Sixteen. That is the number of dishes that Pawan and I tried at Neung Roi. Hundred. That is the longitude at which Thailand is located after which the restaurant has taken its name. Neung Roi means 100 in Thai. The restaurant sure tries to score a 100 with its offerings.
As soon as we were seated at the golden hued restaurant, its restrained opulence yet restful ambience seeped into us like the evening mist. The goblet inspired lights, the warm wooden tones, the silk tapestried walls, the varied seating arrangements, relaxes and soothes you like a cup of Thai lemon grass tea which is what we were served as a welcome drink. Neung Roi’s menu boasts of dishes including never before seen ones in our part of the world, from north, south, east and west of the country in addition to the central part. An iPad details each and every dish with information about which part of the country it is drawn from. So much segregation and details may tire a hungry patron and the restaurant may consider consolidating the menu to make it more convenient and appealing.
Tod Man Khao Pod (Corn Fritter with sweet chilli sauce) was a capable start, the golden hued soft sweet corn covered by a crunchy exterior. However, the thick slivers of galangal found alongside, mitigated the joy of savouring the soft Pla Yang Krue (Grilled Telapia Fish Fillet), served wrapped in banana leaf. Moo Thod Katiem (Deep fried Pork belly) was nothing like the calorie bomb that I have had in other restaurants, the fat rare and meat lean. The crispy crackling rind tickles your palate, with not too much fat though I found the meat a bit overcooked. That still could not prevent me from enjoying it with the hot garlic and pepper sauce without worrying about the size of my belly. Goong Pan Takrai (the minced prawn) mildly spiced and served as a lollypop on lemongrass skewers, aromatic and flavorful, expertly paired with the chilli lime sauce and tomato dip.
Never have I enjoyed salads as much as I did at Neung Roi.Yam Tuea Plu (Wing Bean Salad) with roasted coconut and tamarind dressing is simply a culinary work of art. The flavours were lip smacking, sweet sour and fragrant with the oils released by the roasted coconut. Do not miss this one at your visit to the restaurant. Labb Gai (finely minced chicken salad) tangoed ably with refreshingly cool mint and coriander, shallots and roasted rice powder reminded me of home made salads. The finely cut Papaya salad did not disappoint with the tart chillli -lime dressing. All of the salads are dressed without any oil, making a meal of just salads at Neung Roi, a healthy and tasty option which perhaps the restaurant should promote as a weight-watchers menu.
If I were to think that the Wing Bean Salad truly winged it to the finish line, the Tom Kha Gai put me in a dilemma. The pristine white soup of coconut milk, interspersed with shitake, black and wild mushroom was simply OUTSTANDING. The aromatic, sweet and savoury soup had me scooping and scrapping the bottom of the mug. Phad Prik Khing and Phad Pak Kiew are right up the vegetarians’ alley. The former, a tofu and long bean dish flavored with red curry paste and garnished with roasted peanut powder engaged in a “savor play” with the latter, Stir fried Kale with Morning Glory in a soy and garlic pepper sauce. Wholesome, tasty and very satisfying vegetarian options that go very well with the fragrant Khao Suey (Jasmine Rice).
Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai, the ever-popular Thai green chicken curry was not heavily textured as is wont in other Thai restaurants in NCR, while Neua Phad Prik Youk boasted of tenderness out and out, pieces of just rightly done tenderloin, spiced with tender chilli and tender black peppercorns so soft that they lacked the hard bite but retained the cool heat of the mature variety. Pla Neung See-ew (Steamed fish) with soy and pok choy and drizzled with chilli-lime sauce balanced the fire in the earlier dishes. Mama Hor Kai (Stir fried Noodle) deftly wrapped in an egg omelette was pleasing to the eye and gentle to the belly.
Our sumptuous meal was rounded off with the light and delicious Tub Tim Krob (Water Chestnut in Coconut Jasmine Syrup). The red pearls of water chestnut drenched in strawberry syrup, floating on pristine white coconut milk did not stop at being pleasing merely to the eye. It was fabulous. My only gripe- too little of it! But the other amazing dessert was the Sticky Sweet Rice served with fresh mangoes. Though simple and ordinary looking, the dish is a winner with an unusual garnish of roasted Moong Dal sprinkled atop. Do ask for it when you visit next. I loved it.
From our chat with the lady Thai Chef Yenjai Suthiwaja we gathered how her simple and homely culinary skills gleaned from her mum back home in Thailand has translated into outstanding, gourmet dishes fit for a star hotel restaurant. Ashmeet, the amiable bartender besides being knowledgeable about the dishes, indulged us with a sample of his award winning cocktail called Blue Sapphire. A stiff drink made of Whisky Johnny Walker Black Double, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Drambuie with Blue Curacao injected into a delicate sugar ball nestling at the bottom of the martini glass, it had won the Best Original Cocktail award for Ashmeet at the annual Blu meet. It won Pawan’s heart too.
Service left a little to be desired as we found the wait staff mostly milling around the kitchen instead of paying attention to the tables being served. Their attention had to be repeatedly drawn to have the dirty plates removed.
Other than this, our visit had been pleasant, with the food setting new standards to Thai food being served in NCR. It shall take competition much latitude, to beat Neung Roi at their current longitude.
Disclosure: This review was done upon the invitation of the restaurant.
Ratings (Out of 5):
Food: 4.5 | Ambience: 4.5 | Service: 3.0 | Overall: 4.0
Meal for two: Rs. 2800 (Without Alcohol) | Credit cards: Accepted | Alcohol: Yes
Address: Neung Roi, Hotel Radissson Blu Plaza, Mahipalpur, NH 8, New Delhi | Tel: +91 11 26779191