There is nothing better than to walk into a restaurant and firstly smell the heady aromas of Indian spices, then secondly, to actually sample the diversity of flavours of this great cuisine. The Avani Hua Hin has launched a new concept on Friday nights showcasing Indian food; it is called a Thali Nights.
One would normally need to order quite an array of dishes to experience the true range of flavours in Indian food; you would need dishes with different flavour profiles and textures, along breads, chutneys and other accompaniments. Often when doing this, the tendency is to over order and, naturally, over eat. Dining Thali is the perfect way to get the full breadth of dishes without having too much food. A Thali is the Indian name for a round platter used to serve food. The name is also used to refer to an meal made up of a selection of various dishes which are served on the platter; it is a serving of several small bowls, from savoury to sweet, vegetarian & non-vegetarian dishes, accompanied by bread, papadums, rice and often a lassi; a sour yoghurt drink.
After sipping on a cool coconut juice our Thali arrived. The vibrant colours and variety of dishes was fantastic; but how does it taste?
We started with the tandoori prawns, Bhati Ka Jhinga. I could have eaten ten of these prawns as they were flavoursome and the yoghurt had keep them so moist.
There were three curries on offer; Palak Gosht which is a lamb and spinach curry, Murgh Makhani aka Butter Chicken and a Goan Fish Curry which was sea bass cooked with Goan spices and coconut milk. The standout for me was the Goan fish curry with it’s moist fish and deep rich curry sauce. The Palak Gosht also didn’t disappoint as the spinach curry was thick and clung to the soft lamb. Whilst our preference is for curries a bit hotter, Chef Kuldeep explained that he designed this Thali for people who like tasty, yet medium spiced dishes.
The vegetarian option was a Dal Makhani and it was absolutely fantastic, mopped up with roti and nan breads. Accompanying the curries on the Thali were the obligatory raita and papadums, plus for an authentic Indian experience, a Chaas was included, which is a spiced butter milk.
Lastly, the sweet was a Gajar Halwa aka Carrot Halwa, which is a splendid end to a lovely Indian meal. The halwa was not over-reduced, so it was not too sweet and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
What we really liked about the Thali is that the three curries and the dhal all had different flavour profiles. The selection of seafood, meat and non vegetarian options were also good.
If we could have two wishes, though, they would be to have another prawn per person and for one of the curries to be hotter, showcasing the range of heat available. Which curry would we have replaced? It would be the butter chicken, as it is the least challenging dish to the diner.
Chef Kuldeep has been living and working in Thailand for the past nine years in some of the top hotels in Bangkok, so he really knows what international guests want from an Indian meal, plus with the increasing numbers of Indian tourists heading to Thailand, they want authentic, “just like at home” flavours. Chef Kuldeep is from the North of India, near Delhi and therefore the dishes in the Thali are representative of that region.
The price is 699 THB ++ per Thali, either full vegetarian or non vegetarian option. It’s advertised that two people could share a Thali which could certainly be done, though when we first sat down and had the Thali was presented to us, we did think that it was not going to be enough food to share as a couple. This proved incorrect; it was quite satisfying and not too filling. For those with a bigger appetite, perhaps order one each, or another suggestion would be to order a plate of Samosas as a starter or even a side order of Chicken Tikka or Chicken Madras. This then gives you even an wider selection of Indian flavours.
Whilst we did not drink wine with our dinner, the selection of wines at the restaurant is very good. The night could start with a sparkling on the terrace with a pre dinner snack, or at the Bezza, with happy hour drink prices, ocean-side. Then head into Staa’s for dinner with a Chilean Chardonnay or an Australian Pinot Noir from Little Yering to go with your Thali.
Thali Nights is on every Friday night at Staa’s
Reservations or information contact:
+66 (0)32 898 989 or email [email protected]
Disclaimer: Whilst we were invited by the Avani Hua Hin management to try out their new Friday night dining concept, all the opinions are our own based on our experience in eating Indian food in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.
Leigh Higgins from Feast Thailand.