Lower Parel gets a new Thai eatery, O:h Cha Kitchen & Bar
Service: Can do better
In O:h Cha’s interpretation of Thailand, you don’t see Bangkok, but you definitely taste it. Within Mathuradas Mills Compound, this version is removed from the typical buzz of the Thai captial. Seclusion from the outsides meets serenity within —faux-grass walls interspaced with slate-grey paint, no-frills cane lanterns, and beige seating. O:h Cha spares one from the gaudiness associated with Asian restaurants.
Tod Man Huo Plee (Banana Blossom Cake) was crunchy and spicy Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
The vast menu included vegetarian dishes, apart from seafood, chicken, beef, pork, and duck. The menu informed that chef Pipat Niyomsin, ‘former instructor at the Institute of Culinary Art, Bangkok’, runs the kitchen. A complimentary starter lived up to the restaurant's name, which translates to ‘delicious’. Described by the server as Wanton Strips, it was served with two sauces — fish and vegetarian. We bit into the sweet-and-salty crisps, dipped in tangy-spicy sauce, and the flavours transported us to Bangkok.
The Panang (Chicken) Curry was packed with flavours.
We were told that the vegetarian appetiser, Tod Man Huo Plee (Banana Blossom Cake, Rs 275), needed 20 minutes. We waited for four crispy pieces, with a side of pickled cucumber. It was crunchy, non-oily, and spicy, but we wished the edible flower wasn’t overpowered by garlic. We ordered the mains before we had wiped off the starter. We chose the Panang (Chicken) Curry (Rs 475), requested for the Pad Prix Protein Kased Ja (Stir fried soya protein with black fungus, onion, chilli, and garlic, Rs 350) to be made spicier, and half bowl of Khao Hom Mali (Steamed Jasmine Rice, Rs 200). The bar menu was extensive. We ordered the Orange and Kaffir Lime Caip (Rs 175); its citrus-ey zing served as a palate cleanser between dishes.
The Panang Curry was mild yet flavourful, just as we expected. Its velvety texture merged well with the sticky rice and the many vegetables and chicken chunks. The vegetarian main, however, lacked flavour. Almost on cue, chef Niyomsin did the rounds, halting at every table. As he enquired about our food, we mentioned the bland dish. An understandable human error had our request for ‘more spicy’ mistaken for ‘no spices.’ The chef graciously made it up with complimentary dessert. Out came ‘The Thai Dessert of the Day’, Khanom Kabine, which the chef explained, was a sweetmeat he grew up on, in Thailand. Two rectangular blocks filled with sugar and coconut. It was delicious, not too sweet, yet it was filling.
As we footed the bill, we noticed that we hadn’t been charged for the starter. Despite informing them, it wasn’t rectified, instead, we got extra change back! Our meal took nearly two-and-half hours (minus the time to settle in, and order). These starting troubles apart, we liked the ambiance; were impressed by the chef’s effort, and enjoyed the food.
At: Mathuradas Mills Compound, NM Joshi Marg Lower Parel.
O:h Cha Kitchen & Bar didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals