DR BASU SHARMA
On a nice summer’s day, my friend and I decided to go out for lunch. After much deliberation we decided on having Thai food at Baan Thai which reopened at Durbar Marg six months ago. Four floors above Store One, the restaurant can (thankfully) be reached by means of an elevator.
When we entered the restaurant, I was alarmed at the fact that it was almost empty. Though we were a bit early, I have a thing about restaurants that are empty — the food may not be as fresh as it should be. But since it was not my first visit there, I was assured by my previous experiences about the quality of food. It was a hot day, and in that moderate sized room, they just had one fan cooling the place — which was, according to them, due to load shedding. Though they do have a generator, they use it sparingly I guess. I did not ask.
They have two types of seating arrangements — a sit down on cushions with low tables for cosy seating for those requiring privacy, or a standard table with chairs. We chose the latter.
The steward — an old acquaintance from a different restaurant where we frequent — was most gracious in his welcome. It gives me good vibes when I am welcomed with a smile, you feel special and automatically make excuses for their small slip-ups. He led us to a table by the window, wherein we could see the traffic pass by but be far from the chaos of the road.
We were given the menus as we were seated, and asked for our drinks order. Unfortunately, they did not serve diet sodas, so we settled for water for my friend and a fresh lime juice with mint leaves, which I must say was served very prettily in a tall glass.
By the time the starters arrived, the restaurant started getting more patrons. The starters — Papaya Salad and Pork Ribs — were neatly presented. The salad was fresh and crunchy and although the pork was rich in taste, it was a bit dry. I would have preferred a bit more juicy ribs.
We then had Rice Noodle with Chicken Mince Clear Soup which was a bit salty. But the main course was impressive. The presentation of whole steamed fish was quite dramatic as it was served in a fish patterned dish (that must be the reason why the service was a bit slow). We ordered steamed rice and red curry to go with the fish. The red curry was excellent as the blend of the coconut milk along with the Thai spices penetrated deep into the vegetables. It was finger licking delicious! Unfortunately, we did not have room for dessert after such a heavy meal.
The restaurant is not for a fine dining experience, but has a nice ambience for a meal out with family and friends. The walls are lightly painted and give a bright and airy feel to the room. As the tables are quite close to one another, it would be advisable not to have private conversations when the adjoining table is occupied. The service was not exemplary but the wait staff were courteous and prompt when free. The table linen was clean and seemed freshly laundered and ironed. The rest rooms were small but clean, however, I would advise the proprietors to put fresheners on both the toilets and a soap dispenser along with paper towels in the common wash basin.
The restaurant is worth a visit if you like Thai food and it is not very expensive — a good meal for two without alcohol will come under Rs 2,000. I wholeheartedly recommend this restaurant and hope everybody will enjoy the experience of dining there.