A Thai test
A new Bandra eatery offers a swish experience but needs to reconsider its portion sizes
Food Lacks a punch
Past a heavy rose-pink-coloured drape, Pali Bhavan ends and Pali Thai begins. Fresh plants, a bar lined with blue suede chairs with golden frames greet us. The high ceiling has white lanterns that remind us of bamboo hats typical to Thai farmers. We like how the natural light falls on the opaque glass creating a shadow of the plants placed outside. We settle into a corner seat that gives us a good view of the chic ambiance.
Having travelled with our companion to Thailand earlier this year, we are having a salivating banter about basil chicken, fish curry and the taste riot that the pad Thai noodles we gorged on our trip were. Thai food is like watching a good thriller film — you expect the suspense to hit you hard, throw you into a flavourful pool and leave a lingering craving for more. You want to be exposed to the intense drama all at once, the palate playing four corners with bitter, sweet, salt and sour.
The staff, soft-spoken and sophisticated, patiently wait for us to settle and presents us the food and beverage menu. It’s lunch hour, and so, we decide to skip drinks and dive into the appetisers; we pick miang kham (R425) and gai tod samunprai (R575) and raise an extra eyebrow at the price — the gradient keeps rising through the meal.
The first dish has four open wild betel leaves with a dollop of Thai condiments namely ginger, red chillies, peanuts and honey. We fold the paan and pop it into our mouth, savouring the kick of shallots, ginger, chilli, lemon peel and toasted coconut on a bed of cane syrup. The second one, is a well-presented plate of herbal chicken balls with a tangy sweet coulis of tamarind and dry chill. For the price, the portion size is meagre, but the coulis is finger-licking good, packed with a sweet, sour and spicy punch.
For the main course, we call for the classic pad thai (R850) and are told the portion size will not suffice two. The stir-fried noodles lack the sour punch of tamarind, the sweetness of palm sugar is minimal and the prawns are stale. The dish lacks salt and is a poor imitation of the most basic dish of the cuisine. We pick the coconut, sesame and chocolate (R575) for dessert which is served with a mound of coconut shavings and mixed with sesame and peanut dust to add texture and balance the cloak of milk chocolate.
Our bill slip is handed without a folder, bringing our fine dining experience to a screeching halt. Pali Thai offers a cozy, elegant ambience, but is slightly overpriced for portions it offers.
Time 12 pm to 11 pm
At Adarsh Nagar, Pali Naka, Bandra West.
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