Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thai Pavillion. Meeting Ananda Solomon. Blogger's Table

Legend - wait for it - dary. That's what chef Ananda Solomon is. A total legend. And I got to meet him the week before last (lucky, lucky).

The Hindu
Launched at the Taj Vivanta in Gurgaon, Thai Pavillion is finally made its way to Delhi. Considering the original opened doors in the 90s in Mumbai, this sure took its sweet time to happen. Which brings me to why Chef Solomon is a legend. In the early nineties, it was he who introduced Thai cuisine in Mumbai, and might I  add India. This after travelling across Thailand for several months to understand the cuisine and to create a menu so stunning that it literally transported people to the neighboring country.

I remember reading columns after columns about Ananda Solomon. Especially in Vir Sanghvi's Rude Food. He couldn't stop raving about him. And I was hooked. I read up everything about him and tried to figure out where I could possibly get to eat a bite of this spectacular menu.

But that was then.

With six of us from the Blogger's Table sitting down for dinner at Thai Pavillion in Gurgaon, it was meal I had been dreaming of for days. In fact earlier that day, I remember telling people that I was all set to eat some Tom Kha and Pad Thai.



Sadly there was none of that. Instead our meal started with lovely amuse bouche of watermelon with hints of galangal which was a refreshing way to open a meal.  Som tam or raw papaya salad was out next. Crisp raw papaya with loads of lime, palm sugar and chilli and plenty of peanuts. Fresh and delicious.

Photo Courtesy: Chef at Large

Hot prawn tempuras were out next. I loved the dipping sauce that came with it. And then chicken wrapped in pandan leaves, which were flavoured well, way too mildly for me. And then the corn cakes, which I really liked especially when paired with the sweet chilli sauce.

Photo Courtesy: Rekha Kakkar
Mushroom parcelled in thai herbs were brought out next, and were at best underseasoned. A bit of a disappointment really. As were the dimsums whose wrappers were way too thick. Bit of a damper that.

But then came the best part of the meal - the thai curries. Red with chicken and Green with veggies. Both were P.H.E.N.O.M.E.N.A.L. I licked my plate clean. Twice.

The crispy fish topped with tangy sauce, was another favourite. So light and delicious with the fish melting in the mouth. I know Sid and Parul loved the lamb chops, but my personal favourite was the waterchestnut and cashew stir fry. Spicy, tangy and sweet. This was what Thai Pavillion was all about.



The home-style stir fry vegetable was a dish I loved too, but didn't particular care for the flat rice noodles. And so when we moved to dessert, I was ready to burst. But dried water chestnut with coconut milk made my day. This is one thai dessert I love to bits, and served straight off the tender coconut. Yummers.



On the whole I'd give the meal 7 on 10.  I missed a soup desperately. I didn't care for 30 per cent of the appetisers and I certainly didn't care for the noodles.

But on the bright side, I met Chef Solomon. Someone I'd only been reading about so far.



Read what the others had to say:

Parul @ The Shirazine
Himanshu @ The White Ramekins
Mukta @ Bake-a-mania
Sid @ Chef at Large
Rekha @ My Tasty Curry

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