Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A taste for Thai

Give your tastebuds a wake-up call with the Thai Kitchen food, writes Sneha May Francis

Every cuisine has its signature dish, which is promptly placed on a pedestal, pushing the other lesser-known dishes into oblivion. It’s the Tandoori Chicken for Indian cuisine or Chopsuey for Chinese, making one wonder if there’s anything more on offer from that region. Thai cuisine has also suffered similar generalisations, with the fiery coconut red/green curry being declared the most obvious choice. But we were in for a revelation at the aesthetically decorated Park Hyatt Dubai’s The Thai Kitchen. With each dish, we discovered a culinary world beyond the typical Thai curry and rice.
The bustling contemporary interiors, complete with four open kitchens, each with its neat pile of pots and pans and ingredients, painted a colourful gastronomic image. Mesmerised by the chef’s juggling act, we found it tough to decide where to sit. The cool exteriors, which boasted panoramic views of the Dubai Creek, didn’t take much convincing though.
The uncomplicated menu was neatly divided into wok, salads, noodles, clay pots, fried, grilled, steamed and sweets. We were spoilt for choice but our lack of Thai culinary knowledge prompted us to opt for the set menu, which offers a little of everything.
Our two-hour long dinner saw an assortment of tiny flavoured dishes, making their way to our candle-lit table. The unpretentious tiny helpings made for perfect sharing, enabling us to try out a variety of flavours without compromising on tummy space.
Chef Supattra’s authentic spread had us floored. Blackened, crispy beef strips and a tangy sauce set the mood. Armed with our drinks – a reddish juice and plain orange juice – we were ready to tackle the fiery dishes. Our tastebuds were in for a rush of flavours, some timid, others flaming hot. Considering the helpings were teeny, tasting and choosing our favourites was a game we enjoyed immensely.
The Shrimp Toast with Seasame bowled us over with its tough crispy exterior and soft textured interiors. The accompanying sauce wasn’t overpowering: just enough to give it the much-desired twist. The Green Papaya Salad and Spicy Pomelo Salad looked pretty on the outside but was packed with a powerful spicy punch on the inside. For the faint-hearted, we suggest a spice check before placing your order. It was the Roast Duck Curry that floored us. The subtle dark, sweetened soy sauce perfectly dressed the thin slices of roast duck.
We had started off by saying that we’d give the coconut curries a miss, but the Green Beef Curry paired with a neat pile of chilled white noodles proved an interesting twist to the regular coconut fare. The Red Vegetable Curry was spot on, only proving why this concoction is such a rage across the globe.
Our lack of Thailand’s sweet inclinations could’ve made us skip the desserts, but a bite into the sweet dishes left us amazed at how simple mixes of tropical fruits and crushed ice turned into something so awe-inspiring. We relished the Sago with Pomelo, an enchanting milky coconut blend.
After savouring our huge spread in the most romantic setting, we decided we’d have to give this trendy spot a revisit.

What Thai cuisine where Park Hyatt Dubai, Dubai Creek; 04 602 1234Why For a spicy trip to the Asian coastCost Bill for two Dh530

Published in e+, Dubai (May 14th issue)

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