The Thai Pavilion at the Vivanta by Taj – President in Mumbai needs no introduction.But, for the uninitiated ,Thai Pavillion and Chef Ananda Solomon introduced Thai cuisine to India in the 90’s. He spent a number of months in Thailand before its launch.After a dramatic makeover , the Thai Pavilion opened its door to Mumbai again in 2007.
Work keeps taking me to Mumbai atleast once a month, and though I live a hop skip and jump( literally) from the Vivanta President, I never quite got down to going to Thai Pavillion, I managed to convince by li’l bro ( actually quite big at 18 now) that we should go, give it a try. The first hurdle of course was getting a reservation. To be truthful I find all Mumbai restaurants to be a little snotty where reservations are concerned. They will just flatly tell you “Madam , we are full”. However after some cajoling by my uncle who is a regular there and we managed to secure a table for 2.
The first thing that strikes you when you enter is the Wine Wall on the left.The ambience is swoosh, with intricate thai wooden carvings , an open kitchen adorned by bar tool seating. The service is efficient and warm. As soon a I tried to reach for the dish to serve myself a second helping, the waiter materialized from seemingly thin air.
Bro n me were seated at a corner table . Frankly speaking the space is bit cramped but the , ambience and later the food more or less made up for it.
As we vacillated between Crispy Rice noodles with corn and water chestnuts in a rice tartlet (mee grob) and Spring roll thai style (poh pia je), bro decided to give the mocktail menu a go.Finally we settled on the Thai style Sping rolls , a Pomegranate martini for me and some mocktails with atleast a dozen juices and flavours in it.The spring rolls arrived, about he size of my thumb and were delicious to taste, crunchy on the outside and filled with delicious mixture of rice noodles and veggies. Only 5 in number , it seemed a tad miserly on the chef’s part and left us wanting of more.
We decided to move on to the main course and the waiter was very helpful as we were not particularly very hungry. We decided to go with the Vegetable Phad Thai noodles and the Gaeng Massaman curry. The Phad thai though good ( I still prefer the one at mamagoto closer to home), it was the massaman curry that was the star of the evening. Served with steamed rice full of flavours: coconut, peanuts and I think I could detect the hint of cinnamon and cardamom also.And for all of you who don’t particularly like lemon grass or are looking for a less spicy option in Thai then this is what you should opt for.
After I stuffed myself with as much as I could manage of the curry n rice, we thought we must try the desserts. the array was so ming boggling that we decided to go for the dessert platter. The dessert platter is a BIG plate with tiny serving of all their desserts except one. When it arrived our eyes lit up, after all what could be better than so many different types of sweets. Bro lunged for the all the chocolaty things on the platter.
It goes like this
- Delicately flavoured custard in baby pumkins– nice presentation , but otherwise ho- hum, infact I couldn’t really figure the delicate flavour
- dark callebaut chocolate strata with crackling almond crumb– hmm.. somethng with bit of chocolate
- diced water chestnuts with coconut milk– kheer with coconut milk..eh??
- makroot flavoured soft centered chocolate dollops– this was real surprise, the outside was soft chocolate balls but as soon as you reached inside ,there was this lemon grass flavoured sauce. Didn’t really go well with my palate
- The last , spiced creme brulee with sundried rose petals: I have nothing much to say about it except it tasted a bit like caramel custard.