“Yin-dee-ton-rab” (Welcome, in Thai) is what came to my mind when I heard about the inauguration of the Thai Pavilion at Vivanta, Taj, Gurgaon. While the city abounds in Indian, Chinese and Italian cuisine restaurants, authentic Thai food was veritably missed. So last week, with much anticipation and expectation, I lunched there with two companions.
The bar-cum-waiting lounge that greeted us at the entrance of the restaurant set the tone for our visit. Wood was visible everywhere in the restaurant, its somber austerity countervailed by the huge glass wall on one side letting in both light and lightness. Brass objects strategically placed lent an aesthetic appeal to the ambience, with the mix of sofa and chair seating taking care of the comfort factor.
Once we were comfortably seated and the matter of drinks out of the way (we settled simply, for water), we were offered Fried Vegetable Wontons as amuse bouche, served with three different sauces- sweet-spicy, peanut-based and chilli. It was a perky precursor to the food that was to come. My companions’ conservative tastes prevented me from trying out the restaurant’s more eclectic offerings like Duck Liver Foie Gras with Sea Asparagus in Mango sauce or Pan Grilled Scallops in Orange and Rice wine reduction. Instead, for starters, we settled for Young Papaya Salad in sweet and spicy sauce, Pan Grilled White Prawns with chilled cardoon laced with sour and spicy sauce, Marinated Chicken Morsels wrapped in Pandanus leaves and fried.
Thai Pavilion could not go wrong with the simple and popular Papaya salad, chilled and palate tickling with its sweet and spicy flavour. The Grilled Prawns that followed were exceptional. The prawns grilled to juicy perfection, the taste superlative, the chilled crunchy cardoon, a lot like sugarcane, only not sweet but lending a citric twist, the tempting fried pineapple, all doing a delicate balancing act with the rest of the spices. A must try. The chicken however did not live up to its initial promise. The Pandanus leaf wrapped meat gave out a sweet, earthy, smoky flavour at first bite, but subsequently the dryness of the meat underwhelmed the taste. Perhaps grilling it instead of frying shall make amends?
The ubiquitous Pad Thai crept into our main course- Stir Fried Rice noodles with Prawns, along with Chicken Supreme flavoured with Thai herbs and Chilli paste. Instead of the tried and tested red or green curry, we decided to go for the Red Curry with crushed peanuts (Penang style, according to the attentive Prem Kumar, who waited upon us). The noodles were sweet (my companions found it too sweet) and spicy, the taste and texture of the prawns dueting beautifully with the smoky flavour of bean curd. The Red Curry, served with steamed white rice was distinctly textured and aromatic, boasting a depth of flavour rendered by the Thai spices and crushed peanuts. It was deliciously paired with the al dente white rice that accompanied it in a clay pot. The vegetables in the curry were cooked to lend a crunchy bite; I marvelled at the crunchy okra, not overcooked yet devoid of the sticky threads. The Chicken Supreme while nothing extraordinary was done as per our request, peppery yet not too spicy. A typical well done, tasty Thai dish.
Dark Callebaut Chocolate Strata with crackling Almond crumbs, the very name stirs up mysterious, forbidden tastes and desires. A superlative, not cloyingly sweet, chocolate dessert a la Swiss roll simply rolled off our mouths into our innards in no time, the vanilla ice cream helping it in no small measure on its way down. We rounded off the meal with hot Jasmine tea.
The centralized menu drawn up by Chef-in-Chief Ananda Solomon is both representative and expository of Thai cuisine. With its varied dishes and the use of authentic herbs and hand made spices, Thai Pavilion aims successfully to pamper the global citizenry in the world of gastronomy.
Disclosure: This review was done after an anonymous visit to the restaurant with the meal paid for by the reviewer.
Ratings (Out of 5):
Food: 4.0/5 | Ambience: 4.0/5 | Service: 4.0/5 | Overall: 4.0/5
Meal for two: Rs. 3000/+ (without alcohol) | Alcohol: Yes | Credit cards: Accepted
Address: Plot No 01, Near HUDA metro station and Fortis Hospital, Sector 44, Gurgaon, NCR, HR 122004 | Phone: 0124 667 1234