Thailand is a favourite destination for Indians looking for a quick holiday by the sea, which comes along with some mouthwatering cuisine, colorful retail therapy that does not dent the pocket and some me time with the calming Buddha. Thailand ringed in Songkran – New Year on April (13th-14th) in hope of peace, health and prosperity. Interestingly, Songkran is adapted from the Sanskrit word Sankranti indicating transition of the planet sun into Aries, the first zodiac sign and it is all about worshiping the Buddha with water, sprinkling water on each other, prayers and enjoying delicious food.During the recent Songkran ( Thai New Year) in the middle of April there was a special Thai Spread at the Zuri, Bangalore.
During the recent Songkran ( Thai New Year) in the middle of April there was a special Thai Spread at the Zuri in Bangalore. All the dishes were specially curated by Chef Dinkar balancing the three main elements of Spice, Sour and Sweet that embodies Thai cuisine !! Zuri is located in Whitefield and the Thai New Year Food Festival (15th April- 24th April) was held in Sake, the roof top Pan Asian Restaurant. The roof top is well laid out, with soft lights, sounds of gently flowing water and palms around. While it will be a slice of heaven during cool Bangalore days but with changing Bangalore weather it may not be a great place to chill after some spicy food.
After cooling off with the Cucumber, Coconut and Basil cooler; I had the soups. The coconut milk based soup with chunks of chicken was nice and refreshing and so was the clear soup with vegetables and glass noodles. I munched on the ginger in the soup and inhaled the lemon grass flavour to open up my taste buds and set my digestive enzymes rolling since the best was yet to come.
- Tom Kha Gai – Coconut Milk Soup with Chicken
- Kaeng Jued Woonsen Pag – Clear Soup with vegetables and glass noodles
The soups were followed by 4 kinds of salads that stepped up the spice levels and yet balanced it with basil and mint to cool down the fire in the belly !! The succulent chicken and mint salad was moderate the veg salads specially the glass noodles were really spicy and crunchy. Well, I was just beginning to fall in love with the soft glass noodles.
- Yum Kai – Chicken Salad with Mint leaves
- Neva phad naam man hoi – Sliced tenderloin in Oyster Sauce
- Yum woonsen – Spicy Salad with glass noodle and vegetables
- Pag Phad bai gaparow – Stir fried crunchy vegetables with chilly and hot basil sauce
We took a break from food, sipping on mocktails and listening to the music streaming from the Bling disco-pub in the ground floor. Frankly, Thai food with all its delicate flavours and textures is well enjoyed with calming music and I would have preferred some soft tunes to add to the ambience. The appetizers teased our taste buds with the sweet and sour preparations generously laced with the raw spice of freshly roasted chilly paste. The lamb and the chicken were prepared in the same sauce; while the lamb was crunchy; the chicken was a bit on the chewy side. The grilled button mushrooms bathed in Chef’s special sauce were soft, sweet and tangy; seemed to have been finished with a dose of wine. One bite into the soft spring rolls filled with glass noodles and I knew these were different welcome change from the regular cabbage fill.
- Gai Pad Nam Prik Pao – Stir Fried Chicken in Roasted Chilly Paste
- Pe Pad Nam Prik Pao – Crispy Fried Lamb in Roasted Chilly Paste
- Po Pia Thod Pag – Vegetable Spring Rolls with glass noodles
- Hed Yang – Grilled Button Mushrooms with Chef’s secret recipe
A Thai meal is never complete without the Jasmine Rice had with the Thai Red and Green curries. I was nearly full and the prawns were yet to be served.
The prawns were juicy and well soaked in the green curry. A generous helping of jasmine rice soaked in green curry made my day. Kaeng Khiao Wan- Prawns in Green Curry
The red curries were not overtly red either; broccoli with peanuts (Kaeng Phanaeng) was something new and loved it and when a hard core non vegetarian favors it over chicken (Kaeng Phet) you can guess what it means !!
Most Thai Desserts have water chestnut in some form or the other. When glasses of Tub Tim Krob were served, I could see the cubes of bright red jelly like pieces settled comfortably below the pool of shaved ice and coconut milk. Tub Tim meaning red rubies had lived upto its name. The water chestnut cubes were drenched in Rooh Afza instead of food colour for that deep red hue and then coated with tapioca flour to get that gummy, jelly like texture. Though not a great fan of Rooh Afza having had an overdose of it during my growing up years; it was welcome on a hot summer evening !!
After all the delicious food; and burping my way home, all I could manage “Sawadee Pee Mai” as they say in Thai for a Happy New Year !!
Thank You FBAB and Zuri Hotels, Bangalore for a wonderful evening. The FBAB meets are always a pleasure, discussing, tasting and sharing the common passion for culinary delights and when it is over some titillating flavors; its an icing on the cake.
Zuri Hotel is on the main road connecting ITPL and the Outer Ring Road towards KR Puram Station. They have other restaurants too catering to different cuisines !! A Thai Meal for 2 will be approximately around Rs 3000-3500/-