For an anniversary treat, Benjarong is offering some good old ‘set meal’ prices
Connoisseurs of Thai food in the city may be aware that one of Chennai’s most popular Thai restaurants, Benjarong turns 17 this year, but for some others, it comes as a pleasant surprise. Brand Chef Ramkumar V (inset) tells us that there’s more. “Seventeen is a good year for us, and therefore the celebrations are two-fold. We have an ongoing Lanna Food Festival that celebrates the origins of Thai cuisine. Then, there is a Thai Set Meal available for all of this month, which is priced at what it used to be back in 2001, when we opened…`398 for both the vegetarian and non-veg options,” says the chef, who has launched Benjarong in Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru.
Crisp n’ crunch
Upon the good chef’s insistence we begin from the set meal with the refreshing Som Tam (classic raw papaya salad), which has all the freshness of summer flavours (lemon, red chilli, honey and peanuts) and Gai Hor Baitey (chicken wrapped in pandanus leaves), one of their most popular tender, juicy starters. Those who love seafood can opt for the Pla Yang, Thai grilled fish served with a sweet chilli sauce — a heady combination of crisp and spice. From the Lanna Festival’s special menu, we try the Som Tam Fa Rang, Chiang Mai’s original spicy guava salad served with cashews. The crunchy guava is imported from Thailand, and tastes less milder than the local varieties.
Scurrying for curry
After a sip of their fragrant lemongrass tea, we move on to the mains. The chef-recommended Khao Soi (flat noodles with curry sauce and chunks of meat or veggies) is best eaten with the Gai Phad Siew Khing (stir-fried lamb in ginger and Thai soy sauce), both of which are a part of the festival menu. While the noodles make for a filling meal in itself, the lamb seemed to have lost its crispy outer texture, after being slathered with sauce. The Thai green curry from the set meal menu has us smitten. The aroma of the kaffir lime leaves in the curry is comforting and familiar.
The staple Tub Tim Grob (water chestnuts in sweet, chilled coconut milk) from the set menu, makes for a mildly sweet yet delicious dessert. The Khanun Delight (jackfruit served with fruit-flavoured ice cream in a bowl of sweetened coconut milk), is the winner with a delightful burst of tropical flavours.
The Thai Set Meal is available for Rs 398 (plus taxes), and a meal for two from the Lanna Festival Menu is Rs 1,500 (plus taxes) approx. The festival and promo are both on till February 28, for lunch and dinner.
— Nandita Ravi