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Called 'The Far East Now Far Out', the latest food festival at Baan Thai, is undoubtedly the best address for Thai cuisine in the city. It will definitely raise eyebrows of some and excite the taste buds of many.
The brainchild of Executive Chef Saurav Banerjee and the sweet execution of Chef Kloe Som Suay, has transformed the quintessentially Bengali freshwater fish to precisely designed traditional Thai dishes. One would consider this as definitely a very smart move, as Kolkata loves its fish, especially Bengalis. Well, it is perceived that every Bengali has fish or machh as the middle name.
If we make a list of the most popular fish for regular use in Bengal, then the inclusion of Bekti, Pabda, Parshe, Koi, Tangra, Pomfret in the Top 10 is as obvious as Sachin Tendulkar in any World XI. What happens when you have a Thai take on all these different varieties of fishes? Thai cuisine is characterised by the interplay of flavours and the use of the entirety of the fish, and this is reinforced in the dishes that are on offer in this festival.
Tangra Mach is seen in the starter, which is deep fried and tossed with chilli, garlic and basil along with some other herbs. The best part is the fish itself was so crispy that one can chew off the entire head of the fish and not be bothered with any bones. It is difficult to keep your fingers off something so spicy and flavourful. Bekti being the most popular fish in the restaurants, there have been several takes on this mighty fish. However, Chef Kloe Som Suay presents the whole Bekti in a spicy sweet and sour sauce. The portions of the fish are cut into cubes, and deep-fried and then tossed in a sweet and sour sauce, which has an abundance of pineapples and chillies.
Parshe Mach, which itself is quite a buttery fish is braised in their signature Green Curry. There is so much honesty and simplicity in this dish that it makes you want to kiss the chef’s hand. When it is Koi Mach, ‘Tel Koi’ is what always comes to the mind; a typical Bengali way to preparing the fish with cumin and coriander powder and cooked only in mustard oil with no water at all. Koi Mach here is fried and smothered in a spicy Thai sauce, the flavours of which are accentuated by small bursts of slightly nutty and zingy fresh green peppercorns. Lemongrass comes out strongly in the beautifully marinated and steamed Pabda fish with vegetables. The thin broth from the steaming is full of the goodness of Thai herbs, and you will simply want to lick your plate clean. To finish this medley, there is Pomfret cooked in a rich Red Curry, which is an assault of richness and flavour, and the creamy coconut makes it so ambrosial.
This festival will be on till the end of this month for both lunch and dinner service on À la carte basis. If you are a fish lover and adventurous with your palate, then do head on to Baan Thai at The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata. To make the experience even more memorable, reserve a table with EazyDiner and avail exciting offers.
A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.