Ample parking on the doorstep was a good start. Then it got better. Mangosteen´s restaurant stands on high ground with a commanding view of Chalong Bay, Rawai and nearby islands.
We arrived with no preconceived idea about what we wanted to eat, so were more than happy when our host suggested that we try the Thai menu. He explained that the chef had created a menu of authentic Thai dishes from the Rama IV and Rama V period, beginning over 100 years ago, that are prepared in the true Thai style and absolutely not modified for western palettes. We were curious; it sounded interesting, even though I´m not good with spicy food.
As a pre-menu taster, we were given an innovative Thai green curry and Mussaman curry in small ceramic cups with a crusty oven-baked roti on top. The combination worked well.
Our main course appeared shortly after, in the form of a fully loaded stainless steel three-tiered tower.
The top level was laden with Skewers of chicken, capsicum and onion; Skewers of slow-cooked beef with coriander seed and garlic; Skewers of prawn in satay sauce; Spicy ground duck salad and Deep-fried fish cake. All mouth-watering, tender and well inside my `spicy range´.
The middle tier had King prawns in the shells; Whole fried squid, sliced; Khai look khei (deep fried egg in tamarind dressing); Pla rad prig (deep-fried seabass with sweet and spicy garlic sauce); Phad krapow gai (ground stir-fried chicken with chillies, garlic and Thai basil).
The lower tier consisted of Hor mok poo (curried blue crab cooked in the shell); Tom kha gai (chicken with galangal and coconut soup); Gaeng khew waan nheua (green curry with beef, kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil).
We also had the opportunity to try a Thai red wine, choosing a Syrah Reserve Red from Chateau de Loei Winery, ideal to accompany moderately spicy Thai dishes.
We battled on with the food tower, tasting every dish, but were beaten by the quantity, even though all the portions were fairly small - much like a Thai version of Tapas. The opportunity to sample so many dishes - superbly prepared and, without exception, delicious - was unusual and a really great feature of Mangosteen´s Thai menu.
To round off our Thai evening, we had coffee grown in northern Thailand, locally roasted and ground, along with a tasty Thai-style Cooked banana in cream coconut and Thai herb sauce. A simple, but absolutely brilliant, traditional Thai dessert.
If, despite what we found, you don´t fancy Thai food, Mangosteen also offers a full international menu, as well as an extensive wine, beer and cocktail list.
This really is a place to go back to! Tremendous views, seating that feels quite private and an alfresco setup. There´s even the choice of booking a romantic private dinner for two in the wine cellar, only a few metres away, but some three metres underground - with climate control of course.
The Mangosteen team hasn´t reinvented the wheel when it comes to Thai food, but they have revived the older style of cooking and can be proud of offering one of the few fully authentic Thai menus in Phuket, all the way from starters through to desserts, and including both the coffee and wine. I was impressed.