Barbeque Nation is one of the most successful casual dining restaurants. It is the pioneer to promote DIY, ‘ Do It Yourself’ cuisine with a concept of live on-the-table grill, in India.
I was recently invited there, for their on going Thai Food Festival ‘Sawatdee’ which in Thailand means, ‘hello’. The festival has begun on 17th July and will continue till 2nd August in all the Barbeque Nation Outlets at Mumbai. I was told that the festival offered to provide me an experience, a feast of South East Asia by bringing a slice of Thailand to my platter.
I have been to Thailand and a part of my travelogue could be read here. I have a decent understanding of Thai flavours and have enjoyed it’s bounty at Thailand. The Thai food is extremely flavourful and has a mix of sweet, sour and spice in it’s preparations. Galangal, lemon grass, Thai bird chillies, Kafir lime leaves, Coconut Milk, Soy/Fish Sauce, Palm Sugar, Thai sweet basil and Peanuts are a few flavours and ingredients used extensively in this cuisine.
I was looking forward to these flavours at the Thai Festival at Barbeque Nation. The restaurant was buzzling and there was an array of food preparations which looked comforting. The staff was welcoming and cheerful, eager to serve us better.
To start off, I had a kiwi slush which was very refreshing and brain freezing too, I highly recommend that. Later, I tried a little of Som Tom which is the famous raw papaya salad from Thailand but it disappointed me in terms of it’s flat flavour.
To warm up the throat with a burst of authentic Thai flavours was the Veg Coconut and Cream Soup. It was far better than the Non-Veg Tom Yum Kai soup. If I had not gone for a review and had a choice of skipping a few items on the menu, I would have had two to three bowls of the veg soup.
We were served a variety of Veg and Non-Veg starters, a few were a part of their regular menu and the others were created keeping in line with the Thai theme. I loved all the Thai veg starters, they spoke loud and clear of the Thai flavours.
There were a total of five Thai flavour based starters; Spicy Peanut Cauliflower, which was basically a grilled cauliflower served with a spicy peanut sauce. I requested for more sauce in mine as I like the kick from the spice hitting me on my palate.Then there was Lampang Tofu, Sa Kaeo Paneer, Sisakaet Corn and Chiang Mai Mushroom.
Sa Kaeo Paneer was a basically a Paneer tikka with Thai flavours. Lamapang Tofu was Filo pastry filled with thai flavoured tofu and deep fried. The flavour was nice but I wished that the Filo pockets were crisp. Saisaket corn was grilled corn which was succulent and juicy and lastly the Chiang Mai Mushrooms, which were marinated in Thai green spices and grilled. The Mushrooms were outstanding in terms of absorbing the flavours, which indicated they were very well marinated.
Other than the five Thai starters we were also given to taste a veg kebab served with chutney, crispy corn and crispy baby corn coated with semolina served with schezwan sauce, which were also nice but the star dish remained the Cajun Potatoes which is the specialty of Barbeque Nation.
The non vegetarians could try Bi Kaeng Kung- which were basically succulent prawns marinated in curry leaf and Thai Hot Chilli Sauce, Ratchaburi Kai (Malai Basil Chicken) was delicately barbequed chicken in basil, cardamom & cheese and Mekong Pla- was Grilled fish with aromatic Thai marinade.
I was a bit disappointed with the Veg main course which displayed a mix of Thai and North Indian curries but unfortunately even the dishes which were suggested to be Thai, felt like coming straight from a Punjabi Kitchen.
I was utterly disappointed with the Pad Thai Noodles which is the simplest noodle preparation to make and is flavoured with soy sauce, chilli, brown sugar, lemon and roasted peanuts. The peanuts add a bite and nutty taste to this popular street food of Thailand and those were completely missing from the preparation. Moreover, the preparation makes use of flat glass noodles which adds the soft touch to the preparation and even those were not used. I could have spared the glass noodles, if the flavour and taste was authentic.
However, the non vegetarian section had Thai Pla Kaeng (fish delicacy cooked in coconut milk) and Phad Ki Phrik (Thai dish prepared with stir fried chicken and lots of chilli) which were good.
The desserts is something I looked forward to, post a spicy and savoury lunch. The desserts which were noteworthy and worth relishing were the Angoori Gulab Jamun, Litchi n Lemongrass Pastry and Lemongrass Kulfi. The pumpkin sticky rice and Mango n Sago pudding which were also a part of the Thai desserts, their flavour could not sweep me away.
The Barbeque Nation Outlets are at Andheri (E), Lokhandwala, Nerul, Thane, Belapur, Kurla and Worli.
Festival Date: 17th July-2nd Aug
Average Meal For Two: INR 1600
Timings: Open For Lunch& Dinner