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Crafting confluence in Thai cuisine

The launch of the all-new menu at Banyan Tree is a celebration of the senses. The Thai cuisine here is a tribute to the old and a toast to the new

Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ

It’s almost a year since I last visited the Thai speciality dining – Banyan Tree at Taj Holiday Village Resort and Spa. The revisit couldn’t be avoided – especially since it announced its reinvention. The new menu here has a lot to offer in terms of contemporary flavours that are well paired with traditional recipes and authentic Thai flavours.

It’s customary to be treated to a pad Thai cooler that has muddled lemongrass, galangal, lime, khus syrup and some amuse-bouche before it leads up to the food.

With over twenty years of experience, chef Amnath Deewong uses authentic ingredients grown in the resort premises that do not compromise on the Thai flavours and the latest in food industry to bring you some innovative offerings.

The divine Thai egg benny has poached eggs on a seaweed sago shell with a crab cake and some spicy lemongrass remoulade. The experience of eating this all and savouring the Thai flavour through the different textures is what I loved most. The Thai take on the classic ‘eggs benedict’ was perfect. Enjoy your veggies in a wrap with some spicy peanut sauce or how about trying a Thai pizza that of course, has the basics of the Italian thin crust version, but the toppings and sauces is what makes it Thai.

For those who like soup you could begin with coriander soup with Thai herbs (gaeng pak chee kub samoon prai Thai) followed by poutine (fries topped with panang curry, scallions and cheese) and the flavoursome som tam (fresh young raw papaya, roasted peanut, lime, Thai chilli).

The flavours vary in Thai cuisine and thus you can try out a range of dishes that boast of unique flavours. The dishes in the roasted chilli paste was dry and yet packed in robust flavours of spice that was tolerable. The roast pork in pepper garlic sauce also had an interesting flavour with herbs and the addition of pepper and garlic gives it a full bodied taste. If you are in the mood for something tangy, opt for the ‘mee grob’ which is crispy rice noodles with corn, water chestnuts, fried tofu, bean sprouts seasoned with some tamarind sauce.

The steward Sonu Rehapade was a stunner that evening. His knowledge of the dishes and camaraderie was enjoyable. The ‘pla tod namprik makam’ (red snapper with tamarind sauce) is worth trying. The subtle flavour of the fish and the tang is an elevated flavour to look for.

The signature mains at Banyan Tree include ‘goong samrot’ (stir fried tiger prawns tossed with chilli paste and makroot leaves) and ‘noodle karpao bolognaise’ which is a take on the Italian spaghetti version. Here the minced lamb is cooked with Thai herbs that are tossed with noodles. If you are a duck fan, try the ped noy which is Thai style roast duck on a bed of spinach. The meat was cooked to perfection; it was neither too tough nor was it falling apart and with the spinach, the combination was pretty interesting.

We ended the meal with makroot scented dark chocolate mousse which had a delicate hint of the citrus fruit within the luscious chocolate mousse. However, it is the ‘tub tim grob’ (diced water chestnut with sweetened coconut milk) that is one of my favourite Thai desserts. It’s refreshing, light and the rubies (chestnuts) are great to crunch on while slurping the sweetened coconut milk. Speaking on the menu offerings, executive chef Sahil Desai said: “Enhanced with spices handpicked from our dedicated garden, the menu brings together the perfect blend of authentic sweet, spicy and sour flavours of this exotic cuisine.”

Open for lunch and dinner, Banyan Tree still remains to be a favourite among tourists and Goans alike who’ve had their earliest experience of Thai cuisine in Goa.

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