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13.09.2017

Mumbai loves a good Thai curry. The green-red-yellow threesome features on most Asian menus, from budget takeaways to swish restaurants and yet, the city has few kitchens dedicated solely to the cuisine. Nara Thai attempts to fix this injustice.

Brought to India by the folks behind Yauatcha and Hakkasan, Nara Thai has eight branches in Bangkok and others in Singapore, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. Unlike its neighbour Yauatcha, however, it doesn’t have the slinky lighting associated with date nights and seal-the-deal corporate meetings. It’s a brightly lit space with comfortable chairs, purple velvet couches and bevelled mirrors. Fancy but comfortable—ideal for family dinners where the groups are large and the kids invariably fall asleep before the bill arrives.

Veggie Might

The dishes too are designed to be shared. We started with Yum Phak Boong, a platter of morning glory fritters served with a tart dip of green chilli, lime, shrimp and minced chicken. The fritters were hot, the dip was chilled, and together, they were an able companion to the duo of cocktails. Our raw mango-flavoured Mamuang Sour was crowned with a thick layer of froth (as any good whiskey sour should be); the Kimao, an aromatic blend of whisky, orange bitters, and kaffir lime, too was well-balanced. Neither was too sweet, the sort of drinks that cleanse rather than colonise the palate, but the Kimao could have done with better whiskey.

Nara Thai’s menu offers a notable vegetarian section of stir-fries and mockmeat curries but also includes surprises like No-Carb Phad Thai: “noodles” of raw papaya so perfectly cut, we thought our servers had brought us the rice-noodle version. If you’re a fan of zoodles, this is definitely worth a shot. We also sampled a refreshing salad of pomello chunks tossed with cashew, chilli, and onions fried in coconut oil—a plate perfectly suited to Mumbai’s muggy weather—and the eggplant topped with mushrooms, garlic, and basil: rich in fragrance and depth of flavour. Highly recommended, even if you’re meat-eater.

Nara Thai might not be a revelation where Thai cuisine is concerned, but it does check all the boxes for that “some place nice”.

What’s the Catch?

Lovers of seafood might try black pomfret, served in a pool of umami-rich soy broth and garnished with slivers of ginger and coriander. At Rs 1,800 a plate this is pricey, but it’s elegant flavours are rare pleasure, at Nara Thai and the city in general. Alas, the lamb massaman didn’t live up to our expectations. The meat was tender enough but the curry was more creamy than flavourful.

Dessert Island

We rounded off our meal with the star of Nara Thai’s Instagram feed: Thai Tea Crepe Cake, made with a dozen crepes stacked together and slathered in vanilla cream. Our slice was served with a pot of cloyingly sweet Thai ice tea sauce. We preferred the coconut ice-cream, which arrived with a chaiwala-carrier of colourful condiments like steamed corn, sticky rice, coconut jelly, and neon green pandan noodles. The ice-cream itself wasn’t great—it’s hard not to compare to Natural’s tender coconut—but the DIY-ness of the course is fun, especially if you’re dining with children.

All in all, Nara Thai has more hits than misses. It might not be a revelation where Thai cuisine is concerned, but it does check all the boxes for that “some place nice”, worthy of a birthday dinner or an anniversary celebration.

Getting there: Nara Thai, ground floor, Raheja Towers, next to Yauatcha, opposite SIDBI, Bandra-Kurla Complex; call 61378080; open for lunch and dinner. About Rs 3,000 for two, with drinks.

bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.  

Accessibility: Ground floor access with a small flight of stairs. 

Neha Sumitran is a food and travel writer who loves cooking, exploring markets and foraging for new ingredients. She hopes to have a farm near the mountains someday. She tweets and instagrams as @nehasumitran.

Sponsored: Don't drink and drive. Take an Uber to Nara Thai. 

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