Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Benjarong

Last week I'd visited Benjarong with P and VP (for dinner). As usual, P happened to be working the weekend, and so VP and I had to wait up for him. So while waiting, and soaking in some of the, well, finer sights that walked in and out of the restaurant. So while waiting, we decided to order something to keep our palates occupied. I latched onto a Siam Sparkle, that was a drink having ginger and some Thai spices. It also had a cardamom pod and a slice of a red chili (bird's eye chili?). VP had a ginger and lemon cooler. Hands down, the Siam Sparkle won over the ginger lemon, which isn't saying the latter wasn't good, it's just that the former was better; way better.

Siam Sparkle

Ginger Lemon cooler

When it came to ordering something to nibble, VP suddenly said that he wouldn't be eating non-veg today! WTH! So much for sampling non-veg Thai food. I ordered a dish that had a star against its name (to indicate a signature dish) - chicken wrapped in pandan leaves. The chicken was soft, succulent, and well cooked and juicy. Although unwrapping the leaves was a bit messy, it was well worth it. VP took the liberty of ordering a veg dish (which could be had by P as well once he came). So he ordered a plate of broccoli cooked in an apricot sauce. It was a nice sweet-savoury mixture, and the crispy texture of the broccoli was very nice as well.

Broccoli in apricot sauce

Chicken wrapped in pandan leaves

Finally, P arrives, and immediately he and I ordered and split a veg Tom Kha Phak soup. It's one of the best I've had (the other being at Thulp). The lemongrass added the zing to the sweet taste of the coconut milk. Awesome.

Tom Kha Phak

We also ordered a plate of bean curd satay. It took me a bit to realise that bean curd was nothing but tofu. Tch tch, signs of aging I suppose. Oh what crap, what aging? I just liked the fancy way they'd mentioned it and so didn't realise it. The satay tasted good along with the spicy peanut sauce. I just wish tofu had a firmer texture - haven't gotten used to its ultra-soft texture.

Bean curd satay

As I mentioned earlier, there were quite a few sights to take in, enough to make our conversations drift in the general direction. Time for main course. We knew we didn't want to have too much, but the jungle fried rice and pineapple fried rice caught our eye. There was also a mushroom dish (button and woodear mushrooms) with water chestnuts in an apricot sauce.

Jungle fried rice with a mushroom dish

Thai pineapple fried rice

For dessert, P and VP has something consisting of coconut milk and water chestnuts (this meal had a lot of ingredients repeating). I settled for a coconut pumpkin custard, which was actually coconut ice cream with pumpkin custard. This was a superb! Being a Mangalorean, I'd love anything coconut, and so the ice cream was never going to be a problem. However, the pumpkin custard was a delightful surprise. I guess it must one of those things that either you straight away like, or don't. Me, I liked :)

Coconut ice cream with pumpkin custard

So here ended our meal at Benjarong, and I realised that none of the dishes we had (or for that matter that were on the menu) seemed to mention nam pla, or the Thai fish sauce, which is an integral part of Thai cooking. Now I know that not everyone who relishes meat would want authenticity as well, but when you're charging this kind of money, you'd have thought authenticity would be a given, almost taken for granted.

Food: Tasty.
$$$: On the higher side. Our bill, with a 5% service charge, came to a tickle over 2500.
Service:Decent
Verdict: Can visit if you're looking for tasty food, although I'm not sure about the authenticity (of course, I could be wrong).

Benjarong, #1/3, Ulsoor Road, Bangalore. Phone: 42066166

4 comments:

notyet100 said...

coconut icecream sounds cool...

Suhas said...

I've been to Benjarong three times and really enjoyed the food on each occasion. You probably missed out by going vegetarian on the main course, they have a great steamed fish. I too remember the wrapped chicken starter and the coconut water chestnuts are being really good.

I assumed it was authentic but then happened to read Suman Bolar's review in which she says the food is nothing like the real thing...hmmm.

Also agree on the absence of fish sauce, my guess is that it's one of those business decisions which are aimed at not offending the customers palate as far as possible - a bit like how mainland china's food got safe and predictable once they became a popular chain. Overall, good place but I'd prefer to go if someone else were paying!

Karthik Shetty said...

Yeah, well, the way I look at it, if you're this posh and charge these kind of rates, then there needs to be some justification. Sure, the food tasted extremely good, but business decision or not, when I happen to know something and it's not done that way, I'm bound to question it, which is exactly what I've done here. They could at least have an option and offer us a choice of whether we'd like a dish with/without the sauce.

Eveline said...

Beauty is pain (and that looks so good).
You make a good point – with the authenticity.
Been to Benjarong twice and I have to say they had appetizers I loved. Sadly, I’ve never eaten such great appetizers since that was nearly as tasty.
Benjarong is in my memories, because I had dinner on New Years eve there. A little different experience than the Lounge bars. :)