Coming soon on the blog!!!

Miltry Hotels - I am now ready to work on that massive post!***Hard Rock Cafe - Yes! I know its been around awhile!***An amazing history based food walk with the Oota Walks, Pettah in Perspective***Tuck Shop - pleasant, if in the area and not looking for gourmet***T

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Benjarong

We were just done with our first Metro ride and since it was around lunch time were trying to figure out where to go. Sudhakar suggested we hike it up to Benjarong since it has been on that never-ending list of ours. Now, the authenticity of Thai food is not something I know much about, and so in my mind I had gone there with just "let's check out the flavor factor". Up the elevator we went and out into the waiting area of the resto. Just as we stepped out of the elevator we see this young maiden in a sarong sitting right below an ornate Oriental mirror carving a watermelon into a massive rose. Since she did not get up to welcome or seat us, I honestly thought she was part of the "living decor" of the place.

After we exchanged a few confused glances, a gentleman comes forward from within the restaurant and asks if we have a reservation, we reply in the negative and he runs off, only to send a second guy who asks us to wait a bit, goes in, comes out and then seats us. By then watermelon lady is done with her carving, she places it on the table and sashays off into the kitchen.

Ok... now done with that we were handed the menus... a recipe on the side panel of each page, then followed by the list of appetizers, soups, main courses and desserts with all the descriptions. Takes a minute or two to figure out the different tags, spicy, signature dishes etc.. So to make things easier for us, we just decided to choose from the signature dishes. 

To drink Sudhakar chose the Siam Sparkle - ginger, some spices and a fizzy drink... nice! Reminded me of Sula Brut just a bit more spiced up! Since junior is now into soups we first thought of going in for the signature Tom Yum, which Benjarong has even got the Times Food Award for... but since it was marked spicy, decided to go in the for the milder Tom Som Pla (fish). The soup was clear, had a nice tangy zing to it and was generous enough with its fish. 

Siam Sparkle

Tom Som Pla

While we were contemplating the main course, the complementary tray of Miang Kham came to the table. The name put together means eating a number of things in a single bite. Miang is a reference to food that you wrap in leaves, in this case, lettuce and Kham means a 'bite'.This tray of Miang Kham came with ginger, lemon, roasted peanuts, slivers of bird's eye chilli, the sweet n sour sauce (don't know what it is called though) and sliced shallots. All rolled up in the leaf, it did make browsing through the menu more fun. A word of caution though, those bird's eye chillis pack quite the wallop, you may want to think of adding just a skoosh when you rolling your leaf.

Miang Kham

For starters we ordered the standard chef's special at Benjarong, the Gai Hor Baitaey. This was a spiced chicken, wrapped in pandan leaves. The dish is quite the sight when it comes with these little parcels waiting to be opened. Anoushka was quite excited seeing them, though she was not about to get her hands messy. The chicken is steaming hot as you open the leaves, but the meat is soft and comes off easily in your fingers. The chicken was definitely marinated in ginger, pepper, coriander and few other spices. The slight sweetness I believe comes from palm sugar or perhaps an equivalent used here. This entire parcel is fried and thanks to the soy sauce, oil and of course the pandan leaves themselves, all the juiciness is retained on the inside. We really liked this one. The accompanying sauce was a bit overpoweringly sweet despite having the slivers of chilli in it.

Gai Hor Baitaey

And for the main course, we decided on Jasmine Rice, The Phad Thai Gai (chicken) and the Poo Pad Cha, a spicy dish made of crab meat. Below is a look at all three dishes together.


Jasmine Rice

Now from what I have read, Jasmine rice is best prepared by steaming and should have a slight aroma to it, which I have got when I have eaten it in other places, but not here. Also the rice, was quite the sticky mess, all clumpy and sticking to the spoon. In fact you can even see a few grains hanging on for dear life at the edge of the steamer. Anyways, this was by no standards a good rice and was definitely not fluffed out when it had done its time in the steamer. Most likely someone in the kitchen forgot it was on.

Phad Thai Gai
The Phad Thai Gai had all its ingredients right except it was missing the fish sauce am guessing and though we found it nice, I wouldn't really call it award worthy. Some of the noodles were sticking to each other and this was probably my main grouse with the dish. Now judging from the looks of the Poo Phad Cha you would say that there is a lot of crab meat in there and there was. Loved the taste, spicy, and right on the button. It even made the sticky Jasmine rice palatable, but a few spoonfuls later, I was tempted to give up. Even if the chef was trying to prove that he had personally shelled a real crab and put in the meat, I would prefer if he showed me a bowl of cracked shell on the side, rather than pepper my main course gravy with it. Almost every bite we took ended up with us finding a bit of crab shell. Blyak!

Poo Phad Cha

And yet we soldiered on. For desserts, despite having a totally messed up throat, I went for the signature Tub Tim Grob/Krob/Grub (found that there are many ways to spell this). Tub Tim literally means rubies and grob means crunchy and a final description of this dessert is crunchy water chestnuts in coconut milk. The rubies had settled on the bottom of the bowl of coconut milk. Once you scoop them up with some of the coconut milk, the crunch is really nice in the mouth. The dessert is great in the first few spoonfuls, but I felt the crushed ice that was added just diluted the already very thin coconut milk. After a point it was like drinking white water with chestnut rubies. Of course the next day I totally lost my voice thanks to the ice, but then I was asking for it.

Tub Tim Grub


Sudhakar went for the Sankhaya Fakthong - Pumpkin custard with coconut ice cream. Now this was one great dessert. The pumpkin custard was of the set variety and the spoon goes in ever so smoothly. Team that up with a lovely coconut custard and this is an absolute treat. Loved this one!


Sankhaya Fakthong


Overall, I wouldn't say we didn't like the meal, but its the small things, like the sticky jasmine rice and the shell in the crab that can spoil on otherwise good meal. The place does served beer and on a houseful day the staff  can get a bit lost at to which table needs their attention. The decor is alright, and there is balcony seating, which on a rainy day can be really nice! This meal came to around Rs 2000 which is a bit steep for an average experience.



Address: #1/3, Ulsoor Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore 
Phone: 42066166 (Reservations are always a good idea here)
Cuisine: Thai
Wallet factor: Rs 2o00 for two without alcohol
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: There is valet parking

2 comments:

Aditya said...

East asian rice (and Jasmine rice) is *supposed* to be sticky-- people in many or most of these countries eat with chopsticks and it is impossible to eat fluffy rice with chopsticks. I believe though that not all parts of Thailand eat with chopsticks, so not sure whether rice in those parts is supposed to be sticky as well or not.

The pieces of crabshell in the food sounds like a bummer..

foodtravelbangalore said...

Sorry, but I beg to differ. Thai jasmine rice - kai hom mali - is a long-grained variety of rice, and is supposed to be only very slightly sticky (as opposed to basmati, which is not sticky at all). It is by no means a glutinous variety of rice. Moreover, a lack of aroma indicates either a poor grade of jasmine rice, or rice that is so old that it has lost its fragrance. See my less-than-complimentary review of Benjarong here: http://foodtravelbangalore.wordpress.com/2009/07/19/benjarong-gets-thai-food-wrong/

Looks like nothing has changed. Sigh.

 

blogger templates | Make Money Online