2000 hours, May 27, 2016, Thursday, BKC
C'est le ton qui fait la chanson. And I do marvel at the way AccorHotels group has positioned itself in the country. Pullman, Grand Mercure, Ibis, Hotel Formule1, Novotel and Sofitel Mumbai BKC. The last is in fact, the flagship property of Sofitel - a French Luxury hotel chain under Accor Hotels, and running in the fifth year of its operations in India. Ably helmed by the General Manager Biswajit Chakraborty, the French touch is reflected in the entire ambiance, - the designs, the lightings, the paintings, the settings. Even the hotel's logo represents an amalgamation - un poignee de main - between the two cultures. A warm friendship, the fragrance of Paris wafting into the melting pot of India.
We were invited by the hotel to celebrate the opening ceremony of 'Tastes of Thailand' and to meet Thai International Chefs who had been specially flown in from Bangkok. We were hosted by their personnel - the restaurant manager Mr Amit Basu and the marketing team member Ms Varsha Nair. There was also the presence of Ms. Sirin Surathin- Deputy Consul General, Thailand. And true to style, the festival was launched in grandeur with traditional Thai dance performances.
Soon the magic of Chefs Chitsanuphat Dungjampa and Chalermchai Tavornaroonrat came to fore. There was a presence of every conceivable Thai food spread before us. To soothe the naysayers, the restaurant had intelligently kept a few Middle Eastern items and maintained a section of Indian food as well, and an equally impressive one at that.
1) Tord man Gung(deep fried shrimp cake)
2) Tord Hed(Deep fried Mushroom)
3) Chicken Dimsums – The minced meat was great, rightly flavourful, the dough of the covering was also rightly thin, and translucent too. The only area where it fell an overpowering lemon grass flavour. Cut that down a few notches, and you have a winner at hand.
4) Kha Nom Pang Gong (Sesame Prawns).
1) Lab Kai(Spicy Chicken Salad)
2) Lab Hed(Spicy Mushroom Salad)
3) Yam Pla muck(Spicy Seafood Salad)
4) Gai Yang Som Tham: Raw papaya and carrot julienne for sweetness, Tamarind for sourness, Thai chilli for heat and crushed peanuts and beans for crunch. Sprinkled with fish oil. A wonderful play on flavours.
5) Mushroom Tart, Balsamic Grilled veg, eggplant caponata with Grilled Polenta, Yum Hed (Mixed mushroom salad).
6) Seafood on ice: Whoa. Though sans spices and just a hint of salt, the iced prawns and calamari were a rare experience. Thumbs up.
7) Basa with sundried tomato and asparagus salad – Nice. The soft Basa quickly absorbed the tang of the tomatoes.
8) Yum Cai (Grilled and roasted chicken, cold) and Classic Smoked Turkey salad, cold.
1) Tom Yum Phak(Mix vegetable clear soup)
2) Tom Kha Goong (Prawn Coconut Soup) Prawns and coconut, can you beat that? The broth was tomatoey and light. The prawns were so well cooked that they were rendered extremely soft. Not sinewy or rubbery as is their wont.
1) Gong Kiew Wan Puck (Mix veg Green curry). Although only veg, the curry was extremely delightful. Rightly sweet and coconutty.
2) Kra Pao Gai(Chicken Tossed in hot basil sauce).
3) Chu Chi Pla (Grilled fish cooked in red curry) Rawas in red sauce. Spicy, but not fiery spicy. And sweet too.
4) Kao Pao(Steamed jasmine rice). Not a big fan of sticky rice, but a mish mash of the above two curries with this went absolutely well.
5) Pad see en(Stir Fried noodles with vegetables)
MIDDLE EASTERN FARE:
1) Baba Ganoush, Mint Labneh, Tabouleh, Balsamic Dressing, Cocktail Dressing, Basil Pesto Dressing, Ranch Dressing.
1) Tandoori Fish and Chicken Kabab. Served with Green mint chutney. Excellent.
2) Lasooni Kumbh - Mushroom marinated with Garlic paste and Indian spices, cooked in a clay oven. Soft and nicely chewy. The lasoon of it elevated the flavour to multiple notches higher.
3) Paneer 65: Deep fried cottage cheese marinated with curry leaves and South Indian spices. Thumbs up.
4) Gosht masala – Spicy brown bhuna mutton. Well done too.
5) Meen curry.
6) Panchratna Dal – One of the best dals I have had. Had with fish gravy and rice, it made my day.
1) Kluay Chuam : Poached Banana in syrup.
2) Kaok Nyao Ma Muang: Sticky Rice with Mango.
3) Mango Shooters. Mago juice, chillied and salted. Served in cutesy mini mason jars. Excellent.
4) Malai Barfi and Malai peda. Okayish stuff, the peda was a wee bit too sticky.
5) Dark Chocolate Pastries.
6) Coconut Delights. A pastry cum barfi, one of the most marvellous items. Not too sweet and full of coconut beauty, it rated an ace.
7) Florentine Slice France. Again excellent stuff. Loaded with dried fruits and nuts. In appears it was akin to a chikki piece, but that's where the resemblance ended. One bite and you could fathom the premiumness of the fare.
8) London Dairy ice creams in six flavours - Mocha almond, Dark chocolate, Hazelnut, Vanilla, Butterscotch and Strawberry.
9) Honeycomb: Did you know that a honey comb can be actually eaten? Yes, it's true. A startling fact brought forth, and with a live example to boot. The crunchy comb dripping with honey, poured on a poached banana or a chocolate sponge – sprinkled with zillions of toppings – cashew nuts, raisins, almonds, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, pomegranate, blueberry crush, strawberry crush, strawberry compote, mango compote – you name it. A rare experience.
Chaque chose vaut son prix. This is a premium place and a luxury hotel in its truest sense. The food is great, the ambiance hard-worked upon, the patrons - a lot of them expats, and the opulence evident. This location is also used for many a party thrown in by mega stars, so you get the drift. But at the same time it is not only all glitter and diamonds, it's not only all commerce, and it's not just stiff professionalism. This place also has a soul. The humble sous-chef who also doubles up as someone who scoops out ice creams for you, frowning if you ask for a small one. The food managing staff who are chivalrous to lift the heavy pans so that the ladies can easily fork out the delicacies. The alert servers who are ready to be with you to attend to your requirements with a smile. The managers hovering around, the scores of greeters, the extremely courteous marketing team... the kind of warmth and camaraderie which is exuded is exemplary. It's these who make the place worth visiting again and again.
The Food Quotient: Food Quality: 5/5, Food Choices: 4/5, Food Portions: ---, Food Presentation: 5 /5
The Other Determinants: Location: 4 / 5, Cleanliness: 5 / 5, Warmth: 5 / 5
The Hygiene Factors: Ambiance: 5 / 5, Space Quotient: 5 / 5, Delivery Time: ---
The Conclusives: Pricing: ---, Honesty: ---, Overall Experience: 4.5 / 5, Will I visit Again: 5 / 5.
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