Thai and Japanese
It’s opening made big waves. The first week of June saw SOBO atwitter (in the old fashioned sense too) about “Happy Thai”. Testimonials from the who’s who poured in on social media about this Good value restaurant in the Atria Mall.
Full disclosure: Happy Thai is promoted by Aditya Kilachand, a friend and also my dearest friend Shobaa De is his mother. No doubt Aditya has a track record as a restauteur having set up Mumbais very first Japanese standalone restaurant Tetsuma Happy Thai is his passionate re-entry into the restaurant world. In order to ensure objectivity and accuracy of review I took three steps…we first lunched there without booking and luckily neither Aditya nor his dynamo CEO Samir Chhabria were around. The second time I invited the only Indian female Michelin starred chef Garima Arora (of Restaurant Gaa) also crowned Asia’s best female chef to give her verdict. The brilliant 32 year young chef Garima is also based out of Bangkok and knows her Thai food really well. She was in Mumbai to launch a trailblazing, not for profit community initiative Food forward India. Down to earth and gorgeous Garima enjoyed Avial to Koli food this trip to her beloved Mumbai. In order to check consistency, I also invited a Happy Thai regular, the vivacious model , TV star and foodie Parizad Kolah Marsall who has anchored many a superhit TV too. And ofcourse I paid my bill each time.
We were delighted that the low profile dashing Rahul Verma (Garima’s husband) joined us as did another foodie friend both of who preferred not to be photographed.
Garima ‘s verdict: Along with other dishes, she checked out her acid test Thai dishes (Chicken Karpow and Larb Gai). And though she enjoyed both cuisines, opined that the Thai dishes were better than the Japanese. Even the pairing of the crisp paratha with the Massaman curry got her appreciative nod. And coming from a Bangkok resident chef it’s a huge compliment. Parizad’s all time favorite is the miso black cod. Space constrains me from going into more details. Our review follows.
Cheerfully, brightly lit, the 85-seater is done up in cane, wood, and greenery.Brightly, upholstered cane chairs
rattan screens, plants hanging overhead and along the walls. colours of black and red. Make up the décor.
High on Thai? Start with the vibrant refreshing Pomelo salad with the perfect moist kiss of tangy sweetness. Crunchy Brussel sprout salad, Spicy hot minced chicken Larb Gai salad Curries have just the right mix of herbs and spices. Over the two meals we tasted almost all, the
rich intensely flavoured Lamb Masaman currywith lamb chops is ingeniously well-paired with (hold your breath) crisp paratha. A masterpiece in texture in flavour the miso mirin black Cod is a must try. As is the only Korean dish, grilled Tenderloin Bulgogi
Quite the contrast is the translucent, delicate Japanese Yellowtail – Hamachi fish carpaccio spiked with jalapeno, equally delightful salmon sashimi. Made to popular taste with the Peruvian twist the Top tuna roll, Salmon in truffle cheesesushi rolls and the plump shrimp enrobed in creamy mayo are must trys.Desserts were much better the second time, be it the rich Chocolate cake or Perizads favorite lemon grass crème brulee.
At our first lunch, Brussel sprout salad, papaya salad were unavailable. The black cod was a tiny overcooked portion. Service was slow and confused. At our second meal, the Chicken karpow (as pointed out by Garima too) could do with more holy basil and less saucing. Truffle & Edamame Gyoza ‘s deep fried shell was not our faorite. Ditto for the overladen with tempura flakes veg sushi roll.
Outsourced desserts. Avoidable at our first meal …were somewhat better at the second since the supplier has been changed.
I love Japanese food for it’s clean, pristine flavors. I love Thai food for the opposite reasons: vibrant, exuberant and aromatic. Happily “Happy Thai” serves both. Some of the dishes could do with larger portions and the desserts with fine tuning. Go for tasty, fresh ingredients (sourced from the iconic Blue Elephant Bangkok, where the staff has been trained) which coax authentic Thai flavors. Don’t go looking for gourmet fine dining, Happily (that word again) “Happy Thai “is a casual restaurant in a mall that sticks to it’s core identity. Open all day (well-stocked bar et al) it fills in a much needed gap, perfectly suits the casual ethos and basic appetite, proving that a restaurant needn't be innovatively significant to be significantly appealing. Happily so.
P.S. Also awaiting the opening of the delivery focussed, cheap and cheerful “Happy Thai Express “ !
Ground Floor, Atria Mall, Worli,
Open 12 noon -11 pm
Av meal for two: Rs 2500
RATING FOOD 3.75 SERVICE 3.75 DÉCOR 3.75