38 Bangkok street
Java Lotus Stem
We stepped inside 38 Bangkok Street, a three-week old eatery at Fort, expecting to be teleported to a street in the Thailand capital. However, this outpost (their first outlet was in Thane) was anything but that. No orb-like Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling, no typical stir-fry aromas wafting from the kitchens and most importantly, no meats. Serving vegetarian fare from a mix of Asian cuisines, the eatery presented a slightly fancy, albeit dark vibe. As we settled in, we were served a warm herb-infused concoction to clear our palates.
The stem storm
For a restaurant serving vegetarian fare, we braced ourselves for a small, un-experimental menu. However, the menu wowed us with its wide selection of soups, starters, noodles, curries, rice, wok meals and desserts. We spotted Korean, Indonesian, Thai, Burmese and Japanese mentions too, with ingredients like lotus stems, water chestnuts and jackfruit.
Interiors of the eatery
For starters, we picked Gamajageon (Rs 160) and Java Lotus Stem (Rs 200). Korean-style grilled pancakes made of potato, chillies and chives, Gamajageon were basically grated potato-tikkis (our waiter had warned us when we ordered) and high on vinegar. The dish failed to impress. The Java Lotus Stem was an instant perk-up. The crunchy, thinly sliced lotus stems, stir-fried in a sweet-and-sour soy sauce with hints of ginger and garlic, made for an amazing starter. As the eatery doesn’t serve alcohol, our poison for the night was Virgin Bay Breeze (Rs 90) that had cranberry, pineapple juice and a hint of triple sec. We could barely taste the triple sec.
Shan Tamin Chin, a wok meal was the highlight of our dining experience. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Much ado about momos
We liked that the eatery had a wide variety of momos, usually underplayed in such spaces. Our attendant suggested we order an assortment of six varieties (Rs 220). The piping hot dumplings arrived in a bamboo cane box with three sauces — soy, sweet chilli and tomato garlic. Quite like the different shapes they were fold in, the flavours were a mixed bag, too. Our picks were minced vegetable dimsums (low on cabbage), slightly spicy button mushroom momos and water chestnut with bokchoy variety. The one with glass noodles was high on soy, and the bean curd variety was average. An interesting inclusion included rice, black bean and fresh turmeric banh bao (wrapping cake) that didn’t feature the traditional momo covering. Instead, it was a mound of rice with pungent black bean flavours.
Piqued by their exotic-sounding names, we ordered two mains —Tek Tek (R280) and Shan Tamin Chin (R280). The latter featured in their wok meals section and it would be served with paneer satays. Not too large a portion, Tek Tek comprised a small bowl of traditional Indonesian noodles with tofu and vegetables. Topped with crisply fried tofu, baby corn, bell peppers and other veggies, the noodles were well cooked. Despite a dry preparation, we didn’t need any accompanying gravy, as the dish was flavoursome.
Shan Tamin Chin, Burmese rice covered with a layer of veggies cooked in tomato-peanut sauce, could easily serve three! Packed with wholesome veggies and a coconut-ey flavour, the tomato sauce resembled the red Thai curry and went well with the beautifully cooked flavoursome rice. The peanuts added to the crunch while the spicy paneer satay coated with a spicy red gravy were delish. We rounded off our meal with Sangkaya (Rs 150), a slice of Thai coconut-pumpkin cake topped with vanilla ice cream. This not-too-sweet, fresh coconut goodie along with the spongy cake was of melt-in-the-mouth variety.
Packing in authentic flavours in most dishes, some of their experimental offerings were letdowns, especially the Gamajageon. It’s value-for-money pricing would tempt an encore but we’d go for their typical entrants, instead.
Time: 11.30 am to 11.30 pm
At: 38 Bangkok Street, 3,4,5,6 Windsor Chambers, near Yazdani Bakery, Cawasji Patel Street, Fort.
38 Bangkok Street didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals
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