Veteran chef Ananda Solomon presents his first post-retirement gig in the form of a trendy Thai restaurant. By Riaan George
Mumbai’s seasoned foodies will tell you that Chef Ananda Solomon of Thai Pavilion fame, needs no introduction to the city’s culinary scene. For two-and-a-half decades, Chef Solomon made a name for himself while working with the Taj Group, and exhibiting some outstanding work at restaurants like Trattoria, Konkan Cafe and, of course, the Thai Pavilion. He now makes an impressive debut in the standalone space with his brand new restaurant Thai Naam in Mumbai. Situated at The Orb, a commercial and retail complex right next to the international terminal of Mumbai airport and adjoining JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, Thai Naam sits comfortably somewhere between a casual dining setup and a classic Thai eatery.
As I enter Thai Naam, for a Sunday lunch, I am instantly impressed by the exquisite decor and detailing that has gone into creating the space. Modern, without being kitsch, there are many visual references to Thailand and Thai cuisine, with motifs like elephants, the Garuda and pagodas dotting the space. There are other exquisite elements like Thai porcelain, embossed walls and Thai umbrellas. The 96-cover restaurant is bathed in natural light, and tables are spread out to give a sense of space.
We sat in one of the private booths and Chef Solomon welcomed us personally telling us about the concept of Thai Naam. “I want my diners to feel like they are in a Thai household, eating a home-cooked meal. Of course, we do place a strong emphasis on sourcing the finest quality ingredients. The idea is for people to come here, spend a couple of hours at leisure and eat a long meal with multiple courses,” the chef tells me.
We kick-started our meal with a classic som tam (green papaya) salad, which was fresh and summery, followed by marinated chicken bits wrapped in pandan leaves. This was followed by a portion of soft shell crabs in fiery Thai spices, which was absolutely perfect. The final starter comprised tender fillets of fish, once again in Thai spices, topped with a portion of broad beans. The initial round of starters set the tone for what was to be an amazing meal, and was also reflective of Chef Solomon’s vision of blending ingredients and flavours together with great finesse. Mains included a delicately-flavoured green curry with prawns served with jasmine rice, which did not disappoint. At Thai restaurants, I always order the staple chilli-basil mince chicken, and this one was done to perfection, with just the right dose of spice. The meal was capped with a chilled portion of water chestnuts doused in coconut milk.
With its great ambiance, excellent service, casual vibe and on-point menu, Thai Naam is definitely a must-try for Thai food lovers in north Mumbai.
Address: The Orb, Next to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport Terminal 2, Mumbai
Price for two: INR 3,500 for two people (approx.)
Timings: 12 pm – 12 am
Contact: 74 17 30 0300 / 28 53 0500