We arrived just in time for our 5pm reservation thanks to rush hour traffic and were very relieved to find that free customer parking was available on site. This is very important to me when taking the kids out at night, I didn't want to be walking along busy streets in the dark so already things had started well.
First impressions were fantastic - the staff were welcoming and led us to a table upstairs overlooking the river Tyne. The atmosphere had an upmarket feel but definitely not in an off putting way and families certainly didn't feel out of place - in fact there were a few other tables with children seated too. We ordered a few drinks.....
Thai Tham - A traditional Thai Cocktail with lemon vodka, malibu, pineapple, lime, lemongrass and coriander
Seam Raow Mocktail - Mango juice, Lychee Juice, Orange Juice
The drinks selection was extensive with a few mocktails, a selection of cocktails, lots of soft drinks options, beers, wines and spirits. I opted for a traditional Thai cocktail and wasn't disappointed at all. It was just what I needed to compliment my spicy main course. The mocktails were fab too and the kids thought it was fantastic when we let them have a try, they commented that they felt like they were on holiday!
We were brought out some Thai crackers to nibble and again, the kids loved them. It was at this point we had a look on Google Earth to show the kids where Thailand was in the world and based on their experience so far they started planning our next holiday there.......
Early Dining Menu at Mantra Thai
We opted to dine from the Early Dining Menu which is served 5-7pm and includes two courses for £15.95 per person. We ordered a couple of starters from this menu to share between the 5 of us and I was amazed when the kids tucked into the prawn toast and claimed it was their favourite toast ever!
Prawn & Chicken Toast
Take a peek at our video clip, they really loved it......
Grilled Pork Skewers
I was very tempted to order a Thai Green curry for my main course however we cook this a lot at home already and I was feeling adventurous. I went for the Stir Fried Crispy Pork with Chilli and Basil. Oh my word it was superb! The belly pork was super crispy yet succulent at the same time and I have to say, this is now my favourite Thai dish! I would highly recommend. It was fairly spicy so make sure you have a cooling cocktail on hand.
Stir Fried Crispy Pork with Chilli and Basil
Steve decided to go with the Spicy Stir Fried Rice Noodles with Beef. I had a sneaky taste and was very impressed (although I think for once I actually preferred my own dish - when does that ever happen??)
Spicy Stir Fried Rice Noodles with Beef
The Children's Menu at Mantra Thai
The children's menu is available every day between 12-6pm. I had already prepared my children and told them that chips wouldn't be on the menu so I was fairly surprised when they were. Jack was delighted and much to my annoyance asked for them. I let him order them as to be honest, we were half way through half term and I know when to pick my battles! Children's options were all priced at £4.95 which was a bargain considering the portion sizes. The choices included:-
Crispy Fried Chicken Breast with Sweet Chilli Sauce (served on the side), Stir Fried Pork Noodles, Thai Style King Prawn Fried Rice, Thai Style Sweet and Sour Chicken.
With a choice of side from:-
Potato Chips, Steamed Jasmine Rice, Egg Fried Rice, Green Salad.
Children's crispy chicken with steamed jasmine rice and sweet chilli sauce
Harry, Heidi and Jack all thoroughly enjoyed their dinner and we had clear plates all round. I was a little disappointed they didn't order anything exotic but at the same time pleased that they ate their meal with no fuss.
Dessert at Mantra Thai
As the children had been so well behaved and finished all of their meal, we promised we could order dessert. We were pretty full by this point though so decided to split two desserts between the five of
us. This mostly ended up with the kids eating the raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake and Steve and I sharing the Tropical Panna Cotta.
Our desserts were the perfect end to our meal. The Tropical Panna Cotta in particular was spot on.
Our overall verdict was OMG When can we come back! We all had such a lovely time. The children were well behaved and although there weren't any colouring sheets or activity books like you might get in some chain restaurants, it really didn't matter - this gave us the time to actually have conversations we wouldn't usually have such as where in the world is Thailand and how many languages can we say 'Hello' in. All good stuff :-)
The staff were lovely and very attentive - they made a fuss of the kids and ensured they were included without being over-bearing. An example is when they asked the kids directly if they enjoyed their meal rather than just asking myself or Steve. A nice touch I thought!
If you are looking to take the kids somewhere a little bit different for lunch or dinner, I would recommend giving Mantra Thai a try.