What was on the menu Friday last was truly the last thing on our minds when UK PR ‘It’ girl Jessica Huie invited us to dinner with Nollywood’s (you’ve heard of Bollywood, right? Well, in Nigeria and other parts of Africa it’s... you guessed it) superstar Omotola J Ekeinde who was in from Nigeria. Former MTV Europe boss, now with the BBC, Jasmin Dotiwala was invited as was New African Woman editor Regina Jane Jere.
Mango Tree Thai restaurant at Grosvenor Place, Belgravia was where we all met, dropped handbags, slipped into our seats and got comfy in-between sips of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet as we traversed the globe, fixing all ills in a record three hours.
Omosexy, as Omotola is known in Nigeria where she juggles wife and mother duties from all accounts with ease, shared with us: “My husband (an airline pilot) is an excellent father and my children, all four, let me hasten to add, are well-behaved and, most importantly, get what I’m doing.” Indeed, the cameraman does too. Omotola, who’s getting ready for a reality TV programme, was wired and we were all along for the ride. Jamaica’s nonchalant attitude to celebs amused and fascinated Jasmin Dotiwala.
Regina Jane Jere was in relaxed mode as her latest publication was off the press and she had a few weeks of relaxation ahead of her. Jessica Huie had wrapped a successful African and Caribbean Business Experience conference in partnership with Export London and had spent the afternoon at Hyde Park with her daughter.
“Bliss,” she smiled.
Appetisers of mixed beef, vegetable and chicken satay with peanut sauce, de-fried sweet corn cake, green Thai papaya salad, prawn and spring rolls made the rounds. Our attentive wait staff, they seriously were, for we hardly gave them an opportunity to explain the offerings — there was so much to catch up on. Thankfully Jessica had done the honours, so all that was required of us was to nod whenever the bottles of 2002 Château Pape Clément grand cru classe de graves — blanc, from Bordeaux appeared.
The mains: Yum Nuer — Grilled sirloin beef slices, served with cherry tomatoes, and lime and chilli dressing; Pla Rad Sauce — Deep-fried fish fillet, topped with a choice of house special sauce; Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai — Thai green curry with corn-fed chicken served with pea aubergine and sweet basil leaves; Goong Ten — fresh prawns steamed in tom yum sauce served with chilli and garlic and Pad Thai Goong — stir-fried Thai rice noodles with tiger prawns in homemade sauce served with fresh Chinese chives, peanuts and bean sprout found favour as there was enough of a choice for us all.
By the time dessert came, Guay Ob Ma Prow Sod — a layered caramelised banana and coconut pudding with caramel sauce and banana ice cream — we were all suitably Jasmin Dotiwala plays catch-up with a group of 30 like-minded individuals at least once a month. Thursday F o o d is hoping to be part of several more. Thanks much, ladies.
Keep reading our pages as we’ certainly let you know when Omosexy touches down on The Rock. We reckon, like us, you’ll find her down to-earth, warm and engaging. If you are still in the UK or plan to visit soon, make a note of Mango Tree.
46 Grosvenor Place
T: 0207823 1888
They are also in Harrods Food Hall, Ground Floor
87-135 Brompton Road
London, SW 1X
T: 020 7730 1234 7XL