Imagine being vegetarian and expecting the usual red or green curry with rice when you enter a Thai restaurant. Imagine going through your iPad-menu and zooming in on the food of your choice before ordering it. Then imagine savouring the flavours of central Thailand in the capital of India – with a selection of salads, entrees and desserts you haven’t tasted anywhere in the city. That, in a nutshell, is our experience at Neung Roi, the new Thai restaurant at Radisson Blu Plaza on NH-8, New Delhi. Named after the 100oC East longitude that runs through Thailand, Neung Roi headed by Chef Yenjai Suthiwaja celebrates the ‘Sum Rap Thai’ or the Thai way of eating. It draws inspiration from the four major culinary regions (Isan, Lanna , South and the Central Plains), each with its own specific set of flavours. For instance, the Isan region is known for its spicy dishes; hot and salty dishes are specialities from Lanna, seafood and fresh produce abounds in the South, and mild, subtle and balanced cuisine hails from the Central Plains.
Catering to vegetarian tastes is no problem for the chef. We started with grilled mushroom skewers with coriander roots and roasted chilli sauce (called Hed Yang from Isan); wok-fried tofu, bean sprout and chives with soya sauce (Phad Tuea Hrong from Isan); and wing-bean salad with roasted coconut and tamarind dressing (Yam Tuea Plu from Isan) – all of which were excellent.
Next came kale with light soya sauce, garlic and chilli (Phad Pak Kana from Lanna, our pick of the meal), along with Phad Pak Banjarong, a dish of asparagus, snowpeas, mushroom, babycorn and cauliflower with garlic, soya sauce and pepper (Lanna). We also had mixed vegetables in Thai green curry (more yellow than green but that’s how Gaeng Kiew Wan Pak is made in Central Thailand) and stir-fried kale with morning glory, pokchoy, soya bean sauce, garlic and pepper (Phad Pak Kiew from South Thailand). Wow. That was a big meal when it’s put down that way.
Dessert was a burst of unusual flavours (unusual for Delhi, usual for the Thai, we suppose). There was sago in coconut milk with fresh melon from Isan and sweetened pumpkin with coconut milk from Lanna – now, don’t go ‘whaaat?’ at the sound of it. It’s actually rather yummy.
Go ahead, try the place – it’s another kind of Thai you’ve never had in Delhi. You have our word.
(Pictures courtesy Radisson Blu for illustration purposes only. This isn’t what we ate.)