Bright coloured flower bouquets and pretty lanterns deck Benjarong in Alwarpet, this time of the year. We were walking in thinking of their Vietnamese fest from the time before. Our taste buds sighed and we were lead to our table.
Chef Ram Kumar has always pampered us by making sure we listen to the stories and try almost everything on the menu. Chef is on his way to do some ‘homework’ in Thailand for his next festival. He tells us about the time he was in Phuket. Roasts, grills and street food- Phuket cuisine keeps the spices simple but makes sure the flavours linger. Another thing about Phuket and Thailand as a whole is their Tender Coconut. He says the coconut is different there and most Thai folks drink at least 10 a day!
Talking about Grills, he brings out Beef Satay or Neau Satay. Tender minced beef on skewers spiced with turmeric is quite a long way from the peanut-y Chicken Satay- but we enjoyed it thoroughly.
Among the starters we try Padanus Chicken (a favourite of ours from last time and not part of the Phuket Menu), See Khrong Gae Pahd Prik Sod- which is lamb racks wok tossed with onions and small rice baskets topped with chicken, mushrooms and eggs, or the Hed hoo noo pahd gai . And after all this my personal favourite, Goong pahd bai phakchi lae prik- don’t be alarmed- that just divinely translates to prawns grilled with chilli garlic and coriander. Divine.
We decided on a salad before the main course, and what a choice that was. Light and spicy roast minced duck, coriander, rice and mint served in a beautiful cabbage flower- Larb ped yaso.
For the mains, we tried the flat noodles with seafood Pahd siew (again a personal favourite) and sauteed beef Neau Khua kling which was quite heavenly.
For something completely out of the box, try the Thai Biriyani. With a fresh burst of lemon grass and roasted chicken chunks, it’s got the winning formula. It’s called the Khao mok gai.
End with the most enthralling dish of them all- the Tender Coconut Pannacotta. Beautiful texture, the perfect amount of creaminess and best of all chestnut rubies.
For the non coconut’ers, try the steamed banana cupcake with ice cream. (Khanom kluay)
The festival is on only till the 14th of February. So we’d be smart and book our tables right away!