Thai Pavilion at Taj Vivanta, Begumpet has launched its Sunday Brunch offering called Som Tam. The Pan Asian Sunday Brunch has the theme of “Journey through the Silk Route” and brings together some well loved and a few unique dishes from Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Korean cuisines. Put together by Chef Arun Kumar Reddy and his able team, this brunch is set to delight lovers of Oriental food.
I was invited to sample the brunch a week ago and was very impressed with the many dishes some old favourites of mine and some new. The brunch is a 6 course spread and begs you to suspend your diet and rush while you savour the food and drinks.
We began with the Som Tam salad after which the brunch is names, is a Thai Pavilion speciality. Today too, it did not disappoint . The sharp flavours of the sweet and spicy sauce with the crunchy green papaya shreds is always refreshing.
Next I tried the Gado Gado – an Indonesian Salad of raw and steamed vegetables, still crisp to the bite with fried tofu and tempeh and boiled eggs. This was served with a peanut dressing that complimented it well. The mix of textures in the salad is something to enjoy.
The vegetable hot and sour soup that I tasted was very fresh with a burst of flavours and the vegetables retained a bite and were not woefully over cooked as is usually the case with soups.
The four kinds of sushi, Maki, uramaki, Temaki and Nigiri were very average. They seemed dry and no amount of kikkoman soya or wasabi was helping bring life (sic!) into it. Due feedback was given to the chef who promised to work on it.
Loved the Dim Sums, delicately covered with a paper thin coating stuffed with prawns (Har Gao) for the non vegetarian option and mixed vegetables (Sui Mai) for the vegetarian option. Truth be told I preferred the vegetarian option better.
The appetizers were many and varied. Each one representing a part of the south east. The Tung tong (vegetarian thai appetizer) an outer crisp fried pastry filled with vegetables was superb. Crunchy on the outside and well seasoned filling on the inside.
This is the first time I tasted the Tahu Bakar – Indonesian tapas of grilled tofu pockets stuffed with sprouts and tho I am not the biggest tofu fan, I liked this one.
The Ji Yuk Sung – another Thai appetizer which comprised of minced chicken (there is another version which uses pork) served on lettuce leaves was sharp and had a kick from the chillies. I loved this one.
The Ca Nuong – Vietnamese roasted fish (chunks of basa which is quite the norm with restaurants these days due to its neutral flavour) was so sublimely seasoned with fresh ginger and green onions and fish perfectly cooked that it had me taking second and third helpings of it!
Loved the Tung Tong – the usually money bag shaped pastry crust that is filled with a stuffing. In this case it was folded into a square star shape if that makes sense and filled with minced vegetables.
The Peking Duck Pancake didn’t allure me – it seemed too dry and the rest of the elements – the shredded vegetables and the actual pancake didn’t have anything binding them together and seemed like different elements forcefully rolled together in a pancake.
I loved the Chor Siu Pork – Roast pork cooked over charcoal, succulent and flavourful like only pork can be, I reached out for seconds and this will be a huge hit with pork lovers.
Also loved the Tempura Prawns, the fresh prawns succulent and the tempura batter lending it the right kind of crispness. These were great with the various dipping sauces.
I was already quite full from the starters when the main course was served. The Hei Phad Prik Haeng which is Water chestnut and cashewnut in spicy gravy was my favourite from the last time I ate here. The crispy texture of the water chestnut in the spicy sauce is terrific. I wish more restaurants in Hyderabad would use water chestnuts.
Then we had the Suan La Tu Dou Si, which is Beijing hot and sour potato string. There is an interesting story behind this dish, apparently the Chef had a request from a Chinese guest, describing this dish and later the guest was taken to the kitchen where he demonstrated this dish. Fine sticks of potato were stir fried with sauces. To be honest, the potato is still crunchy because it isnt cooked through and while it is a great story to tell, I would prefer it fully cooked and then tossed in the sauces. This was a miss for me.
Pe Phad Prik Nam Manhoi, which is Lamb in ginger oyster sauce was ok, slivers of succulent lamb meat braised in the familiar sharp flavours of ginger and oyster sauce.
Gaeng Kiew Wan, or the green thai curry with chicken has always been one of my favourite Thai curries and at Thai Pavilion they do a smashing job of it. Since they don’t use generice ready made pastes, but make their own, they are able to customise it to the tastes of pure vegetarians who do not eat fish and shrimp paste and sauce. This helps cater to their large vegetarian clientele. The freshly made pastes add such a punch of flavour that is missing when a readymade paste is used. This was eaten with the fragrant steamed Jasmine rice.
Yang Zhou Chao Fan – better know to us as Chinese fried rice was a good accompaniment to the curries
I loved the Bamee Krappow which was a spicy stir fried noodle with lots of fresh basil leaves. A good change from the usual bland noodle dishes served.
For a sweet note to end up this expansive lunch spread, we had Tab Tim Grob which is a well loved Thai dessert of water chestnut pearls with rose syrup and coconut milk. I’ve enjoyed this at Thai Pavilion before but what blew my mind was this made into a cheesecake. The crust made of coconut cookies and the mascarpone and coconut milk cheesecake interspersed with the water chestnut pearls and rose syrup. It was sublime, not too sweet, creamy and so indulgent that it is tough to like any other dessert on the buffet after eating this one!
There was an ice cream made with Thai green curry paste which also I loved, the surprising flavours of galangal and lemongrass pairing well with the cool creamy coconut milk base.
There were also some chocolate filled rolls which I should have totally skipped, it didn’t have anything going for it.
Priced at Rs. 1399 all inclusive, this is a very competitive price and worth every penny. The price is for the brunch buffet which includes house wines, brews and spirits. Lunch goers can also enjoy a dip in the pool for an additional Rs. 100.
Recommendations: The dimsums, Grilled Fish, Ji Yuk Sung (minced chicken served in lettuce cups), Green Curry, Water chestnuts and cashew gravy, basil noodles, tab tim grub cheesecake, green curry ice cream
Where: Thai Pavilion, Taj Vivanta, Begumpet
Date: Every Sunday from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Price: 1399/- All Inclusive
For reservations and more information: 040 – 6725 2626