Avant-garde Asian, anyone? Sophie Ritchie gets her fusion five-a-day with a visit to Sticky Mango, the buzzy restaurant serving up stylish South East Asian flavours
A ten minute stroll from Waterloo Station, with South Bank on its doorstep, Sticky Mango is a two-storey restaurant serving up artistic platefuls of high end South East Asian cuisine.
Inside, simple interiors reflect the dishes being brought to the tables. Leather-backed chairs paired with dark wooden tables, bamboo placemats, hanging light fixtures and a small jungle of potted plants dotted about the venue all add to its fusion feel.
Outside, an enormous mural of the late Anthony Bourdain reflects chef/owner’s Peter Lloyd’s dedication to his craft – with the words “Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life” sprawled across the white wall.
Commissioned by Lloyd to celebrate Bourdain Day (a dedicated day on June 25th to honour the late culinary legend) this famed quote reflects the vibrancy of the cuisine awaiting within from Spice Market’s former Executive Chef. Which brings me to the exotic experience itself.
The Food & Drink
I visit on a weekday evening, foodie friend in tow, and arrive to find a thriving venue filled on each floor with chatting diners.
It’s worth noting that there’s a wide mix of guests sitting around us. Business folk loosening their ties, friends clinking wine glasses, families swapping side plates – I spot them all and more.
The relaxed atmosphere is obviously magnetising – it feels casual, laid-back and invitingly informal after a hard day’s work.
Rather than ordering from the a la carte menu, our waiter informs us that he’ll bringing a selection of dishes to try, with variations from the tasting menu (as I don’t eat meat).
A parade of modern style platters and bowls are thus brought out, giving us a flavour of Lloyd’s edible trip across the globe.
Presented beautifully, with gorgeous artistic arrangement, we try a myriad of flavours. The Thai Green Mango Salad is a softly fruity hit, with candied ginger dressing and a smattering of crunchy cashew nuts.
The Crab Dumplings (£10) are also worth an order, made with soft quail egg and rich laska sauce. Another indulgent winner is the Truffle Egg Fried Rice.
A more glamorous take on the classic, this is a stick-to-your-ribs bowl of flavoursome rice with added leek and truffle paste.
For the fish fans however, try the Indonesian Style Sea Bass (£18.50) for a feast of whole boneless sea bass accompanied with lime and pickled vegetables. It’s supple, smooth and ideal for a meaty taste of the ocean.
I’m surprised to taste so much pineapple in the Char-Grilled Tiger Prawn Curry, but the zingy sauce is a hit – the pineapple notes shining through and complimenting the curry’s rich sauce beautifully.
The veggie dishes are also ultra fresh and vibrant – both the Steamed Bok Choi and Wok Fried Tenderstem Broccoli stand out against the dark wooden table with their emerald green shades.
By the time the dessert courses roll around, I’m tempted to unbutton my jeans – I’m absolutely stuffed from the filling dishes. I keep my dignity and finish with a duo of delights – the Grilled Pineapple Satay, presented as skewered golden fruit flecked with mint, and the statement Sticky Mango.
A bowl of thick black sticky rice, a sun-like orb of mango sorbet and coconut cream, it’s the total opposite to the pineapple’s lightness. Somehow, I find my spoon going back for scoop after scoop – I’m a hopeless moth to a flame when it comes to the intriguing sweetness.
The Wordrobe Verdict
Chef Peter Lloyd’s passion for exceptional South East Asian cuisine can be tasted in every fresh mouthful at Sticky Mango.
Served by a team of friendly staff (who definitely get their daily steps with so many stairs to climb) this buzzing restaurant is excellent for an evening of avant-garde Asian flavours.
Make it happen
Where: 33 Coin Street, London, SE1 9NR
How: Please phone 02078039733 or click here to make a reservation.
Words by Sophie Ritchie, Editor
PLUS: Sticky Mango is launching an 11-course TASTE OF INDONESIA tasting menu, available from Friday 6th September – 31 October 2019. The dish line-up features Peter’s interpretations of Indonesian regional cuisine, following his visit to Bali in July this year – and we assure you it’s a feast for the senses.