First US Mango Tree Wins Rave Reviews and a Food Fight; Next Up, Local-Sourced Seafood Gets Thai Makeover And A New Twist on Summer Brunch

April 21, 2015

Washington DC – Mango Tree DC is on a spring roll and getting hotter with a new Saturday & Sunday Summer Brunch Series and plans to get creative with locally-sourced seafood, as the first US restaurant for the leading global Thai cuisine brand continues to win fans and delight diners since its launch in February.


Reflecting on success: Mango Tree DC is packing them in with contemporary Thai cuisine in Washington DC’s new CityCenterDC.

The chic restaurant serving contemporary Thai cuisine in the national capital’s new lifestyle and culinary hub, CityCenterDC, has already garnered glowing reviews from leading critics, including the Washington Post’s notoriously tough chief food critic, Tom Sietsma, as it ramps up its new Thai twist on Saturday and Sunday Summer Brunch with locally sourced ingredients, local seafood specials and creative cocktails.

“Eating Chef Paul Kennedy’s papaya salad, funky with dried shrimp and pulsing with heat, puts me in mind of Bangkok,” Mr Siestsma wrote. “If there’s a more elegant yet swashbuckling green curry with chicken and eggplant to be found, it has managed to miss my spoon.” The reviewer said he had been impressed by the restaurant’s ability to feel personal despite its size and ambition. “Hosts put their hands together and bow to greet you , just as those who live in the Land of a Thousand Smiles do.

“Each dish shows up as if company were expected,” the Washington Post review continued. “Steamed red snapper, bright with lime, is a still life on a soft cushion of tofu and pale green bok choy. The fried catch of the day is curved, as if cooked in motion, and dressed with sweet chili sauce.

“Mango Tree seduces vegetarians, and even flesh-eaters, with a handful of imaginative dishes that take into consideration the brand’s worldwide audience, which extends to London and Dubai. The appetizers include a salad of velvety chopped mushrooms, crisp celery, scallions and peanuts electrified by a zesty lime dressing. (Kennedy uses assertive Thai celery in his toss.)”

Mango Tree Worldwide’s founder and CEO, Pitaya Phanphensophon, said good reviews were gratifying, as was being named ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Capital Food Fight, which this year saw more than 75 of Washington’s best restaurants come together for cook-offs and food tastings.

“Next order of business is to look at ramping up our Saturday & Sunday Summer Brunch Series, and doing something special with locally-sourced seasonal seafood,” Pitaya said. “We’ve got a 20-seat patio about to open too, so that will offer an extra al fresco dining option or can be booked by small groups for lunches, dinners or meetings.”

Mango Tree’s MD and spokesperson, Trevor MacKenzie, said CityCenterDC had lived up to its name as the capital’s new culinary hotspot. “We’ve become the cool new resto hangout. Now it’s going to be full steam ahead with seasonal specials for spring and into summer with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and capitalizing on the abundance of fresh seafood available that we don’t have in Thailand. So expect something new and exciting that takes Thai cuisine new places.

Mango Tree's Saturday & Sunday Summer Brunch

Brunch beckons: Mango Tree’s Saturday & Sunday Summer Brunch Series offers new creative twists and reasons to linger

“We have already launched a full brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, with creative cocktails and a Thai-English twist on breakfast with dishes like Eggs Benedict with Kaffir Lime hollandaise, and making our own sausages, north-eastern style – sai krok isaan.

“Phad Thai lobster is our monster smash hit. We can barely keep up with demand. The crispy catfish salad with mango salsa, and shrimp with lemongrass, it’s all sourced locally,” Mr MacKenzie said. “The locals love that we buy from farmers and fishermen in the vicinity.

“Spicy Siam, the cocktail, is doing well at our Thai Tapas Happy Hour. We have a great wine list that pairs well with Thai cuisine, and we are even looking more local in terms of our wines, with several Virginia wines on the list. Stay tuned for more of this and also a Thai wine-pairing dinner.”

Mr MacKenzie said the Mango Tree Worldwide stable of brands was on a roll globally too, with the recent successful launch of the Bangkok signature Mango Tree on the River as the group’s flagship and spiritual home, while the new additions to the global brand include Mango Tree Restaurant Qingdao in 2 weeks, Mango Tree Mumbai a month later and a Mango Tree Pop-up Restaurant that will open during Milan Expo, Italy, in August and September.

“With markets from Barcelona to Sydney also in Mango Tree’s sights it keeps me busy and on airplanes way too much,” says Mr MacKenzie. “But I love what I do and am proud to be part of Mango Tree and to help spread the new wave of Thai cuisine around the world.”

Mango Tree DC is also generating buzz for Barcelona design genius and 2013 Architectural Digest España Prize winner Lázaro Rosa-Violán’s stunning vision for the 6,800 square-foot space, which draws inspiration from Thailand with a twist of European ambiance.

US Opening: Mango Tree in Washington DC recently launched in the seat of power in the United States to rave reviews

US Opening: Mango Tree in Washington DC recently launched in the seat of power in the United States to rave reviews

Chef Paul Kennedy was recently tapped from within the group to oversee Mango Tree DC’s kitchen. Kennedy brings extensive experience to his new position. Having worked under world-renowned Michelin-starred chef Albert Roux at The Grand in Amsterdam, he has most recently spent the past four years serving as brand chef for Mango Tree’s restaurants which are located in top cities around the world including London, Dubai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Manila and Bangkok.

Kennedy has cultivated his culinary skills and passion for Thai cuisine’s bewitching balance of strong and exotic flavours and subtle nuances by spending considerable time in Thailand immersing himself in the world of Mango Tree, learning the culture and working under Pitaya’s wing.

At the new USA flagship location, Kennedy prepares genuine Thai dishes from each of the four main culinary regions: rich and full-flavored dishes from the North, spicy cuisine from the Northeast, more mild dishes influenced by the Chinese cooking style from the Central region, and hot and spicy dishes from the South. In each dish one will find an artful blending of textures and a harmonious balance of sweet, sour, salty and spice notes.

Besides its commitment to local sourcing, Mango Tree is also distinguished by going to great lengths to secure hormone-free and ethically farmed meats, and always searching out high quality ingredients.

Mango Tree DC is located at CityCenterDC at 929 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001, three blocks from the Metro Center Metro. Mango Tree is open for lunch , happy hour & dinner service. For more information please visit: www.mangotreedc.com, https://twitter.com/mangotreedc, or https://www.facebook.com/mangotreedc

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