CHENNAI: The aroma of sweet steamed bamboo lingers as we enter Sacallion at Ramada Plaza. Behind the glass panel that faces the kitchen, we watch the chefs juggling between ladles and woks to stir fry their orders. The hotel has invited three chefs — chef Kittitouch Sirsaraphet, chef Doung Dao Putchakan and chef Rujiwan Lertwiri Wong — from their chain in Bangkok for the Thai Food Festival. “We have brought a few of our own ingredients from Thailand to add to the menu,” said Chef Kittitouch Srisaraphet.
As we sit down, we are served cucum, a subtly sweet concoction of pineapple juice and cucumber water. The sourness of the cucumber water is met with slight pangs of sweetness from the pineapple juice. It is a perfect mid-food drink too, which cleanses our palate in between bites. We are also served a bubbling basil mojito.
We begin the meal with prawn spring rolls. Stuffed with soy and honey-drizzled glass noodles, and prawn, the mixture is wrapped in rice paper and fried till golden and crisp. Paired with sweet chilli sauce the snack is the best way to begin the journey through the next few courses. A little less of the oil would have made the dish stomach-friendly.
As part of the vegetarian entrees, there’s chef Kittitouch’s favourite, Ma hor. Skewered on a toothpick and topped with a thin slice of red Thai chilli, this appetiser is a surprise. The base is a slice of fresh pineapple on top of which a fried ball of mushroom and peanut dough sits. It is to be popped in one go. The spicy red chilli hits you first — spreading like fire — when suddenly, the sweet pineapple juice softens the blow as we chew into it. The mushroom and peanut ball is soft and blends with the spicy and sweet mixture, acting as a sour base to the whole ensemble. Truly a bite that takes you through sour, sweet and spice together. Along with this, the chefs whipped up corn cakes and vegetable spring rolls for the evening.
If you are watching your weight, opt for their healthy salads. We first bite into a spoon of som tom salad which is a blend of spice and sweet. Thinly sliced strips of raw, sour papaya compliment the dish. But, lesser quantity of palm sugar would have brought the whole dish together, ensuring a balanced flavour. And then there is yam wun sen ta lay, a mixture of spicy glass noodles and seafood that popped our ears with the spice.
After a melange of flavours plays in our mouth, we sip on the cucum to get ready for the main course which has sweet and sour seafood Pad Thai. The stir-fried flat noodles drizzled with a mixture of soy sauce and palm sugar is dotted with succulent prawns marinated in the same mixture. A dash of extra soy sauce opens up the flavours a little more. For their patrons, the chefs have a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian preparations, of which we find the pla rad prek, sauteed basa fish coated with a mixture of chilli flakes and herbs, interesting. The fish is cooked to perfection and melted into a spicy chewy mixture. Lamb massaman, a slightly pungent radish that is generally cooked with meat, is a winner. The lamb is tender and tastes perfect with the aromatic massaman curry. We end the main course with the traditional gaeng keaw wan kai or green curry with chicken. A concoction of ice cabbage, mushroom, babycorn, bamboo shoot and broccoli is coated in Thai green curry sauce, which is made using coconut milk, spices and herbs. The large, bitter peas could have been avoided.
Just as we chug down our drink, dessert is served in the form of boa loi, a mixture of mashed rice balls in sweet coconut milk — exactly like the ones that are sold on the streets of Bangkok.“The chefs will be here till December 8 during the entire duration of the Thai Food Festival at Ramada Plaza,” said Sandeep Bhatnagar, general manager of the hotel.
The menu is priced from `999+taxes. For details,call: 9560285285