Nara Thai checks all the boxes: Flavour, authenticity, ingenuity and price
The BKC eatery is already popular with foodies and celebs alike, and with good reason.mumbai Updated: Nov 18, 2017 11:11 IST
- RATING: 4 / 5
- WHERE: Ground floor, Raheja Tower, Block G, BKC
- WHEN: Noon to 4 pm, 7 pm to 1 am
- COST: Rs 3,000 for a meal for two with one drink each
- CALL: 6137-8080
We’re told we’ll only get a table if we arrive at 7.30 pm. I’ve chosen a weekday, presuming it will be easier. But I’m wrong, and the only reason we get a reservation is because my companion drives over during the day and pleads with the manager.
We arrive at 7.45 pm and the restaurant is almost empty; we’re seated quickly. By 8 pm the restaurant is half full; at about 9 pm, Twinkle Khanna and Karan Johar saunter in, but nobody bats an eyelid.
At other tables are small and big screen actors who look familiar but I can’t quite place. By the time dessert arrives, there’s a nervous energy in the staff, who are trying to clear out a section for 25 impatient women.
It’s been about a month since Nara Thai opened. Ka Hospitality, which also runs Hakkasan and Yauatcha, has learnt its lesson. The city has never forgiven Hakkasan’s arrogance, but lovingly embraced Yautacha’s casualness. Nara Thai has gone one step further – its pricing is affordable and the setting, simple but smart.
Apart from a few deep violet orchids placed hither and thither, there’s nothing distinctly Thai about the interiors. Orchids in glass bowls are on every table. Mauve side plates and serving dishes and deep sofas with burgundy upholstery continue the visual thread.
While the interiors are muted, the food is dazzling. The menu, with each dish accompanied by a photograph, makes ordering easy.
We start with crispy corn cakes, every bite of the aromatic corn fritters flavoured with kafir lime; and the spicy vermicelli salad, tossed with plump, juicy prawns and dominated by the flavour of fresh herbs.
With every mouthful, the pungency builds. But even though your eyes are watering and your nose is running by the end, you don’t want to waste a morsel.
Unlike the acidic sharpness we’ve come to associate with Tom Yum soup, the Nara Thai version has a more refined sharpness and is more delicately flavoured.
Their Tom Kha too is different. The coconut milk-based soup is not milky and thick but rather a lighter, brighter version.
The quality of the food stays consistent through very course. For the mains we order the grilled pork with nam jim jeaw sauce from the starter section, chicken green curry and the butterfly pea rice.
Tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce, the pork is tender and juicy. The chicken is equally tender while the curry is thick and comforting.
The bright, royal blue butterfly pea rice is beautiful, has a pleasing chewiness to it and complements the curry.
At a time when new restaurants are opening every week, Nara Thai has managed to succeed where most fail: it’s created a memorable experience and the earnest desire to return to try something else.
(HT pays for all meals and reviews anonymously)