New Delhi, India
November 20, 2013
Approached past a bar counter and small lounge (with beautiful giant brass hands, very typically Thai), the restaurant is a very pleasant combination of elegance and warmth. The ceiling and walls are polished wood, the upholstery is a mix-and-match of beige, gold-patterned crimson, gold-patterned black, and tan. There’s an orchid on each table, and the water tumblers are of coloured glass. Classy, but not intimidatingly so.
The restaurant was largely empty when we arrived; only two other tables were occupied. A waitress greeted us, led us to a table, and got us the menus. Though they do have a good enough range of alcoholic beverages, both of us settled for a fresh lemonade each and then got down to deciding what we wanted for food. Since we did want a dessert each, and don’t have massive appetites, we opted to skip a starter and have only a main course, followed by a dessert. In typical South East Asian style, portions are for at least two people each, so we ordered a pad thai (with mixed meats and vegetables); a stir-fried minced pork with soya sauce, garlic, basil and beans; and a stir-fried morning glory with yellow bean paste. This last dish was at the recommendation of the (very knowledgeable and helpful) waiter who took our order.
Within minutes of our placing our order, our drinks arrived (well iced, which gets special marks from me!). Along with that, our waitress brought us a complimentary amuse-bouche each: a deep-fried vegetable dumpling sitting on a bed of fried rice noodles mixed with fresh juicy pomegranate seeds. After she’d placed these in front of us, she pointed out the sauces on the table and identified them for us: a spicy peanut sauce, a honey and chilli sauce, and a hot chilli sauce. "The honey chilli sauce goes with the fried dumplings," she informed us. And yes, it certainly did—the dumpling was delicious, crisp on the outside and tender inside.
Our main course too was served up within about ten minutes of our having ordered our food. All three dishes, we realized, came in portion sizes that were rather too large for us, but we gamely carried on and finished it all off. Part of the reason for that was also that it uniformly good. The moo phad kaprao (minced pork stir-fried with garlic, soya, chillies and basil) came studded with inch-long pieces of succulent green beans that provided an interesting textural contrast to the pork. (This particular dish, by the way, is available with either pork or tenderloin, at the same price).
The other main dish we’d ordered was the vegetarian one, phad pak bung tao jiew: stir-fried morning glory with yellow bean paste. This one was the perfect complement to the pork, a relatively gently flavoured (but yet very flavourful) dish of lots of morning glory greens (water spinach) tossed with garlic and the yellow bean paste—and studded with bits of the beans. Both my husband and I loved this to bits.
The phad thai we’d ordered was a mixed one, with prawns, chicken, and vegetables (broccoli, carrot, beansprouts, etc). Since I’m a vegetable freak, I’d have liked some more of the veggies, but they were fairly adequate for the average diner. The noodles tasted delicious, and the sprinkling of roasted peanuts was very generous—totally up my street!
We had a look through the dessert menu when we’d finished, and discovered that Thai Pavilion has some rather unusual (for India, at least) items listed: a steamed custard in a baby pumpkin, for example; or a spiced crème brulée with dried rose petals. Both of us finally settled for chocolate-based desserts: I ordered a hot Thai chocolate soufflé, while my husband opted for a ‘dark Callebaut chocolate strata with crackling almond crunch’.
The desserts, while both good (and each with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side), were nothing like what we’d have expected to get. My soufflé, for instance, didn’t really resemble a soufflé at all. It was a mid-sized tart (granted, very light pastry) filled with a delicious and fluffy dark chocolate filling, not rich and heavy enough to make me regret it, but not a soufflé, really. And not, by any means, hot. I couldn’t even understand why the menu referred to it as a ‘Thai’ soufflé—unless it was for the bits of shredded coconut I could feel (not taste, mind you) in the filling.
Similarly, my husband’s dessert didn’t strike him as being of ‘dark chocolate’ at all; and the ‘crackling almond crunch’ turned out to be just a few slivers of toasted almond plastered on the chocolate icing covering a rolled chocolate cake. Not anywhere as exciting as it had sounded on the menu, even if it wasn’t a bad dish.
Our bill was Rs 3,281, inclusive of taxes but excluding a tip. That’s fairly expensive, but we’d been expecting that, since Thai Pavilion is, after all, in a five star hotel. Except for the slightly disappointing desserts, this was a meal we enjoyed a lot. The food was excellent, the ambience pleasant (the music, by the way, is quite eclectic, even though all of it was from South East Asia—ranging from the very traditional to pop). Definitely a place to eat if you’re looking for good food in Gurgaon.
From journal Traipsing around Haryana