Chef Peter Lloyd’s Sticky Mango wows in London’s Tower BridgeHALAL STATUS Halal chicken & lamb (prepped & cooked separately) • Alcohol & pork served
We were looking forward to visitng Sticky Mango for a number of reasons with the biggest being the calibre of chef behind this London-based restaurant.
With three locations that include Islington and Waterloo, the site we decided to review was their recently opened flagship store in Tower Bridge.
While a spacious alfresco terrace offers some 50 diners stunning riverside views overlooking the Thames, there’s room aplenty for an additional 100 in what is a captivating interior.
Perhaps the most striking feature is Sticky Mango’s bespoke epoxy resin floor, whose turquoise, pink, lilac and gold colour-scheme sets the tone for a restaurant that also boasts blossom trees, glass raindrop chandeliers, and wall-art depicting drooping orchids and hummingbirds.
Who is Sticky Mango’s Chef Patron Peter Lloyd?
But undoubtedly Sticky Mango’s biggest draw has to be the man behind the venture, Chef Patron Peter Lloyd, whose credentials speak for themselves.
With 25 years of culinary experience, which started with him training at The House of Commons and the world-famous Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, Chef Lloyd was awarded two AA Rosettes for his first head chef position at RSJ Restaurant in Waterloo aged just 23.
Having worked under such creative maestros as Pierre Koffmann, Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White and the late Chef Charlie Trotter, Chef Lloyd eventually discovered his passion for South East Asian cuisine.
This culminated in 2016 with him helping to open Sticky Mango Waterloo, before launching a new flagship venue in Tower Bridge in August 2023 followed by the Islington branch in September 2023.
With Chef Lloyd having implemented strict procedures in the kitchen to ensure that the Halal chicken and lamb dishes are prepped and cooked separately to ensure no cross-contamination, the restaurant brand’s fusion menu focuses on the cuisines of Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, with plenty of fish dishes available.
What’s more, Sticky Mango is accessible via a 10 minutes walk from London Bridge rail and tube, as well as 10-13 minutes from Bermondsey tube and Fenchurch Street tube, respectively.
On paper, their non-alcoholic cocktails struck us as sophisticated concoctions. The reality though was that, swiftly moving past the insipid Nori Iced Tea, the Virgin Mai Tai had the most complex flavour profile. This was a pleasantly mellow affair, with a candy-like taste thanks to the addition of Lyre’s, which is a non-alcoholic spiced cane spirit containing 0.5% ABV (Alcohol By Volume) or less, that’s equivalent to trace amounts of alcohol found in orange juice (0.16%-0.73%).
As for the Virgin Hibiscus Sour, then its sourness came through subtly, with a hint of fruitiness. Otherwise, not much else.
This clever take on the traditional spring roll had delicately thin and crunchy, cylindrical pastry shells being filled with a juicy tuna tartare paste, and coated in a streak of what we think was avocado cream, before being topped with a slither of radish and a dollop of caviar.
The real magic, however, was in dipping these Spicy Tuna Tartare Spring Rolls in the accompanying ginger soy sauce to impart that touch of spicy tanginess. Superb!RECOMMENDED
We weren’t quite sure what bowled us over first, the uber crumbly texture of the pillowy-soft pastry encasing, or the incredible aroma of the moist and deftly-spiced chicken therein.
Finished with a fried curry leaf garnish, the coriander yoghurt on the side helped masterfully cut through the richness of the meat filling. An extra portion please!RECOMMENDED
“The best I’ve ever had,” is how one Lion described Sticky Mango’s version of the classic Chicken Satay, with just enough of a twist to stay true to tradition while pushing the boundaries in the right direction.
The genius here was the skill with which Chef Lloyd managed to carry through the smokiness of expertly charred chicken to complement the sticky marination which, truth be told, is worthy of being bottled.
And if things couldn’t get any better, he paired these sticks with a delicious peanut and tamarind sauce that took things to an elite level.RECOMMENDED
“Oh my goodness” indeed, with this Crispy Shredded Crab Roll providing an exercise in combining multiple textures to leave you masticating in sheer delight.
The crispy batter coating was the perfect foil against the tender crab and soft rice interior, with the subtlety of the spices from the Asian mayo marrying effortlessly with the smoky hint from the teriyaki, before ending on a tangy note.RECOMMENDED
Simply faultless so far, with this Black Pepper Prawns making it five in five for Sticky Mango’s starters in what turned out to be arguably the strongest starters menu we’ve reviewed this year!
Here was yet another innovative plate where we had plump and tender prawns coated in a rich and flavourous peppery marination being beautifully tempered by chunks of dehygrated pineapple, with bits of white Mexican turnip called jicama adding a light zingy edge.
This Massaman Lamb Shank, although attractively presented, ultimately flattered to deceive.
