For years, the iconic “The Great Kebab Factory” – the North Indian restaurant in Radisson Blu, Mahipalpur, has wowed guests by serving melting-in-the-mouth kebabs. In a delirious state of hunger, I have driven miles for a meal. A bite of the delicate Galouti Kebabs and the repetitive pleasure of dunking my khameer roti into a bowl of creamy “Dal factory” before popping it into my mouth has been an experience. An attainment of nirvana albeit momentarily. But today the story is neither about the dals, kebabs nor the Nawabs.

Since the last five years, Neung Roi, the specialty Thai restaurant in the property has been making waves. Winning awards since its inception including a yearly recognition by the famed Times Out Guide, Neung Roi has made splashes in print with positive reviews from food critics, the Thai Embassy and the tourism board as the best Thai restaurant in India.

The Cuisine

The Thai MasterChef, Chef Orawan Piyapaisanskul is at the helm at the restaurant and she presents soulful food from the four regions of Thailand.

Chef Orawan

Ian cuisine from the North East Region of Thailand: Fresh and brightly flavored savory salads form the backbone of Isan cuisine and they find their place in the menu.

The Lan Na Cuisine: Located in Northern Thailand, Lan Na region has been known as the ‘Kingdom of a million rice fields”. The traditional Thai style of cooking a Lan Na cuisine epitomizes the pleasure of eating contrasting flavors – soft and crunchy, sweet with sour and spicy with mellow.

The Southern Thai Cuisine of the Kra Isthmus is influenced by both Hainanese and Cantonese cuisine and uses liberal quantities of coconut and turmeric.

Central Thai: With its proximity to Bangkok, the food embodies a diverse range of locally available produce and complex layering of hot and salty flavors in its cuisine.

My passport proudly boasts of a crazy number of stamps of Thailand. A decade long business of bridal wear ensured that I make the frequent hop overs to procure the silks and laces that the country of smiles is known for. In the process, the food and culture of the place slowly seeped into my system and I have searched for restaurants back here in Delhi, that served authentic dishes true to the spirit of Thailand. Neung Roi seemed promising.

The Interiors

The calming, cascade of water at the entrance sets the mood right as one walks in the restaurant. Huge, bulbous lights that drop midair from the ceiling illuminate the expanse of the restaurant and define the modern, chic interiors. An elaborate floral decoration of orange lilies brightens the place. The flurry of chefs in the open kitchen catches my eye just before I’m led to my table.

The bulbous ceiling lights add character to the interiors at Neung Roi

The food fanfare begins!

The Miang Tham is a one bite wrap of pickled tea leaf stuffed with coconut, ginger, garlic, lime, and unsalted peanuts. Popular in both northern and central food, it set off the meal as an amuse bouche.

The Aa-Haan-Riak- Naam or the appetizers consisted of Gai Phad Prick Plow ( Stir-fried chicken enriched with the flavours of the spicy chilli paste), Goong Phad Prick Katiem ( Jumbo Stir-fried prawn, all plump and coated with chilli and garlic sauce), Porpia Phad Thai (The crisp Phad Thai spring roll with chilli sauce is a vegetarian’s delight) and Chormoung (Steamed Thai flower dumpling filled with vegetables).

Special applause for Chormoung – the Royal Thai steamed dumpling in the shape of a purple flower. The beautiful purple color that makes it exquisite is derived from butterfly pea flower water.

Porpia Phad Thai
Chormoung dumplings

Thai cuisine uses a lot of mangoes in their cuisine. As believers of Feng Shui tradition, for centuries, the Thais have grown mango trees on the south side of their house. They believe this brings prosperity to the family. In Neung Roi, the Yam Hed Khem Tong Krob uses fresh mango with a crispy enoki mushroom salad. Yam Talay is a refreshing seafood salad with lemongrass, shallot and spring onion. Every mouthful of this spicy seafood salad offers a texture of flavors or better said a taste explosion.

Can Hlak (Main Course)

Seeing the name Pla Rad Prick in the menu got me excited. The spicy crispy fried fish is simple to make and uses a few ingredients. In Bangkok, there’s this fancy street restaurant in Silom, right opposite Lebua that serves the best Pla Rad Prick. With a portion of Jasmine Rice and a few drops of Sriracha in the extra fish sauce that we ask with the dish, I have had many candlelight dinners chatting and laughing with my man. The dish in Neung Roi bought back memories of those cozy evenings. The ginger, chili and tamarind glaze made the fish just perfect.

Geang Kiew Wan Pak – The green curry (Pic Courtesy: Neung Roi}

The first brush that most Indians have with Thai cuisine is usually via the curries – the green, red and yellow curry. The Geang Khru Gai Yang (grilled chicken with yellow curry and herbs) and Geang Kiew Wan Pak (mixed vegetables in green curry with eggplant and kafir lime) were smooth and rich.

Packed with fresh ingredients and zesty spices, stir-fried kale with morning glory, bok choi, soya bean sauce, garlic, and pepper or Phad Pak Kiew  was toothsome and a healthy option.

The Desserts

Every nook and cranny of Bangkok sells Khao Niew Mamoung or Sticky rice with fresh mango and coconut milk and on every visit, it’s one dessert I eat ample of unapologetically. I love it so much that I went to Chef Leez cooking school last year to learn the process along with a few authentic Thai dishes. However, I was a tad disappointed with the dessert in the restaurant. Not that there was anything wrong in the sticky rice or the coconut milk but the mangoes were sour and that was a letdown. Perhaps, the summer season will be a better time to order this dessert.

The sticky rice mango and the Porpia Kluay Hom Thod

What then one should order is the Porpia Kluay Hom Thod or the crispy banana fritters with fig and honey ice cream. It was finger licking, groovy good and highly recommended.

Neung Roi is an exceptional restaurant that serves bona fide Thai cuisine with beautiful interiors to make dining an experience. Each and every ingredient is bought from Thailand and therefore this is as authentic a Thai cuisine one can get in Delhi. Next time you get a craving, look no further. Simply head to Neung Roi.

Disclaimer: I was invited by Little Black Book to be a part of the Insider Table for tasting at the restaurant. The views and opinions of the post are mine and are in no way prejudiced.

Dipali_Bhasin

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