When I received an invitation to attend a preview of the Loi Krathong festival in Benjarong, I decided to go (as I was in South City anyway that day, and I love Thai Food). So, I reached and found other fellow bloggers there. We were greeted by A, who was hosting the event (and had called me up), and it was an intimate gathering, where we were seated in a  private table.

Wild Orchid 
As we were seated, a brief introduction to the event was given, followed by a short introduction to the food. This is what Mr. Narendra Malhotra, CEO Oriental Cuisines, had to say about the event, “We are delighted to be hosting the Loi Krathong festival for Thai cuisine aficionados in Kolkata. This is a special festival as it also marks the end of a good year and new beginnings. To make the experience really special we will have real krathongs that our guests will be able to set afloat after making their wish. We have created signature dishes that truly celebrate the spirit of the Loi Krathong festival and which we hope our guests will relish.”

 As I sat down, I found a small glass of peachy-orange drink that tasted mostly of guavas with a hidden tang of oranges that sets your mood. I finished the glass way too soon, and by that time, my soup was there. I pretty much liked this, and moved on to my soup, as the weather is chilling slowly, and I decided I wanted something to sustain me.

I like clear soups, especially the ones with some heat in them. This one was packed with chicken  breast meat(because I am allergic to fish and seafood, and the manager was sweet enough to understand and compromise… Did I tell you guys I love Benjarong?). 
I have no clue about the name of this soup. However, I am assuming it was some form of Tom Yum Gai.
The soup was clear and tangy, with bits of spinach and egg cakes floating in it, and finely sliced lemongrass could be tasted too. A generous portion of mushrooms graced the top with hints of cilantro. This was a soup which teased and titillated for you to slurp in just another spoonful. However, knowing I was going to be full if I did not quit while I was ahead, I turned my attention to the two appetizers in front of me. 
Pla/Gai hor Baitaey (Left) and Lok Chin Gai Pin (Right)
The fish wrapped in Pandanus Leaves came in for the fish lovers. For me, the same was made with chicken. I have had something similar before at Benjarong, and this came in piping hot, with a fish-sauce and soy sauce based marinade, and incredible bursts of flavor. I turned my attention to the chicken skewers, which were char-grilled balls of flavorful chicken skewered together. Quite delicious. 
Yum Hed Hoo Noo
However, this was the dish which interested me more. A tangy huddle of julienned wood-ear fungus, onions, cucumber, and carrots pickled in a tangy vinegar-y base, this was crunchy, and a fabulous use of the mostly bland tasting wood-ear fungus, which absorbed a good bit of the flavors. 

Lemongrass Tea

Through the course of our meal, pots of lemongrass tea was brought in and served, and the server told us that it was great for our digestion and large quantities of it helped slim a person down (with a huge grin on his face, I must add). The lemongrass is subtle but evident. I have a liking for this particular flavor, and though at first I thought it was probably something else, S pointed out that it was lemongrass. Thank you, nose, for deceiving me. 
The main courses came in by this time. 
Fluffy white rice and glass noodles were served first. The white rice was to be had with a curry, which was sent over by the chef. 
I was bowled over by this Chicken Curry. It is supposed to be a Burmese curry, rich with fresh coconut milk and I could swear it had a delicate aftertaste of ghee (clarified butter) in it. The curry was rich, creamy, piping hot, and perfect with the rice. Apparently, people in Southern Thailand love this curry, so they included it in the menu. 
On the other hand, the glass noodles tossed with zucchini, bitter melon (I could taste it) and other vegetables was light and bright, and made me feel healthy, if there is such an opinion. I was pleasantly surprised exceptionally light quality of the glass noodles, which were warm and perfect for my palette. 
Glass Noodles
Graprou Gai: Stir fried lamb with holy basil
Holy basil, or Tulsi leaves, form an important part of this dish which is perfect on its own, or with a bit of white rice. I found the bits of lamb to be toothsome, and flavorful. Their cut made it easy for them to cook and soak in some of the sauce.
Kaichi Gai
A serving of chicken Omelette was served along with the food. Named Kaichi Gai, this came in as slices of fluffy omelette reminding me of a Fooyung. However, I must say, I found this nothing extraordinary. 
The chef introduced himself to us, and talked about the way he had chosen the dishes. The season is cold, so he was picking up dishes which compliment it and he told us that he was quite happy with the menu selection, as he felt it represented different parts of the cuisine well. 
Sakoo Piak Maprow Orn (Left) and Khao Niew Sankhaya (Right)
Desserts were, for me, the weakest link of this otherwise great dinner. A serving of Sago pudding, or Sakoo Piak Maprow Orn, redolent with palm sugar and coconut cream came in with sticky rice pudding, which was not too sweet. A serving of coconut ice cream came later, and was devoured. I was not too charmed, as I am not much of a fan of rice in desserts, or coconut. However, others in the table ate it all.

Coconut Ice Cream

I would have to say that this dinner certainly is a great compilation of food. The festival is on from 27th November, to 9th December, 2012, so if you are willing to eat something different, check out their special menu just for this occasion. 
Benjarong
Shop No 308, 
South City Mall, 
No. 375, Prince Anwar Shah Road
Reservations can be made at 03324228584, 033-32568052

Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee dined at Benjarong as their guest and no monetary transaction was involved. However, all opinions are honest and not driven by PR. 
Written by Poorna Banerjee

    No Comments

  1. poorna banerjee 2013-01-13 at 6:32 pm Reply

    🙂 I saw Anirban. Thank you for the recommendation, by the way.

  2. Anirban Halder 2013-01-04 at 3:11 pm Reply

    Fabulous piece of writing, Poorna. Thoroughly enjoyed reading. It's apparent that you are one of the most knowledgeable food bloggers in city. My post is up too, finally. And….thanks for the mention (through link)!

  3. poorna banerjee 2012-11-29 at 1:37 pm Reply

    Thank you, it was a good experience.

  4. Shehrzad Dastaan 2012-11-29 at 1:28 pm Reply

    i have never heard of so much variety in one meal.great post 🙂

  5. poorna banerjee 2012-11-29 at 11:02 am Reply

    It was very. I was quite charmed by the flavors.

  6. Anonymous 2012-11-29 at 10:59 am Reply

    of all glass noodles seems more interesting to have.. 🙂

    sharmistha

Leave a Comment