“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.”

A striking mural and statement made by the late Anthony Bourdain is featured on the side of the restaurant, a unique tribute to Chef owner Peter Lloyd’s hero. Whilst there are an abundance of new restaurants opening each month in the capital, there are just as many established hidden gems yet to be discovered, and Sticky Mango is one of them, located just a short walk away from the bustling Waterloo Station.

The menu is inspired by Chef Peter Lloyd’s travels who has created his own modern interpretation of South East Asian cuisine, and being Malaysian, this definitely made my ears perk up in excitement. Sticky Mango was also awarded Best Fusion at the 2019 Golden Chopstick Awards, an awards ceremony which recognises East and South East Asian cuisine across the UK.

Upon entering, we passed by the bar on the ground floor before we made our way up the stairs to their intimate dining area, where we were seated next to their eye-catching cherry blossom tree installation. I loved the intricate floral illustrations on the wallpaper, the colours and detail complemented by the warm glow of the lamps and the natural light shining through the arched windows.

On their cocktail list, the classics have been given some interesting Asian twists which all sounded really tempting. I went for the Gula Melaka Rum because gula melaka always reminds me of home, a type of palm sugar that is often used in desserts. My dining partner had the Lychee Whisky Sour which I was also partial towards; anything with lychee is certainly up my street.

We started with some small plates to share between us to ease our hunger pangs. The chicken & shrimp nam rolls were fried until they were golden and crisp on the outside and contained a flavourful filling, which we were advised to wrap inside the gem lettuce leaves with fragrant herbs and enjoyed with the Nuoc Cham dipping sauce. The crab dumplings was a stand out dish and certainly set the bar for the evening, served with a deliciously rich laksa sauce with coriander oil and boiled quail egg. I would have happily devoured another portion of it on my own. The Thai spiced scallop is another dish not to miss out on; served as single portions, the scallop was perfectly seared, served on the shell with a creamy coconut cauliflower & vanilla puree and green curry emulsion.

Having black cod always feels like such a luxurious treat, and the miso glazed black cod certainly did not disappoint; the texture was incredibly silky and buttery, enhanced by the sweetness of the miso glaze, served with a refreshing pickled daikon & cucumber salad, black sesame and fragrant herbs. It has been a while since I’ve had chilli crab, a much-loved Southeast Asian seafood dish, and I was excited to taste their take on it, given a fancy twist with lobster instead of crab. The sauce had a good balance of sweet and savoury flavours and just the right thickness, which we hungrily scooped up with the crispy bao bun (or more often referred to as mantou), and finished the remaining with a side of pandan jasmine rice. From the meat section we ordered the Vietnamese confit duck leg that was tender and easily fell off the bone, coated in a flavoursome salted caramel & ginger glaze, served with celeriac puree, bok choi, and thinly sliced Asian pear that cut through the richness of the dish. Remembering not to neglect our greens, we had the tenderstem broccoli with water chestnuts and shiitake mushrooms, wok fried in an umami-rich oyster sauce.

The Deconstructed Tarte that sounded intriguing was unfortunately not available that evening, but the other desserts sounded equally as good. I loved the sound of the Black Sesame Doughnuts, which were three mini doughnut balls filled with black sesame cremeux & kaya jam, served with black sesame ice cream. And of course we had to order the eponymous Sticky Mango, served on a plate which held what looked like a cloud of foam, finished off at the table with lashings of coconut cream to reveal the fresh mango, black sticky rice & mango sorbet concealed underneath. This has always been one of my favourite childhood desserts and this contemporary execution ticked all the right boxes.

There were so many more dishes that I would have loved to try, but alas, one can only consume so much in one sitting. Which only means that we will have to head back again to satisfy our cravings.

Apart from the à la carte, they also have on offer a great valued tasting menu which is designed for a sharing concept of dining, priced at £45 per person. More information may be found on their website here.

  • My dinner at Sticky Mango was complimentary – views and photos are my own.

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