Thai cuisine in India has not yet reached the level of popularity as much as we have for Italian and Chinese here. Infact, Chinese and Italian both have become so popular, that there are several places where they serve these cuisines which are more palatable for our Indians and people enjoy Indian ChineseItalian as well.
Thai cuisine at some places is still limited to red and yellow Thai curry with choices of chicken/fish/vegetables. Thai cuisine is exotic and distinct with perfect balance of strong aroma and various flavors. If you get a chance to read David Thompson’s book on “Thai food” – you will understand it much better!
You will enjoy reading more on Thai food – incase you do not happen to bump into David’s book:
Thai Pavilian at Vivanta by Taj, Gurgaon recently turned 1 and it has already become one of the finest place to have some authentic Thai food. Chef Ananda Solomon who is the brain behind the entire Thai pavilion across Taj in India is a masterchef and has some incredible experience not only in Thai but in other cuisines as well.
When I got the invite for the bloggers table I was quite happy because Thai Pavillion is considered among the best Thai restaurant in Delhi/NCR. And another reason was to meet Chef Ananda Soloman. Chef Solomon is the only Indian chef who was selected to participate in the popular Slow Food event – Salone Del Gusto in Italy in the year 2002. He is also the only Indian to have won at the World Gourmet Summit. He first started Thai pavilion in Mumbai in 1990 which was the first authentic Thai restaurant in India and is still considered to be city’s best Thai restaurant. I have read several articles on him including the one written by Vir Sanghvi. Konkan Cafe at the Vivanta by Taj President is another of chef’s mastermind on Coastal cuisine.
We were invited for the bloggers table to celebrate first anniversary of Thai pavilion and to try and taste the beautifully crafted menu which had some new dishes along with some old classics. And being a Thai cuisine fan I was looking forward for a great afternoon, which it indeed was.
We started our meal with refreshing lemon grass daiquiri mocktail (Whip up of lemongrass and daiquiri) and Yum mamuang(raw mango and water chestnuts salad) And mango, in Thai, is ma-muang! The salad got it’s crunchiness from the chestnuts and the shredded raw mango along with strong flavors gave it it – sweet, sour,salty and spicy flavor. I loved it!
The heavenly delight continues:
Crab cakes and kai haw bai toey(chicken wrapped in pandanus leaves). Crab cake was wonderfully crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. The sweet white flesh paired well with the bright, aromatic Thai flavours. Chicken wraped in pandanus leaf is one of the most popular dish in thailand and you can find it anywhere. When chicken fillet is wrapped in Pandanus leaf , these wonderful leaves act as both a wrapper and a flavoring in this dish.
Potato and spinach fritters – Crunchy and went well with the sauce.
Tofu wraped in betel leaf(little different betel leaf from our indian one) and served with plum sauce is one of the most popular street food and can be found on every street of Thailand. Diced spicy tofu with Thai herbs on fresh betel leaf is an interesting appetizer
Tom kha (koong – prawns)soup – This traditional and tasty Thai soup is so uniquely light and flavorful with the infusion of galangal, lime and other herbs and a little kick of spice from fresh chili added makes you carve for more!
Post this we had our main course:
The aromatic Jasmine rice was good. Bamee noodles was ok and flat rice noodles (pad Thai)with vegetables was good.
I skipped the veg section as I wanted to dig more into non-veg section and it was too tempting!. Though I did try the silky bean curd(tofu) with black bean sauce(phad pario warn tao) and it was delightful.
For me steamed john dory with lemon garlic sauce(pla nueng manao) was the dish of the day and was liked by every blogger on the table. John Dory is wonderful and this white, boneless, meaty flesh is firm and flavorsome and is extremely popular as it blends well with Thai ingredients and flavourings.
Roast duck on the bed of spinach(Ped Noy) was another star, cooked with perfection, was crispy and truly classic. Thai yellow curry chicken ( gaeng leung kai) was mild in flavor and went really well with jasmine rice. The southern thai curry – -lamb(gaeng massaman pe) is an interpretation of malay curry was exceptional in taste.
Any meal is incomplete without desert and here it was no exception. We were served makroot flavored soft centred chocolate dollops along with tender coconut icecream. Makroot is another version of kafir lime and lemon and it actually went well with the chocolate bomb(dollops). Tender coconut is one of my favorite ice-cream and I simply loved it.
A well spent afternoon , some great thai food and great conversation with chef Ananda and fellow bloggers. What more can one ask for!
I would love to go back again and again to thai pavilion to savour best of the thai food.