned Spice Market Restaurant, appears regularly on TV shows and is also the owner of Kama Sushi London.
I stepped inside the packed restaurant on a particularly ‘sticky’ night and immediately felt a buzz. There was a lively atmosphere, modern décor, rustic tables with leather chairs and a black brick wall covered with beautiful earthenware bowls, complemented by low lighting and muted colours. Our waiter was super friendly and told us he lived locally and had been working in the restaurant for over 9 years.
I started with the most wonderful rum cocktails; Captain Morgan spiced rum, lime and gula melaka (palm sugar), which went down far too quickly and were reordered a number of times! When it came to deciding on food I chose the vegan tasting menu, whilst my dining partner, Darren went al a carte. I started with the classic salted steamed edamame (although plenty for us both to share) and a Thai green mango salad with candied ginger dressing and cashew nuts. The salad was beautifully fresh with a zing of chilli and ginger which complemented the sweet mango and crunchy nuts; a real winner for me. Darren chose chicken satay, with crispy chicken skin, which he described as juicy and tender with a deliciously deep, crunchy peanut and tamarind sauce. He licked his fingers clean.
Next I had popiah vegetable roll with crispy ginger and garlic and a sweet soy dressing. These were beautiful, crunchy vegetables and ginger packed in a soft spring roll, drizzled with hoisin and sweet soy. Heavenly and too good to share!
Darren’s main arrived and it looked outstanding. Indonesian sea bass cooked in a banana leaf with pickled vegetables and lime, he said the fish was cooked to perfection, with sharp pickled vegetables and a hint of lime, making this fresh and vibrant. This was accompanied with the best potato dish either of us had ever eaten. Crispy baby potatoes, peanut sauce, Asian mayonnaise and spring onions. The potatoes were so crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle with a rich, dark, spicy peanut sauce, drizzled with yuzu mayonnaise. Darren left me the ones without mayo to try and I was so inspired I have researched a vegan alternative to cook at home.
I was then brought char kuey teow; stir fried noodles with spring onions and wok fried tender stem broccoli with shiitake mushrooms and water chestnuts. The char kuey teow was my favourite dish of the night, vegetables with soft noodles, sweetness from the sauce, crunchy bean sprouts and garnished with coriander. The broccoli was beautifully al dente with crunchy water chestnuts and earthy mushrooms, all encased in a sticky sauce. I had to leave half of this as I knew more dishes were coming and I was getting full! The waiter kindly said he would package this up for me, it was far too good to waste.
My next dish was Thai green vegetable curry with pandan jasmine rice. This was everything a Thai curry should be; a sweet yet sharp deep green sauce with lots of chilli and coconut and packed full of fresh, brightly coloured vegetables, accompanied with sticky jasmine rice served in a delightful little wooden bowl.
Lastly came 2 desserts from the tasting menu, so we decided to share. Firstly, their signature dish and inspiration for the brand; sticky mango, sweet sticky rice and mango, and then grilled pineapple satay, passion fruit chilli emulsion and spiced peanuts. The sticky mango was theatrical, it came in cased in a white shell which was melted at the table with coconut cream, this revealed slices of mango, with a mango sorbet on a bed of black sticky rice. The dish was unusual yet beautiful, a sophisticated rice pudding and as far as way as possible from the ones served up to you at school. The grilled pineapple satay was also interesting. Skewered chunks of grilled pineapple topped with spicy crunchy peanuts and drizzled with a sweet sauce, ready to dip in the passion fruit chilli emulsion. This was a wonderful mousse, with a deep passion fruit flavour and had a serious kick. On its own it was too spicy for me but with the pineapple it was a marriage made in heaven.
South East Asian food is probably one of my favourites of all and Sticky Mango did not disappoint. The restaurant is modern but traditional, lively and uber cool. The food is authentic yet unique, beautifully presented, tasty and interesting. Peter’s travels have inspired his food and no attention to detail has been spared. I cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough.
Being on the south bank and close to so many renowned theatres, the restaurant does a great pre-theatre trade and so I advise you book a table later in the evening to avoid disappointment. There is a lunch and pre-theatre deal of £19.50 for 2 courses and £23.50 for 3 courses, which in London is very reasonable indeed. Small plates range from £4-£10, rice and vegetables from £6-10, mains from £16-£34 and desserts from £5-£7. There are a range of tasting menus to try and I was extremely impressed with the vegan one and cannot wait to visit again.
Address: 33 Coin St, Lambeth, London SE1 9NR / 020 7803 9733