The Raintree in Chennai is hosting a 10-day Thai festival with a specialty chef from Bangkok
The 10-day Authentic Thai Food Festival is happening at The Raintree, St Mary's Road and features dishes like Grilled Tiger Prawn, Tom Jurd Thang soup and more
Here’s a ticket to dinner whipped up by a Thai specialty chef from Bangkok. Chap Chay at The Raintree, St Mary’s Road is hosting a 10-day Authentic Thai Food Festival in partnership with the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Chennai, starting today. And we got to enjoy a special preview menu of the offerings to come with Chef Tarathip Nooriengsai who serves us classics like Green Thai Curry made with Krachai (a finger root she brought with her on the flight) to nostalgic flavours from her childhood like her mother’s Tom Jurd Thang soup.
There’s a story behind said soup. And we find ourselves listening intently as we enjoy the warm, clear broth with hints of garlic and black fungus mushroom. The centerpiece is a log of cucumber stuffed with minced chicken and chef Tarathip shares, “We lived in a large joint family so making that many cucumbers for the soup was a bit challenging. We had to ‘earn’ the soup,” she recalls with a laugh. We smile as we now debate whether to handle this chunky cucumber with a fork and knife or just hold it by hand and give it a bite. In the end, we decide to go the more civilised cutlery route and find ourselves taking time to relish the soft meat against the crunch of the cucumber after that tale from over 40 years ago.
With the festival open for both lunch and dinner, expect an eclectic spree of close to 40 dishes that include the likes of Grilled Tiger Prawn (Pla-goong) with kaffir lime and mint and Chestnut and Lotus Stem (Prik kaeng) with basil and coconut milk. The last ingredient seems to be a staple in Thai desserts as well, serving as the sweet base for a bowl of Tub tim grob featuring strings of jackfruit and chewy
jewel-like rubies made with water chestnut and tapioca flour. Chunks of mango with a scoop of sticky rice in coconut cream are a close second. The latter is common in Pan Asian restaurants in the city, however, so give it a skip if you are saving your appetite for plates you won’t easily find here.
On that count, we recommend the Crispy Chicken (Gai Krabuang) appetiser. Instead of bite-sized pieces or drumsticks, the waiter arrives with what appear to be triangular pancakes. The golden crisp on the outside is courtesy a thin coating of rice flour while the chicken packed in the centre has a salty hit contrasted by slender stalks of white radish with bright red bird’s eye chillies for heat on top. Dip a forkful of your pancake into the bowl of plum sauce on the side for sweet reprieve. Right on the heels of this creation, is the delectable Red Snapper (Phad Cha) with big yellow chillies and fresh green peppercorns. Fresh, flavourful and absolutely fab!
Starts today. On till June 12. Lunch and dinner. Meal for two INR 2,500.