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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
$$$: On the higher side. Our bill, with a 5% service charge, came to a tickle over 2500.
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