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Thai food at its best

Lotus, at The Park, offers authentic flavours from Thailand in an impressive floral ambience.


SPECIALITY RESTAURANT might not be a new concept to Chennai, but Lotus, the Thai restaurant at The Park (ph: 52144000), has something unique about it — authentic Thai chefs and Thai ambience. As you enter the restaurant, true to its name, lotus is what you see all over — the brass dipped lotus buds, stems, lotus in pot pourri arranged in the wooden mantelpiece, carpet with lotus designs, lotus-shaped centre table and the neatly carved lotus-like candle stands on the table.

The Thai food mainly comprises seafood, curries, rice and noodles. As chef Sommai says, "Thailand has an interesting culinary tradition. The food is not very spicy, but has the right combination of all spices." Manager Cameron informs us that all the spices are brought from Bangkok. "In order to maintain the authenticity, we buy only rice and vegetables here. We also have another chef from Thailand to help Sommai."

Thai food can be a foodie's delight. Lotus offers a variety of starters. Tod Man Kao Phod — sweet corn vegetable patties would be the choice if you were less adventurous. You could go in for Het Nam Tok — salad of grilled mushrooms or the chicken satay with peanut sauce if you want to go in for something spicy.

The ghee in the Indian cooking is replaced by the coconut oil and coconut milk . "The food tastes almost similar throughout Thailand," says Sommai.

For the main course, Sommai suggests Koong Thod Kaitem Prik Thai — jumbo prawns with crushed peppercorns while soft big prawns with the spice toned down a bit could be a seafood buff's favourite. For vegetarians, he suggests Broccoli Bay Kapaw — broccoli with sweet basil leaf or Nor Mai Farang — green asparagus with oyster mushroom. A Thai meal ideally consists of soups, curry dish with condiments, accompanied by fish and vegetables. Sometimes, a spiced salad may replace the curry dish. The harmony of the taste is maintained. For example, if the salad is spicy, it is normally followed with a mild dish. Generally, Thai food is served in just one course. "But to suit the Indian mindset we serve dishes in different courses," says Sommai.

There is a variety of rice and noodles especially Khee Mao — "Too much drunk" rice noodles with lemon grass and basil or with chicken and prawns is a speciality.

Desserts are in unique combinations here — coconut milk and banana or tapioca, or sticky rice with coconut sauce and fresh fruits or sweet potato balls, candied ginger and Thai ice cream. "Normally, Thai desserts do not include ice creams, but we have customised it due to the demand from customers."

Ideally, a dinner would cost Rs. 600 to Rs. 700, "But it is worth the money if you want to taste authentic Thai food," says Cameron. Lotus also offers lunch packages — family lunch and the curry lunch package. Curry lunch comes for Rs. 350 with salads and desserts from the buffet, soups, curries, rice and noodles. The family lunch costs Rs. 500 with salads from the buffet, appetisers, soups and all flavours of curries. The restaurant is open from 12 noon to 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 11.30 p.m.

PRASSANA SRINIVASAN

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