…where the best thing we ate was the one thing we didn’t order.
Koh, the Intercontinental’s new Thai restaurant, is chef Ian Kittichai‘s newest venture.
The screen printed Thai script, deliciously loopy and curled, and the graffiti-esque renderings of people on the wall were trendy, but the long curved panels of shimmer on the ceiling made me feel as though I was in a tunnel. The hostess at the front desk told us to wait for 5 minutes while she answered the ringing phone and took the reservation of another party- so we wandered around the lobby of the Intercontinental. After we were seated, menus in hand, it took another 10 minutes for a waiter to approach us- but let’s put this down to a new restaurant trying to find its rhythm.
The first thing we tried was the one item we didn’t order: two steaming bowls of corn gumbo, delivered to our table as mushroom soup. The soup was a soft blend of corn and cream swirled with slivers of kaffir lime leaves, chile oil and a concentrate of basil, making each bite a revelation of flavors. We were happily impressed.
The enoki, shitake and button mushrooms in the soup were pretty to look at, making it puzzling that the soup tasted like a cross between lemon and tamarind. Similarly, the eggplant – cut length-wise, with drizzled paste and grill marks both glistening enticingly- looked like a hefty promise of delicious, but the paste tasted like liquid sugar, caramel gone wrong. The hot stone sticky rice, with flavors more Chinese than Thai, was also unremarkable. And please, avoid the overly sweet marhon appetizer of pickled diakon mashed with peanuts, atop mini bites of fruit.
However, the Thai red curry, which came to the table bubbling in a paper cone of sorts, atop a tea light candle, was spicy and refreshingly thin. And the coconut cheesecake was airy. But at Koh’s steep price of Rs. 4000 for the two of us, without drinks, I’d choose stir-fried enoki mushrooms, morning glory with yellow bean paste, and Pad Thai at Thai Pavilion any day.