A Thai Street Affair: Thai Pavilion, Vivanta by Taj, Gurgaon

Looking to indulge in authentic and flavourful Thai street food (authentic being the keyword)? Then march right over to Thai Pavilion at Vivanta by Taj, Gurgaon where Master Chef Prajaub is cooking up an array ofpopular delicacies from the streets of his homeland during the Sim Jan Deaw: A Thai Street Affair. This event, being held from the 14th to the 23rd of July, features traditional one-dish Thai street delicacies such as Khao kluk kapi (shrimp flavoured fried rice with sweet chicken, garden greens, egg), Koong meanam rad sos prik keang (crispy fried scampi tossed in home style curry, kaffir lime flavor), Phad phed phak prik thai (dry curry, vegetable, green peppercorn), amongst many others.

We began our tasting with a refreshing welcome drink, a concoction of Thai herbs including lemon grass and kaffir lime. Just what the doctor ordered to shake off the effects of a particularly hot and humid day.  The Thai Pavilion also has a beverage menu with an array of Thai-based cocktails, mock tails, iced teas and martinis, in case you wish to partake.

Executive Chef Subrata Debnath and Master Chef Prajub Shoosridam were kind enough to take some time out to talk to us about the thought behind this event and the kind of fare on offer. Chef Prajub sourced bona fide street food recipes from his trips back home and curated a menu accordingly. Everything thing is made from scratch and he often brings back ingredients from his native land, never compromising on quality and taste. Since the preparation of these dishes is exactly how it would be back in the lanes of Siam, Chef warned us that they contain more chilli than usual. The spice lover in me let out a silent yet exuberant “Yayyyy”!

The appetizers followed shortly and consisted of Koong nam prok pao (prawns with roasted chilli paste and basil), Kai haw bai toey (marinated chicken morsels wrapped in pandanus leaf) andYum ma muang (raw mango and water chestnuts salad). The prawns were cooked to perfection and had just the right amount of kick to them. The chicken was juicy with a hint of smokiness and the salad was fresh, crisp and wholesome.

Now I’m not fan of soups but the Tom soh peh (sour lamb soup) is one I could have again and again. In fact a big bowl of it would have sufficed as an entire meal. The lamb was succulent and complemented the clear, subtle and “lemony” flavours of the broth.

In the main course we tried Geang kua kai bai cha plu (village style curry with chicken with betel leaf), Sam grob boran thod (spicy cashew nut, peanut, ginger, lemongrass flavour) and Mara phad phak kad preaw (stir fried bitter gourd, shallots, vinegar, Chinese cabbage).  These were accompanied with jasmine rice, brown rice and spicy jasmine fried rice. While the rustic styled chicken was flawless the latter two were revelations,particularly the bitter gourd. I’ve had Burmese style stir fried bitter gourd before but this preparation was something else. The natural bitterness of the gourd was softened but not completely hidden by the combination of the spices making this dish a harmonious union dazzling my taste buds.

The elements of sourness, saltiness, spiciness, bitterness and sweetness, so important in Thai food, were represented perfectly in each dish served and in every bite taken.

We ended our meal with Hot Thai chocolate soufflé and Tub tim Grob (diced water chestnut with coconut milk) and what a splendid way to conclude this culinary feast. Faultless and substantial!

In conclusion a flawless, light and most enjoyable meal. Go alone to treat yourself or take a friend, they will be grateful for a very long time.

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