Except there was no bento box. We were, instead, treated like kings to a 7-course Vietnamese meal that easily went on for a couple of hours. And each time a new course was brought on, you'd be like I don't think I can eat another morsel, only to realise that your stomach had made some room. But that's really the beauty of Vietnamese cuisine, light flavourful and easy on the palate, it was no surprises that we ate as we did. Truth is, Vietnamese cuisine doesn't have a lot of vegetarian options, so it was wonderful to see the chefs at the Taj were able to create such a diverse menu.
We were offered a menu to pick what we'd like in each course as the amuse bouche of a teeny curried rice cake with sriracha was brought out. It was meant to whet the appetite and it did! Deeba asked me to pick things for her as well, as both of almost always opt for the same courses. The first course arrived - fried tofu that was meant to be dipped, summer rolls- which I make a lot at home and beautiful raw mango salad that was peppered with fried onions. That was all vegetarian, so we decided to peck at Sangeeta's lamb morsels to see what the tofu counterpart was like.
The soup came next - we'd opted to drink the mushroom soup which had ceps, shitake and enoki - all three kinds of mushrooms that I love. I felt that the soup was under seasoned but with the condiment bowl right in front of me, jazzed it up to my taste.
Between the grills and main course, the palate cleanser arrived - a tamarind sorbet that was amazingly light, fresh and provided instant gratification.
Of there mains which included stir fried lobster, lemon grass lamb shanks edamame beans and a red vegetable cari and a brilliant lotus stem in sticky tamarind sauce, I ended up moping my plate with the baguette that came with it.. Because at the end of the day, it is said that the Vietnamese do do a better baguette than the French :) And also my favourite sandwich is the bahn-mi, whoever knows me, will tell you I am obsessed with.
The desserts came out next. The chocolate bombe - with coffee mousse and amaretto chocolate sauce, the lemongrass and matcha ice cream and the the ginger coconut caramel pudding. Of the three, I actually only enjoyed one - the Lemongrass icecream because of its extremely refreshing notes and the perfect use of flavours. And while the chocolate bombe was nice, the mousse inside was phenomenal, the chocolate itself was a little overpowering. The only damper was the caramel pudding - neither did the flavours of ginger nor coconut had come through (maybe the ginger hadn't been steeped long enough?), nor was it sweet which would have contrasted beautifully with the caramel and it was baked for a tad (Parul, I hope you're reading this) too long.
Despite that, the meal was wonderful. No scratch that, exceptional. And did I mention the service? Beautifully orchestrated, not for a minute did you have to wait between the courses.And so polite.
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Deeba @ Passionate about Baking