I had booked the Mango Tree in Victoria for lunch with Les Girls, our first opportunity to get together after Nice. On the Sunday I was called to reconfirm though I find this an unnecessary practice. All the more so as the Mango Tree is a spacious restaurant and only four tables were taken. This presented a problem of atmosphere but at least we ate comfortably.
My problem with high-end Asian dining is perceiving any qualitative difference with more cheaper outlets. In Brighton the Chinese cuisine at Danny’s, essentially a take away restaurant, is every bit as good as more fashionable restaurants three times their price. Many pubs serve Thai food and there is a thriving market now in street food. My scallops in a garlicky sauce followed by sea bass wrapped in lettuce were well cooked and presented but were they worth double the price of a less glitzy place? Probably not. The desserts were better . I had a banana cake with banana ice cream whilst she the nauseatingly slender Grania piled into 1000 calories of ice dream and choccy cake . The service was good but veered towards the over obtrusive .
Olly has booked up our winter holiday in Phuket in Thailand which neither of us have ever visited. Our reserve cleaner is a delightfully animated Thai girl who sends back money to build a temple in her village. They seem a friendly smiling race and no doubt Olly has a naughty massage in mind with some nubile young Thai!!! I wouldn’t mind one myself !!! Mind you, having met some fairly revolting specimens the wrong side of twenty stone in his golf club boasting of their adventures in Pattaya Beach I feel more sorry for the locals exposed to this.
But back to the food. I had Thai beer to get me into mode as apparently the wine is both expensive and mediocre and the bill came to £60 per person for three courses and no other alcohol. I felt this was on the high side but we were in a superior type of place. Victoria is bit of a restaurant graveyard away from W1 and would it be helped by its proximity to the station and Buckingham Palace with a tourist trade ? I could not see any such diners. We spoke of Nice over lunch and it’s fine restaurants but London has the edge on diversity as I saw no Thai restaurants there