On the 23rd of April, there was a contest on Twitter by Ola Cabs for Restaurant Week India 2016. And I won a meal for two.
Ten choices were given and we were asked to select three, and as per availability, we got our reservations at Benjarong, Alwarpet.
Benjarong is fine dining place that serves Thai cuisine. It is located conveniently on TTK Road. If you are coming into TTK road from Cathedral road, it falls on your right side. The compound has French Loaf, Teppan and Benjarong. You really can’t miss it, even if TTK Road has many restaurants and eateries across its length. Parking is limited at the compound, but the valet service should help.
Since we visited thanks to Restaurant Week India 2016, we were to select from a menu specially made for the purpose. From these, we get to choose two appetisers, one soup or salad, two main course dishes, two staples, and a choice of desert.
I must say that having never tasted Thai food before, this was an adventure. I had heard fabulous reviews about Benjarong but had not ventured into the world of Thai food before. And so I had no great expectations. But how I was blown away!
Benjarong has a quiet and calm feel to it. The decor is kept simple. There are plain walls highlighted with wood work. This actually makes all the curios and art look that much more wonderful. The restaurant is not one of the places that has an open floor plan. The entire place is segmented off and has a few glass partitions with niches that store art. This actually makes a huge family dinner or a quiet meal for two possible while maintaining a sense of privacy.
Now the food. Once we place our order, there is a platter brought forth to all tables. This platter has baby spinach leaves and peanuts, lime wedges, chopped onions, ginger, sliced red chillies, and roasted coconut gratings and a sauce. We were told, one is supposed to take a spinach leaf and add condiments of one’s choice and pop it in one’s mouth. Once I did this, I knew I was going to have a great meal. The flavour you experience is immense. Given the number of condiments, the possible flavour combinations are huge and very pleasingly delicious.
For appetisers, we chose Baby Corn Tartlets, Chicken Satay, Raw Mango Salad and Glass Noodle Soup with Chicken Dumpling.
The soup was good and the Chicken Satay was served with a peanut sauce. The sauce was interesting (probably because I had never had it before) and went well with the Chicken Satay.
The Raw Mango Salad and the Baby Corn Tartlets, I am now a huge fan of these two dishes. Raw mango by itself has a natural ‘tang’ to it. The menu just says Raw Mango Salad, but whatever went into was a winning combo. The dressing, the ingredients, everything in the dish plays very well with one’s palate. Baby Corn Tartlets is baby corn tossed with roasted chilli paste served in rice tartlets. This is again an amazing dish. Like I said before, Fan for life of these two dishes.
For main course we had a Fish in Roasted Chilli Sauce and Thai Green Curry Chicken. To go with Jasmine Rice, Glass Noodles with Vegetables and Mixed Peppers, Flat Noodles Veg in Chilli Basil Sauce. Glass Noodles, as a first timer, won me over. Both noodle dishes were filled with vegetables. It was very delicious, especially since I am veggie lover. The rice though didn’t make me a fan. The fish in Roasted Chilli Sauce was flavorful. It had a tang, was spicy and the fish was cooked to perfection. The Thai Green Curry Chicken was a perfect complement to rice. It looks a bit heavy but on the contrary was light and full of mild flavour.
As for quantity, it was more than enough. We were stuffed by the time we were done with the fish and noodles; we took the rice and chicken curry home.
For Desert, Fried Ice cream and Water Chestnut Rubies served with sweetened coconut milk were consumed. I mean there is that time when you feel stuffed, but then they bring out the fried ice cream and all you can think of is how you have space for just that much more. The Water Chestnut in coconut milk came as a complete surprise. This desert was light – perfect since we were already so full. The water chestnut and coconut milk together perform some sort of magic in your mouth.
Overall I would definitely recommend Benjarong to everyone who wants to try Thai.
There must be a special mention of the staff at Benjarong. They were all very attentive and helpful. Everyone who attended to our table knew about the food, and frequently asked us how we found the meal. Benjarong doesn’t need much else if their staff treat their customers this well. In my list, Benjarong definitely is one the places that has the best staff.
If I had a choose three dishes to make a meal, I would choose Baby Corn Tartlets, Raw Mango Salad and finish off with the Water Chestnut in coconut milk.
PS – All photographs were taken in dim light and a bad phone. Apologies.