As for the sauce, which was reasonably thick with some good peppery heat to it, we did find it to be somewhat subdued and one-dimensional, in spite of the sweetness brought by the few glazed shallots.
Similarly, the potatoes, despite their softness, failed to add what this dish was screaming for: some much needed diversity.RECOMMENDED
The cooking of the chicken in this Mamak BBQ Chicken, on the other hand, were flawless, with simple ingredients done really well.
Here we had thick and succulent pieces of expertly-charred breast and thigh smothered in a sophisticated sweet and spicy, mango-chilli sauce, whose gentle heat was dampened by the sharpness of the pickled red onion salad sprinkled over the top.
Exceptional cooking is what defined this Indonesian Style Sea Bass. Being baked in a banana leaf meant a whole fish succulent and juicy to the core, and bursting with flavour.
This is certainly one for those who love the taste and aroma of lemongrass, which one Lion admittedly found a little too strong for his liking.
Nevertheless, this venerable classic will not disappoint, with a medley of pickled vegetables, which include baby carrots, to keep things interesting until the very end (don’t forget a good squeeze of the accompanying wedge of lime).RECOMMENDED
Here’s another example of fish being judged to a tee. This time the highly sought-after black cod, which, aside from being so dreamily cooked that it virtually flaked apart to unveil near-translucent layers of moist flesh at a mere glance, was based in a miso glaze.
Served with a refreshingly good pickled cucumber salad sprinkled with sesame seeds, if we were being overly critical, we would have wanted out glaze to deliver more on that sweet-smokiness. Extremely satisfying nonetheless.
This Monkfish Cha Cha La Vong was a plate of two halves. Notwithstanding another superbly executed piece of fish – this type always having a firmer texture than most other fish – what we couldn’t get past collectively was the taste of the stock in which the glistening noodles were mixed in. This had a weirdly unpleasant smell and taste which spoiled things.
An elegantly-crafted dish this Thai Spiced Cauliflower, with a spicious rub having been applied to the top of the florets before being grilled.
Served in a bowl full of a watery coconut and vanilla puree with a green curry emulsion running through it, which added a fragrant sweetness to the dish, this was both enjoyable and rather novel too.
An absolutely fantastic side this Wok Fried Tenderstem Broccoli, which was made special by a deeply rich and satisfying smoky-sweet oyster sauce.
Add to the broccoli, which retained a really good crunchy bite; the shiitake mushrooms, which had nicely absorbed the sauce to offer a contrasting soft bite, and some snappy water chestnuts, and you’ll want to save some of that heady sauce for some other dishes.
On paper, this had our mouth-watering. Alas, this turned out to be the weakest link, with the rice not only betraying a reheated-cum-refried texture, but not much truffle materialised either.
A definitive one for the Instagrammers, their signature dessert was stupendous, having taken the traditional and tweaked it just enough for the modern audience.
Starting with a pitcher of warm coconut cream being poured over a candy-floss dome which, while melting away into the black sticky rice, revealed a smaller dome-shaped mango sorbet juxtaposed with a wedge of mango hidden underneath.
The amalgamation turned out to be delightful contrast between and the warm and cold, as well as the sticky and wet, with a sweet nectar sauce as a reward at the end to slurp down. Yum!RECOMMENDED
Light and crispy on the outside, and gorgeously chewy on the in, who could say no to a giant Macaron, and that too a zesty one which contrasted well against the sweetness of caramel ice cream and soy sauce?
Pro tip: If you have the patience, then simply wait for the ice cream to melt, before spreading it out across the inside to make a veritable sandwich.
We didn’t quite rate this as highly as the aforementioned. Nevertheless, a playful end to an excellent evening at Sticky Mango.
Again full marks for innovation, but this Peanut Nougat Satay was more a disparate collection of items, albeit very well made, rather than a coherent one.
For it was, however, the soft nougat-on-a-stick was precisely as it should have been: grilled on the outside to achieve a delicately crispy exterior while being soft and chewy on the in.
Additionally, the swirls of peanut butter topped by a peanut butter brittle, although more a sauce than a mousse, not only succeeding in adding their intended flavour profile, but also went well with a scoop of charcoal ice cream whose lime barely came through.
A word too on their playful Jasmine With Love green tea brand.
This is a flora tea comprising of a single tea-ball heart which, while initially floating at the surface of the glass, slowly begins its descent to the bottom of the cup and its slowly brews. Once it settles at the bottom, the tea is ready to enjoy.
- YES/ YES
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED ACCESS
And though the mains didn't quite live up to the high standards, the desserts ended the evening on a high note. With strict procedures in place in the kitchen to ensure that the Halal and fish dishes are prepped and cooked separately so as to avoid any cross-contamination, we're confident in putting Sticky Mango up as a very strong recommendation, especially given the overall strength of the menu.
With Chef Lloyd looking to introduce Halal steaks in the coming weeks, diners might also like to note the 13.5% discretionary service charge.
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