March 15, 2019: We decided to check out this new Thai restaurant in Markham called Mango Tree Thai Fusion Restaurant. It’s located on the second floor of the building where Take One Karaoke is (along Woodbine Avenue). If you call in to make a reservation, you can get 10% off your bill, which I promptly did upon seeing this deal on their Instagram page.
(I’m not sure if there is a case of mistaken identity here because they are firstly known as “Mango Tree Thai Fusion Restaurant” on their website but “Mango Tree Markham” on Instagram and their store signage says “Mango Tree & Elements”. So which one is their official name?!)
When I arrived at the address, I was confused as to where the actual restaurant was. I knew that it was on the second floor but didn’t see any signs showing any sign of the restaurant (no pun intended). I had to text my friend who told me it was inside of the building where the karaoke was. It wasn’t until I walked to the second doorway of the 7850 Woodbine building that I finally saw a sign for the restaurant. You can either take the stairs or the elevator to get to the second-floor restaurant. The building itself felt dark and shady, especially when you get on the loud-humming elevator.
Mango Tree Thai Fusion Restaurant takes the space of what looks like a sports bar. It was so spacious in there! There was plenty of space between the tables (lots of privacy and no risk of anyone overhearing your conversations). There was a bar, a gigantic near floor-to-ceiling TV screen showing that evening’s hockey game playing as well as more TV screens around the room. In the distant space of the restaurant, I could see some darts machines and a pool table. This is really the perfect place for a sports bar! (Edit: While taking a look at their website, they really are marketed as both a restaurant and a sports bar. When I first noticed the restaurant from my Instagram feed, I thought they were only a restaurant which made walking into the room really confusing. Maybe they should emphasize more of the sports bar aspect in their image rather than just a “Thai restaurant”.)
We were only one of two parties there for the majority of the night. It felt a little eerie to be one of two tables of customers that night on a Friday night, especially so when the space was already so large and airy.
I liked the cover design of the menu featuring some hand drawn mangoes on branches. The menu itself featured various soups, salads, starters, curries, fried rice, main dishes, desserts, as well as a good selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. They also had specials for each day. Since it was a Friday, we selected the $5 Moo Ping Skewers to share (it’s usually priced at $9). We also ordered the green curry with rice and beef as well as the Tom Yum with noodles and chicken.
It didn’t take long for the Moo Ping Skewers starter to arrive. There were only three skewers on the plate (we picked the beef and chicken skewers; pork was an option too). The chicken skewers were surprisingly tender and moist and to my liking. The beef skewer was so-so. I can’t believe that this small appetizer is usually priced at $9! I’m so glad that it was a Friday so we got it for $5. (Or perhaps is the portion bigger when you pay the original price?)
(Upon the appetizer being served, we weren’t given any serving plates or serving utensils. Instead of asking the solitary server for it, we spotted a table with all the extra plates and utensils and helped ourselves to it.)
The bowl of Tom Yum soup with noodles was very large. This was a hot and sour lemongrass broth with tomatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, spring onions, coriander, and bean sprouts. We picked the option of having noodles and chicken in it.
We split this giant bowl of noodles between the three of us. I thought that even though we split it three-ways, the amount of noodles in the bowl was lacking. The broth itself was nice with a hot and sour taste, but the toppings and noodles were very mediocre.
Lastly, the green curry with rice and beef arrived. The green curry and beef were served inside of a coconut shell which made its presentation look very nice and authentic. The white rice was served separately on a plate. Surprisingly, this was the best item of the night. I thoroughly enjoyed the creamy coconut milk curry. The green curry (with basil, eggplant, sweet peppers, and onions) was not spicy. The rice also was very soft which helped to “soak” up the green curry to become a very “comfort food” kind of meal.
We ordered the Mango Tree Sticky Rice (sticky rice with mangoes served with a side of coconut cream) for dessert. This dessert took a while to come out and when we asked the server about it, it was only then that he informed us that it would take about 15 minutes to prepare. Nevertheless, the portion was pretty good for $11, but the taste and quality was so-so.
The sliced mangoes were a bit sour and definitely not sweet. The coconut cream was the better part of the dessert. (I still remember fondly a very good mango sticky rice I’ve had nearly a lifetime ago at Vietnam Noodle Star — I wonder if their mango sticky rice is still as good as I remember it?)
Needless to say, the first impression of this restaurant is a rather confusing one. They are practically made to be a sports bar but they advertise themselves to be a Thai fusion restaurant, which doesn’t really mesh well. There were practically tumbleweeds rolling around during our stay and we wondered what their staying power was in this isolated area of Woodbine Avenue amidst today’s difficult restaurant scene. It is actually a great place to watch the game with a gigantic wall-to-ceiling TV screen.
To better align themselves with a sports bar though (if they decide to go that route, and why not if they have the space and amenities for it), they should serve more sports bar food like wings by the dozen, nachos, chips, fries, and other various finger foods in addition to promoting themselves appropriately to draw in the right clientele. Also, an actual restaurant sign in the front of the building should be erected so that people know where the restaurant is.
Has anyone been here on the weekends or late nights? Are they always this empty and devoid of customers? Is their lunch service more popular?