There are certain places, where you know you have to dine at least a couple of times before you can actually sit down to review it. Neung Roi, Radisson Blu's Thai restaurant is one such place.
The menu is so vast, that you need atleast a 15 minutes to go through it before you can really order what you want. Divided in four distinct regions of Thailand with each region further divided into soups, salads, appetizers, mains and dessert, there's just so much you can learn from the X-treme menu. Ofcourse the downside is that it takes forever to decide.
This is a restaurant that helps you expand your palate to the fact that there's much more to Thai food than just Red curry, green curry and Chicken Satay. This is a restaurant that tells you how to eat authentic Thai food.
Fortunately, I'd eaten there before. A few times atleast, and each time I'd ordered some of the things I'd loved from the time before and some new things to mix things up.
Which is why this Pomelo and Onion salad always makes it to my list. It's sweet, tangy with undertones of bitterness thanks to the Pomelo (which is a cousin of the grapefruit) while two kinds of onions - raw and crispy fried are used in equal quantity to amp up the flavour. Not only did we wallop the first plate, we ordered another plate, because it was just THAT good.
To mix things up, I ordered the winged bean salad on the recommendation of the friend and the Chicken salad. The latter was quite a disappointment as the flavours of the dressing hadn't seeped in and what you ultimately got in your mouth were a few herbs and boiled chicken. Not the best way to eat a salad. The former, however, was a revelation. I'd never seen or eaten a winged bean before, so this was a first for me. The beans were barely blanched which made them super crunchy and the tamarind dressing just elevated the flavours completely.
As we sat back, sipping our iced teas, our appetisers were brought out the Grilled Chicken, Fish with lemon grass and the vegetable popiah or the rice paper roll. Both the poultry and the sea-food were wonderful, with dramatic flavours of lemongrass packing a punch but the vegetarian appetiser is something I'd never order again. The wrap was too thick and the vegetables were boiled. I didn't really get the point of this dish because I know that it's the raw veggies and fresh herbs that really make the dish.
For our mains we ordered the Lamb Massaman curry, Green eggplant in five spice and Chilli fish. I loved loved loved the lamb. The broth was so flavourful, with beautiful undertones of peanut and coconut shining through and the meat was so tender that it just melted in the mouth. The Chilli fish was suprisingly not that spicy, instead had a lovely delicate flavour that complemented the rice well. The green eggplant was really not my thing, but that's only because there was a lot of star anise in it, and let me tell you, this is one spice I'm not particularly friends with.
Dessert was up next and we ordered the Tub Tim Grob - or the Waterchestnuts in coconut milk, and the sago pudding. Both were delicious but the real star of the evening was the sweetened pumpkin in coconut milk (which I couldn't photograph since I ate it up so quickly). This dessert was a first for me. The pumpkin had been steeped in a mix of palm sugar and coconut and perhaps even slow cooked in that mix, because it had taken on both these flavours. Bathed in sweetened coconut milk, this dessert just blew my mind.
Here's the thing, despite having a few misses, I have rarely ever had a bad meal at this restaurant. Because what's been good has been really really good and it stays in my head forever. I've perhaps tried only one-tenth of what they offer, and that's enough reason for me to go back again.