Though I'm a diehard fan of Farzi Cafe, after luncheon at restaurateur Zoravar Kalra's modern Thai Bar and Grill, Bo Tai, I have to admit it's his most charming till date. Why is it named Bo Tai, I wonder? Is it a pun on bow tie — which appears as metal bow ties on staff uniforms, napkin holders, stirrers, washroom doors and just about everyplace! Or a hint of the culinary philosophy. Hmm maybe it's just a witty way of defining the space as fine dining i.e. bow tie? Either way, it's quirky chic!
Perched on the roof of a luxury mall in Mehrauli, this alfresco space — split into two sections by a Peepul tree — offers views of Qutub Minar amid foliage, sleek interiors, trippy music and powerhouse chef… what more does a discerning diner want? Walking in, my friend and I were seated at a corner table amid lush greenery. Designed by for mer mixologists of London-based Artesian, Bo-Tai has cocktails unlike any other so I ordered 'Muay Thai' crafted with lemongrass vodka, Drambuie, grapefruit, ginger, Thai green spice syrup and coconut, while my friend chose a gin cocktail, garnished with a flower, and served in a goblet I fell in love with! And then Chef Sahil Singh joined us. Now, I'm a fan of his culinary prowess since years so I requested him to suggest dishes. The first he sent out was 'Tiradito Of Scallops'. Having heard it's a cousin of sashimi, I was eager to try the visually appealing dish; the fresh, flavourful scallops, with chili, lime and caviar, tantalised our tastebuds with its bouquet of flavors and prepped the palate for what followed — ink blue 'Smelted Rice Flour Dumplings with water chestnuts.' It was textured, sumptuous and artistically compelling. Tempted to wolf down all the dumplings, I sensibly paced myself for the next course.
Once we moved on to the heartier dishes we were amply rewarded. Chef sent out 'Grilled Lamb Chops, rosemary jus' for me and 'Grilled Vegetables, haloumi' for my vegetarian friend. The lamb melted in the mouth with each forkful; hunger pangs were satiated and murmurs of satisfaction involuntary elicited. I'm aware I have used the descriptor fresh and flavourful too often but that's what I'd use here too — intensely flavourful. Hey, they don't call him master chef for no reason! My friend mentioned her grilled veggies were perfect for summer luncheon. Just when I thought I had maxed out my palate, he sent us 'Lamb Massaman Curry' with steamed rice. A sumptuous comforting stew with vegetables and spices, it's full of flavour and a hearty meal in itself — a lamb entree you'll want to go back to again and again.
As conversation and camaraderie flowed into the afternoon, it was time for dessert. Simply loved 'Kobocha Custard' — once again visually appealing. Presented inside a tart shell, the Thai custard was the perfect blend of flavour and texture. The apple strudel with ice-cream signalled a sinfully sweet end of the decadent lunch. In retrospect I'd return to Bo Tai time and again and recommend it as a must-visit — excellent cocktails and cuisine embellished with knowledgeable service and warm hospitality is a rare feat. Bon Appetite!
— JASMEEN DUGAL
Bo Tai, 6–4 Kalka Das Marg, Mehrauli Road, New Delhi